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What is a safe distance when running, biking and walking during COVID-19 times? It is further than the typical 1–2 meter as prescribed in different countries!
countries walking, biking and jogging are welcome activities in these times of COVID-19. However, it is important to note that you need to avoid each other’s slipstream when doing these activities. This comes out of the result of a study by the KU Leuven (Belgium) and TU Eindhoven (Netherlands). (1)(2)(3)(4)
The typical social distancing rule which many countries apply between 1–2 meters seems effective when you are standing still inside or even outside with low wind. But when you go for a walk, run or bike ride you better be more careful. When someone during a run breathes, sneezes or coughs, those particles stay behind in the air. The person running behind you in the so-called slip-stream goes through this cloud of droplets.
The researchers came to this conclusion by simulating the occurrence of saliva particles of persons during movement (walking and running) and this from different positions (next to each other, diagonally behind each other and directly behind each other). Normally this type of modelling is used to improve the performance level of athletes as staying in each other air-stream is very effective. But when looking at COVID-19 the recommendation is to stay out of the slipstream according to the research.
The results of the test are made visible in a number of animations and visuals. The cloud of droplets left behind by a person is clearly visible. “People who sneeze or cough spread droplets with a bigger force, but also people who just breathe will leave particles behind”. The red dots on the image represent the biggest particles. These create the highest chance of contamination but also fall down faster. “But when running through that cloud they still can land on your clothing” according to Professor Bert Blocken.
Out of the simulations, it appears that social distancing plays less of a role for 2 people in a low wind environment when running/walking next to each other. The droplets land behind the duo. When you are positioned diagonally behind each other the risk is also smaller to catch the droplets of the lead runner. The risk of contamination is the biggest when people are just behind each other, in each other’s slipstream.
On the basis of these results the scientist advises that for walking the distance of people moving in the same direction in 1 line should be at least 4–5 meter, for running and slow biking it should be 10 meters and for hard biking at least 20 meters. Also, when passing someone it is advised to already be in different lane at a considerable distance e.g. 20 meters for biking.
This is definitely information I will be taking into account and it also puts in perspective the closing of busy parks etc. Perhaps the better way is just running in the street, on your own or at least with sufficient distance. Stay safe…
And a connected post from a Seaford resident:
Hi Cycle Seahaven – as a cyclist, I know none of us like ‘rules’ being applied and people worked hard to earn permission to cycle on the seafront at Seaford. Do you think, during this Corona crisis, cyclists should (or could) be encouraged to cycle on the road? As they overtake pedestrians on the path, the 2m gap is breached – when they also say hello as they pass (an otherwise lovely thing to do) they are effectively sending vapour particles straight onto the person they’re greeting. Maybe I’m being overly cautious but if we’re going to stop the spread we might as well do our best. If cyclists were on the now nearly empty road instead, distance would be maintained and everyone could enjoy the space. What do you think? Aiming to be constructive for the safety of the greater community. Thanks for accepting the intended spirit of the message (it’s not a moan)!!
Cycling UK is offering free membership to NHS staff “in recognition of the significant contribution” that they “are making in keeping the UK safe” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Please pass the news on to anyone you know who could benefit
NHS workers who are riding bikes to get to work during the crisis will be eligible for three months’ free membership of the national cyclists’ charity, including being able to access uts third party insurance and legal advice.
The offer can be accessed through the charity’s website(link is external), and Cycling UK is urging cyclists to spread the word to people they know who work within the NHS so that as many people as possible can benefit from the initiative.
Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “Last night along with the rest of the nation, I cheered and clapped for our NHS heroes from my doorstep.
“These brave men and women are putting their lives on the line for us every time they go to work and deserve everyone’s support and respect.
“That’s why today, we’ve made Cycling UK membership available to every NHS worker who is cycling to work.
“Hopefully they will never need to use the insurance and legal advice that comes with it, but just as they’ve got our back in case the worst happens, Cycling UK wants to make sure everyone in the NHS who needs it is looked after too – it’s the least we can do.”
The sign-up page on the Cycling UK website(link is external) also has a dedicated advice page containing articles and videos that will be useful for any NHS staff taking up cycling for the first time.
Resources include cycle safety tips, a journey planner, and advice on basic maintenance and secure bike locking.
The charity has also set up a page on Just Giving(link is external) for donations to be made to help it keep NHS key workers moving as part of the fight against COVID-19.
Tuohy said: “Cycling UK couldn’t make this offer to the nation’s real heroes if it wasn’t for ongoing support of our 68,000 members,
“But by opening up our membership to those who need it most, it is likely to impact our finances.
“I’m appealing to our members and the wider cycling community who can afford it to make a small donation, so we can keep on helping those who need it the most.”
Cycling UK added that any NHS workers who already have membership will have it extended by three months when it expires.
Other organisations in the cycling community that are supporting NHS workers in getting to work include Brompton Bike Hire, which yesterday unveiled plans to make another 1,000 bikes available to hospital staff.
British Cycling has today (Wednesday 25 March) launched a daily activity calendar to keep kids moving and help them to develop new skills, as millions across Britain adjust to life out of school.
The first activity, taking place at 11:00 tomorrow (Thursday 26 March), is Fingers and Thumbs, and the full calendar of activities can be found below. The full suite of games and activities can be accessed at any time here and participants can use this page to get the most out of the activities.
Using British Cycling’s HSBC UK Ready Set Ride games and activities, the daily activities will be shared through our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels at 11:00 each day, until Friday 24 April. They are suitable for children from as young as 18 months to eight years old, and many can be done without a bike – making them perfect for indoor play.
Launched alongside the Youth Sport Trust as a tool to help parents introduce pedalling to playtime, HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is split into three stages (Prepare 2 Ride, Balance and Pedals) which provide families with all they need to support children to start cycling.
