What the new lockdown rules mean for YOU as a cyclist in England (Road CC article)

From Thursday, you will only be allowed to ride with household members or one person who doesn’t live with you…

On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new National Restrictions that will come into effect in England at 0001 hours this Thursday 5 November to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus cases both in the UK and abroad – and as with the previous lockdown announced in March, there are implications for cycling, whether for sport, leisure or as a means of transport.

What is being widely termed a second lockdown is due to run until Wednesday 2 December, although few would be surprised if it were extended beyond that, with the government underlining that “the single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Here are the essential points relating to cycling once the new rules in England kick in – until then, the government says that “the relevant Local Covid Alert Level measures will continue to apply in the area where you live.”

Exercise

As with the lockdown earlier this year, outdoor exercise, including cycling, is one of the “specific purposes” for which people are allowed to leave or be outside their homes.

However, it is only permitted “with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with one person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents, will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).”

That means that going for a ride in a group of up to six people, in line with the so-called “rule of six” and currently permitted in Tier 1, 2 and 3 locations, will no longer be possible.

At the moment, there does not appear to be any clarity on whether outdoor exercise will be restricted to once a day, nor whether any restrictions on distance from home will be applied – issues that may be addressed once the legislation has gone through Parliament, or in separate guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

One major implication for cycling, however, is that as happened earlier in the year, it seems that it will be impossible to hold club runs and other events while adhering to the new rules.

Travel

People are also allowed to leave their home “for childcare or education, where this is not provided online,” and “for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).”

As before, the government is emphasising the role that active travel can play here, saying: “If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.”

Other than for specific reasons including work and education, overnight stays and holidays, whether abroad or in the UK, are not allowed, including in a second home.

Retail

You are allowed to go “shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible” – and clearly, going to shops by bike is one option.

While full details are yet to be published regarding which retailers are considered essential, we would expect bike shops to be permitted to continue trading as happened in the previous lockdown, when many remained open for repairs and maintenance and the purchase of items such as inner tubes.

Essential retail businesses “should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers” – many bike shops that remained trading during the lockdown earlier this year operated an outside queueing system with customers not allowed to physically enter the store, and we would expect to see that in operation again.

Social distancing

In all cases, people are required to “minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble” – although as we have explained before, you’d want to give more space to anyone riding in front of you when you’re on your bike.

How much distance should you leave to the cyclist ahead during the pandemic?

What next?

The government says that at the end of the four-week period, it will seek to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data available. Whether that will reflect the tiering system currently in place, with groups of up to six allowed to meet outdoors, is impossible to say.

The above rules apply to England only, with separate rules applying in Scotland and Wales. Later this week, we will be publishing an updated version of the article we published earlier this year that looks at the picture across all three countries, once the relevant legislation for England has passed through Parliament.

Residents to get new decision-making powers in England cycling ‘revolution’

A cyclist passes a rental bike on the pavement. £2bn will be spent on cycling and walking across a five year period, under new plans.

A cyclist passes a rental bike on the pavement. £2bn will be spent on cycling and walking across a five year period, under new plans. Photograph: Richard Baker/In Pictures/Getty Images

 

Residents will get powers to banish through-traffic from local streets and councils will be prevented from building substandard cycle lanes under what Downing Street has billed as a revolution for cycling and walking in England.

The plans will see the creation of a watchdog to ensure new cycle and walking routes are up to standard, intended to act as a transport equivalent of the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.

Active Travel England, to be led by a yet-to-be-appointed commissioner for walking and cycling, will refuse to fund paint-only bike lanes – without physical barriers or protection from cars – or routes where cyclists and pedestrians have to share space. It could also cut budgets in other areas for highways departments which fail to deliver on active transport.

Local people will be given a chance to choose whether residential side streets should be closed to through motor traffic to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists, under plans to be put out for consultation.

Another proposal could see some main roads, for example in cities, kept as through-routes for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, with other motor traffic allowed access only.

Also on the table are grants to help people with the cost of electric-assist bikes, which can encourage cycling, particularly on longer or more hilly commutes. However, these tend to be more expensive than traditional bikes, often costing well over £1,000. It has not yet been specified how much assistance might be offered.

