Coronavirus: guidance for Cycling UK groups

Keep up-to-date with the latest guidance for riding during lockdown. Photo: Joolze Dymond

Coronavirus: guidance for Cycling UK groups

Cycling UK is working towards ensuring there is a smooth return to group riding. This is constantly evolving, so please keep an eye on local and national news

*** This is a live document and was last updated Monday 19 April to reflect the changed rules in Scotland from 16 April.***

Note that it is not possible to cover every local variation across the UK here and you should always follow local restrictions where these are imposed. ***



Statement from Cycling UK 

As the national cycling charity, our aim is to support the UK’s population to cycle. This remains true during this period of coronavirus affecting the UK. Above all, the safety and welfare of Cycling UK’s staff, volunteers, participants at our rides and events, beneficiaries of our cycling programmes and the general public is always our main priority. We are closely monitoring the situation and taking advice from the government, the NHS and partners.  

Cycling UK encourages people to continue to cycle for exercise during the current lockdown, but to do so in a manner which minimises risk. In the absence of specific regulation on how far they can travel, cyclists should use their common sense: for example, avoiding crowded or narrow routes where social distancing is difficult to maintain, but also bearing in mind that you may put others at risk if you suffer an injury or mechanical problem far from home and require rescue. To minimise unnecessary travel, start and end your rides at home if this is practical; however, common sense may dictate that travelling a short distance to a more suitable location is reasonable.

Cycling as an organised group

Cycling UK’s advice on the restrictions in each nation below is aimed at our member and affiliated groups. For advice on safe and responsible riding outside of organised groups, please see Coronavirus: guidance for cyclists

For further advice on group cycling, please see Coronavirus: how to organise a safe group ride and/or see our Covid Guidance for Groups webinar recording from Wednesday 31 March, which is available to Cycling UK volunteers by logging in to Assemble and going to the Time with Tom news article.

We will continue to evaluate the latest advice from government and update our guidance accordingly. As the threat level reduces, our guidance is likely to be along these lines but this will depend on factors such as local levels of infection, national guidance and so on.

Current restrictions on group rides

England

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown document set out proposed relaxations to restrictions in England on or after 29 March. These include allowing groups of up to six people, or two households, to meet outdoors, including for informal exercise.

The roadmap also indicates (para 102) that organised sports can restart, which will not be subject to the rule of six gathering limit, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies (and Cycling UK). Sport England has subsequently published guidance confirming that organised sport and activity includes group cycle rides, so group rides of more than six are allowed from 29 March onwards under the organised sport and activity exemption.

Cycling UK’s general advice to clubs pre-Covid was to restrict group rides to a maximum of 15 people, however currently we are advising that this should be treated as an absolute maximum for group rides, not a target number, and that people should exercise some discretion and common sense depending on where they are riding. 

Scotland

The latest guidance in Scotland from 12 March allows for organised group sporting activity (where a Covid-19 co-ordinator or Covid officer is involved) in groups of up to 15 adults. However, in line with the recommendations agreed between sportscotland and Scottish Cycling, Cycling UK recommends a maximum group size of nine adults (from unlimited households).

Groups must also allocate a Covid officer (also known as a Covid-19 co-ordinator), who will undertake online coronavirus training: for more detailed information see Scottish Cycling's coronavirus guidance and also learn how Elgin CCC returned to group cycling safely

Note that despite the relaxation of restrictions on travel across Scotland from 16 April, current government guidance still prohibits adults from travelling outside their local authority area to participate in organised group rides, or transiting through multiple local authority areas within Level 4 on such a ride. However, this is permitted for informal exercise that does not take advantage of the organised group exemption.

Wales 

From 27 March, restrictions were relaxed to allow up to six people from two different households to meet outdoors, and such groups can cycle together without any time or distance limit on the length of that ride. 

The "stay local" message has been dropped, so there will be no restrictions on where you can ride or for how long, subject to the restriction that any group you ride with can’t be larger than six or involve more than two households. You are also now allowed to cross the border into England during a ride but beware of any local restrictions in place in any areas you travel into. 

