There’s much debate today over what new lockdown rules will mean for cycling. In England, six friends or relatives will be able to gather in parks and gardens from Monday if they remain two metres apart. Some have taken this as a green light for ‘socially distanced group rides’.
The general consensus seems to be that this still isn't responsible, but we’re running a poll on our live blog and at the time of writing 25 per cent of respondents said they will be organising a socially distanced group ride.
Even without getting into whether or not Boris Johnson’s comments about gardens and parks were intended to apply to public roads as well, we have to ask how easy is it for a group of six cyclists to maintain a two-metre distance from one another?
Factor in traffic; other riders’ lines, speeds and braking intentions; and almost certainly varying attitudes to social distancing in the group and it starts to seem like a fairly tall order. It’s also worth pointing out that cyclists should almost certainly be keeping much more than two metres away from each other.
As with almost everything to do with the slowly shifting lockdown guidance, it’s an unexpectedly thorny area, so we got in touch with British Cycling and Cycling UK. Both said they were currently in the process of updating their guidance, having only learned of the changes when the rest of us did, yesterday evening.
Cycling UK did however emphasise that the ‘groups of six’ guidance covers England only.
In Scotland riding in a group could be possible if that group is made up of two households, with eight people now allowed to meet outside at once.
In Wales things are more restricted still, with two households allowed to meet, but only within a five mile radius of their homes.
One thing is certain however: the rules haven’t changed for this coming weekend.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “As of Friday 29 May, the current guidance for people cycling in England is clear: you are only allowed to ride alone, with members of your household, or with one other person who is not a member of your household provided social distancing is maintained.
“This might change on Monday 01 June following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday on groups of up six people from different households meeting. Until then, the current guidance applies, which Cycling UK advises all cyclists to observe, pending publication of any revised guidance.”