Following Monday’s announcement of a new strategy to combat obesity, the push for more active travel is a parallel strand of Downing Street efforts to improve public health, an issue highlighted by worse coronavirus outcomes faced by many people with chronic conditions connected to weight and inactive living, such as type 2 diabetes.

More active travel will also relieve pressure on the roads and on public transport, where capacity has been cut due to social distancing measures. Since May, people have been urged to walk or cycle to work or elsewhere when possible.

The proposals include the provision of more cycle racks in city and town centres to encourage people to arrive by bike.

The proposals include the provision of more cycle racks in city and town centres to encourage people to arrive by bike. Photograph: Maureen McLean/Rex/Shutterstock

 

He said: “From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face.”

The plans were welcomed by campaigners, who nonetheless warned that their effectiveness would depend on proper implementation and necessary funding. Chris Boardman, the former cycling champion who is now policy adviser to British Cycling, said the plans showed “the level of ambition required to transform the country”.

He added: “Many will focus on the health benefits of more people getting around by bike or on foot, but we know that these are changes which reap dividends in all walks of life, not least the quality of the air we breathe, the congestion on our roads and the economic benefit for shops, cafes and bars.”

Matt Mallinder, director of influence and engagement at the campaign group Cycling UK, said the plan was “a truly comprehensive and far-reaching set of measures”, but warned about the levels of funding.

“To truly shift gears so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling the £2bn of funding already announced will not be enough,” he said. “However, with a forthcoming spending review, now’s the time for the chancellor to invest in the future and make the prime minister’s vision of a golden age of cycling come true.”

The new standards for cycling and walking routes will be fully spelled out in updated official guidance to be published on Tuesday. The proposals include more cycle racks at stations and other transport hubs, as well as in town and city centres, and for protected bike hangars allowing safe storage for people who cannot keep a bike at home.

Others cover areas such as strengthening the Highway Code to protect pedestrians and cyclists, giving councils new powers to tackle traffic offences and pilot schemes for local authorities to give contracts in areas such as waste disposal to cycle freight companies.

Cycling UK Bike Week – 6th to 14th June 2020

Cycling UK realise in these uncertain times helping people to come together to ride may not be possible, so they’re holding a series of fun Bike Week events online this June

Cycling remains a great way to keep fit and active and is a good way to boost immunity, it’s also great for your mental well-being. 

Make cycling your daily exercise during Bike Week 2020. Can you get on your bike for seven days in a row between 6-14 June, riding by yourself, or with other members of your household? You don’t have to complete all seven days – just as many as you can. There could be a prize in it for you too!

 

Give #7DaysofCycling a try

There are no rules on what counts as one of your entries – all you need to do is go cycling or take part in a cycling-related activity and share a photo, video or story about your experience on Instagram or Twitter, using #7DaysofCycling.

 

 

Virtual Challenge – Cycle Around the UK and More

Jo and Dave Barlow were feeling a bit bored and decided that they needed a challenge to get back out on their bikes. They anticipated that other club members may be feeling the same and that’s when their idea of a virtual challenge developed. 

 

To cycle around the UK and maybe a bit more.

Click here to see how you are doing.

Jo said:

The idea was to get as many club members back out on their bikes riding at their own pace, distance and in a safe way with regards to the current environment and we would accumulate all miles covered over the coming weeks.

There were 2 parts to the challenge – Part 1 to cycle around the UK which is approx 4,000 miles

The challenge started on Monday 27th April and in the first week we already have:

  –  87 club members who have joined the challenge.  Many of whom have not ridden for a while
  –  230 rides have been completed by those members
  –  4,316 miles have been covered
  –  Approx 118,000 feet of climbing has been achieved – thats 4 times the height of Everest

 

Part 1 of the virtual challenge has now been completed – Seaford to Seaford – 4,000 miles!

Part 2 – the coastline of the UK is 11,034 miles (using OS maps) it is not all accessible, however they plan to continue the challenge and see if 11,034 miles can be reached by Sunday 10th May.