There are more substantial relaxations allowing the resumption of organised activities and sports for children under 18, which would potentially allow larger group rides for children, but currently that exemption only applies to those under 18. 

Organised sport exemptions do not currently apply to adult group cycling in Wales but the rules are expected to be changed from Monday 26 April, when events for up to 30 people may be permitted. We strongly advise therefore that all groups allocate a Covid officer ahead of this change who should undertake online coronavirus training to ensure the return to group cycling activity is safe.

Northern Ireland

From 1 April, the restrictions in place in Northern Ireland were relaxed, permitting up to 10 people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities, which includes a group cycle ride but only involving two families.

From 12 April, organised group sporting activity is allowed with up to 15 people, with no household restriction. We strongly advise therefore that all groups allocate a Covid officer, who will undertake online coronavirus training to ensure the return to group cycling activity is safe.

There is no official limit on the distance you can travel, but advice is to stay local and avoid unnecessary travel. You should also remember that the Republic of Ireland has a strict 5km (3 mile) limit on travel for exercise. This restriction is to be lifted on 12 April.

Events

Some organised events such as sportives and challenge rides may be permitted under certain conditions. We will be updating our advice in this area very soon. In the meantime, if your group wishes to organise an event that falls outside the regular group riding permitted as above, please contact us directly. 

Covid officer

Cycling UK strongly advises that all groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland allocate a Covid officer, who will undertake online coronavirus training and a carry out a risk assessment to ensure the group's return to cycling activity is safe. Note that this is a requirement for groups in Scotland, prior to their return to organised group cycling activity.

Useful documents

Please find below all relevant documents to help with the return to group cycling activity:

  • Coronavirus: a checklist for returning to group activity - an aide-memoire of the key actions to take
  • Coronavirus: a checklist for Cycling UK staff, volunteers and participants - the key points to remember
  • Coronavirus: a risk assessment checklist for groups - how to assess relative risk of any activity and modify accordingly
  • Coronavirus: a return to activity overview - all our essential information in one handy document

Advice for Cycling UK volunteers 

If you can undertake your role within a Covid safe environment, then please continue to do so. You can leave your home to provide voluntary and/or charitable services but please consult the document below called Coronavirus: a checklist for Cycling UK staff, volunteers and participants first. 

Following guidance released from the government, ​we ask that all of our volunteers and members stay at home if you have any coronavirus symptoms and do not attend any Cycling UK activities and read the recommended advice for your nation on self-isolation. 

Insurance

Note that in light of the latest government advice on coronavirus, and guidance on social distancing designed to reduce the risk of spreading infection, group cover provided under the organiser’s liability insurance could potentially be invalid if a member or affiliated group decides to go against the advice issued by Cycling UK and arranges large-scale events and/or large group rides that exceed the numbers permitted under each nation's guidance.

For individual cyclists, the third-party liability insurance included within membership will protect a member of the public against the risk of a cycling-related incident involving an insured member. 

The safety and wellbeing of Cycling UK’s staff, volunteers, riders, beneficiaries of our cycling programmes and the general public remains our number one priority. 

Cycling UK will continue to monitor the situation and will be taking advice from the government, the health sector and partners. 

Avoiding contamination

Where riding is allowed, cyclists should still observe good hygiene, and Cycling UK advises leaving plenty of space when passing others, and to avoid pulling in rapidly after overtaking another cyclist, causing them to end up in your slipstream.

The guidance for avoiding contamination remains unchanged, keeping at least two metres away from anyone else where possible, regularly washing your hands and catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and disposing of them appropriately as soon as possible. For further advice, please refer to the NHS website. 

Guidance for avoiding contamination remains the same: 

  • Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue and disposing of them appropriately as soon as possible
  • Washing hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds (or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser if you're unable to wash your hands with soap and water) 
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are unwell
  • Wear a mask where required

You can find more information about social distancing on the government’s website

Further queries 

If you have any further questions, please see our Coronavirus: guidance for cyclists, or Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts or contact the Group Engagement Officer on 01483 238338 or via groups@cyclinguk.org

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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19