With new coronavirus restrictions being put in place in Wales and parts of England also being locked down, are you allowed to ride in a group under the current rules?
England is currently governed by a three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions, with each tier including different rules depending on how fast coronavirus is spreading in each local area.
London recently increased to tier two, which means residents cannot mix with people outside of their household indoors, while Manchester may be put into tier three restrictions, which means all bars and pubs must close.
In Wales, strict measures will be implemented from Friday (October 23) which will ban people from mixing outside their homes at all.
The Welsh restrictions will be in place a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown – a short and sharp lockdown aimed at rapidly slowing the spread of the virus.
But what does all this mean for group rides?
Can you ride in a group in England?
Cyclists in England are still allowed to get out and ride with their friends, albeit in a small group size, under all three of the tier systems the government introduced.
Group rides in England can still go ahead as long as the number of riders is below six, with all British Cycling outdoor activities currently allowed under all three tiers
British Cycling said: “All outdoor activities currently sanctioned under The Way Forward guidance (such as club rides, coaching sessions, recreation programme activity and certain cycle sport events) are permitted to continue in England. These activities should ensure that they adhere to maximum group size limits (six people for club/group rides, 30 for coaching sessions), and all other relevant guidance set out on this page.”
The organisation added: “We are pleased to say that outdoor activities which are currently permitted by our guidance are able to continue at every stage of the government’s new three-tier alert level system.”
However, there may be additional restrictions put in place in local areas if they are in the ‘very high’ alert level.
British Cycling said it is monitoring these areas and will notify relevant groups if there are any changes to the rules.
Can you ride in a group in Wales under the new rules?
As mentioned above Wales will implement strict new regulations which will come into force on Friday, and they will have an impact on group rides.
Under the current guidance, issued on October 12, Welsh Cycling says the regulations state a maximum of 30 people for any activity, but for group rides the organisation recommends people ride in much smaller groups.
Welsh Cycling says: “The regulations state a maximum size of 30 people for any activity. This includes all attendees – leaders/coaches and spectators on the field of play. The actual number of participants will be covered by the risk assessment that must be in place for the activity and by the ratios defined by the coach or leader’s qualification. We strongly advise that group rides on the highway operate in much smaller groups, where the inability to ride two abreast and social distancing requirements mean the group could become a hazard. The risk assessment should cover group size.”
Also under the current regulations, groups are allowed to eat and drink outside with people outside of their household as long they maintain social distancing and the group size does not exceed 30 people.
Wales also has varying local lockdown rules, so it’s worthing checking the Welsh government website for any regulations that impact your area specifically.
However all of these rules are likely to change from Friday, although Welsh Cycling has not yet released guidance for the new stricter lockdown.
But the new regulations for Wales say that from Friday, household mixing is banned both outdoors and indoors, which means group rides with those outside of your social bubble are likely to be against the rules.
Can you ride with friends in Scotland?
In Scotland, the latest guidance from Scottish Cycling was released on October 12 and says group cycling activities are still allowed for adults, as long as groups are no bigger than 30 people.
Scottish Cycling said: “Rides can take place with up to 30 people from unlimited households. Whilst groups of up to 30 are permitted, we strongly urge clubs to consider whether this number is appropriate for activity at this time, against the backdrop of restrictions across the rest of society, and encourage all groups to limit the numbers participating in group rides at this time.”