 

Jo continued:

If it can be done, it would be truly AMAZING! It has been a wonderful and fun week sharing our rides and feeling part of Cycle Seahaven in these difficult times.

 

The virtual challenge is open to all club members and anyone they are riding with. It also includes all miles done on turbo trainers and Zwift.

To join the fun is really easy. If you are on Strava please just request to join the Strava Group ‘Cycle around the UK’.  If you are not on strava don’t worry all you need to do is send your daily miles to Jo and Dave via the following email: cauk@cycleseahaven.org.uk and they’ll be added manually.

 

Jo concluded:

We hope to reach Part 2 of this virtual challenge by Sunday, so enjoy the week ahead… and keep cycling!

 

 

Cycling UK offers free membership to NHS staff

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.

> Brompton Bike Hire in fund raising drive to make more bikes for NHS workers – here’s how you can help

Warning that cycling could be banned if people don’t ride responsibly this weekend

‘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.

Daily exercise rules: current cycling dos and don’ts

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.”

STATEMENT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND THE SUSPENSION OF CSH ACTIVITIES – updated 24/03/2020

The committee has been closely monitoring advice regarding the coronavirus/COVID 19 situation. [click for more info]

Cycling UK  was updated on 23rd March 2020 

British Cycling was updated on 23rd March 2020

Cycling UK state:

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

Suspension of CSH activities

The committee has been closely monitoring advice regarding the coronavirus/COVID 19 situation.

Cycling UK and British Cycling have today issued press releases suspending cycling activities initially until April 30. This includes recreational riding as well as events. 

Cycling UK state ‘As a result of this revised guidance, Cycling UK has taken the decision to ask all its member and affiliate groups not to run any group activities, including club runs or events.

This is in line with advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UCI, with the aim of ensuring the maximum protection of people across the world’.

It is therefore with regret that Cycle Seahaven is suspending all of its activities pending updated information to the contrary.

Please note that Cycling UK within the same press release also state ‘However, people should not avoid cycling altogether as it remains a great way to keep fit and active and is a good way to boost immunity.’

We leave you to make an informed decision on whether to ride or not. If you choose to do so we would recommend:

1. If riding with others you keep groups as small as possible and ride with at least 10-foot gaps between riders.

2. You avoid café’s, pubs in line with current government advice.

3. You ride less technically challenging routes to avoid the risk of crashing or injury that may place an unnecessary burden on the NHS.

The committee is exploring ways of utilising club resources to support those vulnerable members in our communities. Further updates to follow.

Look after yourselves and hopefully, normal service will be resumed in the not-too-distant future.

All the best,

The Cycle Seahaven Committee.

Save your trails before they are lost for good

Over 10,000 miles of paths across England and Wales are at risk of being lost forever unless we make an effort to put them on the map. Cycling UK campaigns officer Sophie Gordon explains how we can save them before they disappear.

Whether you use them for riding, running or walking the dog, our public paths are a gateway to adventure – a way to take time out, connect with nature and explore new places. They bring to life our history and heritage, your path could be an old Roman road or a way used by pilgrims to travel to church. 

However, many of these routes that have been used for centuries aren’t officially recorded on the map, and if they aren’t added by the cut-off date of 2026, they could be lost forever. 

Identifying and recording these lost ways is a huge task, but by combining efforts with individuals and groups all over the country, you can help make sure they are put on the map. 

The clock is ticking 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) brought in several improvements to public access, like allowing open access on foot on some areas of land and promoting strategic planning of rights of way networks. It also introduced a cut-off date of January 2026 for any rights of way created before 1949 to

be added to the definitive map (the legal record of public rights of way), so the public right to use them would be officially recognised. If these historic paths are not recorded, the legal right to use them will be extinguished in 2026. 

Find out more about how we got to this point. 

Many historic paths may be in frequent use by the public already, but as they are not recorded as rights of way, the landowner is able to close them off at any time. Others might be forgotten and overgrown, but could potentially be a useful route. 