The initiative was first launched following research by YouGov which showed that a third (33%) of all children cannot ride a bike.
British Cycling Chief Executive, Julie Harrington, said:
“The coming weeks and months are clearly going to be a challenge for parents and kids alike, but through our daily activities I really hope that we can help families to have fun and stay active together.
“While it’s true that the fabric of our sport – from elite racing to kids coaching – faces a period of unprecedented difficulty, I’m absolutely determined to ensure that we use the tools we do have at our disposal to make a difference wherever we can.”
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“It is vital that we all take personal responsibility during these unprecedented times and play our part in helping to mitigate the impact on children of losing organised sport and activity both inside and outside of school.
“At a home level, it’s a really important moment to help parents manage children with lots of energy. Get them active for 20 minutes every couple of hours. Make sure they get their 60 active minutes a day. Being active is going to reduce their chances of being unwell. It will help them with remote learning. It will improve their concentration and it will make them feel better. It will help make being in the home a more pleasant and positive experience for everybody in the family.”
Luke Harper, Head of British Cycling Partnership at HSBC UK, said:
“The HSBC UK Ready Set Ride activities are perfect for indoor playtime or in the garden, and you don’t even need a bike to get started.
“The initiative is free to use for all, and is a tried and tested way to get your kids up and running on two wheels.”
Calendar of activities:
|Thursday 26th March||Fingers and Thumbs|
|Friday 27th March||Steady as You Go|
|Monday 30th March||Swipe and Swap|
|Tuesday 31st March||Jump|
|Wednesday 1st April||Step it Up|
|Thursday 2nd April||Twist and Pass|
|Friday 3rd April||Stamp and Slide|
|Monday 6th April||Wibble Wobble|
|Tuesday 7th April||Scoot, Stride and Glide|
|Wednesday 8th April||Speed it Up, Slow it Down|
|Thursday 9th April||Box the Lot|
|Friday 10th April||Criss Cross|
|Monday 13th April||Dot to Dot|
|Tuesday 14th April||I Spy|
|Wednesday 15th April||Limbo|
|Thursday 16th April||Pedal and Glide|
|Friday 17th April||Zig Zags|
|Monday 20th April||Corner Explorer|
|Tuesday 21st April||Pedal and Limbo|
|Wednesday 22nd April||Foot Down|
|Thursday 23rd April||Ups and Downs|
|Friday 24th April||Wave and Go, Figure it Out|
‘Make sure bikes continue to be seen to be part of the solution to this crisis’ – Chris Boardman
British Cycling has warned that the ‘privilege’ of riding a bike could be removed if people fail to observe instructions on social distancing this weekend.
In an open letter(link is external) published on Friday night, British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said it was “heartening” that the Government had so far protected people’s right to ride a bike, but warned that this must not be taken for granted.
Government advice on staying at home currently lists as an exception, “one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.”
It goes on to say that, “even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.”
Despite this, some have undertaken group rides or arranged to meet friends midway through a ride. Others have used their daily ride to cover great distances, arguing that the guidelines don’t specify a time limit.
Harrington said: “People on bikes were not the only culprits in last weekend’s mass dash to the outdoors but, despite strong guidance from ourselves and others, too many chose to ignore the Prime Minister’s instructions on social distancing, continuing to ride in groups and meet in cafes for a mid-ride chat.
“This isn’t just irresponsible, it is putting people’s lives at risk. A repeat of that this weekend risks further Government measures to take away the privilege of riding a bike for all of us and now more than ever, it is not one we can afford to lose.”
Greater Manchester’s cycling commissioner, Chris Boardman, urged people to, “make sure bikes continue to be a part of the solution to this crisis, and are seen to be part of the solution.”
After highlighting key workers’ use of bikes for essential journeys, he said: “For the rest of us, [bikes] are a way to go and get supplies, take essential exercise and, crucially, give us a mental break each day, helping us ensure prolonged isolation is actually sustainable.
“But for bikes to remain a force for good and help us get through this, this is how it’s got to work: only ride alone or with people that you live with and stay at least two metres away from anybody that you meet. Do not, under any circumstances, ride in a group.
“As per government instructions, only go out once [to exercise] each day. And finally, be sensible. Only ride on routes that you know well and that are well within your ability.”
He advised people to, “obey these rules as if your life, and the lives of others, depend on it – because they do.”
The CTC Winged Wheel plaque, which used to be on the old Lamb Inn at Ripe, has been restored and is now mounted on the wall at the front of the Ripe Village Stores. The above photo was taken by a lone cyclist who was passing through Ripe on Wednesday afternoon: Dave Sutton.
It’s almost two years ago when I took a picture of the derelict pub and posted an entry to the blog about the Winged Wheel. These cast-iron plaques, two feet in diameter, were issued by the CTC about 120 years ago to approved inns and hotels. The Lamb was clearly an approved inn so it’s seems apt that it should be transferred to the Village Stores opposite which has a superb cyclist friendly café inside. The plaque has been restored by members of the East Sussex CTC.
The café is, of course, closed during the Coronavirus outbreak but I’m sure that when the restrictions are lifted plenty of cyclists will be visiting the café as soon as it reopens. I know that the café proprietor is intending to have a ‘Winged Wheel’ event one Sunday at which local cycling clubs will be invited. We’ll certainly be there.
Cycling UK was updated on 23rd March 2020
British Cycling was updated on 23rd March 2020
This means it remains advisable for people to cycle for their health, fitness and well-being, but in line with our previous guidance, you should only do this alone or with members of your household unless any of them have reason to self-isolate.
Under no circumstance should you cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups.
This is critical to stop the coronavirus disease spreading between households.
updated 24/03/2020 – Cycle Seahaven Secretary