This is particularly significant for off-road cycling and horse riding due to the fragmented nature of the bridleway network. There are many places where adding historic rights of way to the map could form a crucial link between existing rights of way. 

There are other cases where rights of way were incorrectly recorded as footpaths but actually carry higher rights, for example where they were previously used as a road for horses and carriages. Making sure these are recorded correctly could open up more rights of way for cycling.

Adding rights of way to the map 

Proving that a right of way exists involves gathering evidence from historic maps. Any route shown on old maps as a public road or bridle path that doesn’t appear on current Ordnance Survey maps could be a contender. 

Ever spotted one of those odd bridleways that suddenly turn into a footpath at a parish boundary? Chances are the footpath was incorrectly recorded when the council first produced their definitive map, and actually carries higher rights. 

The more evidence you can find to support your claim, the greater the chance of success. Once you’ve gathered all your evidence, you can put in an application to the local authority for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO). 

Then sit back and pat yourself on the back, but don’t hold your breath – councils have a large backlog of applications and some take years to go through. 

Help and resources 

Researching historic rights of way may seem like a bit of an undertaking, but the British Horse Society and Ramblers have produced some great information and online tools to help steer you through and make life easier.  

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we’ve gathered all the resources here in one place so they are easy to find. 

Changing the status of rights of way

Cycling UK’s briefing is a good place to start for an overview of the processes for recording and upgrading rights of way.

British Horse Society – Project 2026 

  • BHS’s Project 2026 is designed to help groups and individuals start researching and recording lost rights of way, and is as relevant for cyclists as it is for horse riders.  
  • Their Project 2026 toolkit is an excellent place to start for a step-by-step guide to researching historic routes. 
  • Once you’re ready to dive in, there is also a more detailed guide with everything you could wish to know about doing the research and making the application. 
  • To share information and avoid duplicating efforts, BHS has created a mapping tool to help gather evidence and mark routes that an application has been made for. 
  • Financial support is available to recover any costs incurred in researching and making an application, and there are also training sessions for a systematic approach to researching historic rights of way. Both of these are available for anyone researching lost routes, not just BHS members. 

The man behind all of this is Will Steel, BHS’ 2026 project manager. He told us why it is so essential that these routes are protected: 

“Project 2026 is so important as it could be our last chance to safeguard thousands of rights of way that will otherwise be lost at the cut-off date of 1 January 2026.  

“Protecting these routes will help people to get out and about – on a horse or bike, driving a carriage or walking – and experience the natural environment avoiding the ever-busier road network.   

“The missing routes can often be key links in the minor highway network that also provide an opportunity to meet wider objectives around active and sustainable travel. I would really encourage anyone interested to get involved before it is too late.” 

Ramblers – Don’t Lose Your Way campaign 

Jack Cornish, Don’t Lose Your Way programme manager, explained his passion for lost rights of way and why you should get involved:  

“Our paths are one of our most precious assets. They connect us to our landscapes, and to our history and the people who formed them over the centuries.  

“If we lose our paths, a little bit of our past goes with them. This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way and time is running out.  

“Joining our group of citizen geographers is a really easy way to help and by doing so, you’ll become part of the movement that puts these paths back on the map for generations to come.” 

What’s the significance of 2026?

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 placed a legal requirement on all local authorities in England and Wales to create a definitive map of public rights of way in their area. This process took a long time (decades in some cases), and many rights of way were left off or incorrectly recorded.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 aimed to create some certainty by defining a date when the definitive maps would be deemed ‘complete’ and no more historic rights of way could be added. This was set as 1 January 2026. Any rights of way that existed before 1949 but have not been added to the definitive map by then will be extinguished and the public right to use them will be lost.

In 2001 the Government set up the Discovering Lost Ways project as a systematic research programme to ensure that the definitive maps would be fully complete by the cut-off date. However, the lengthy bureaucracy involved with processing claims for historic rights of way meant that six years later the project was deemed unviable, having not achieved very much in the time since. So the task of researching lost ways and submitting claims was left to volunteers.

The Deregulation Act 2015 was designed to make the process simpler, but five years later it still hasn’t been brought into effect.