Boris Johnson's seven-mile bike ride has made it harder to enforce lockdown rules, British public says

No 10 says Johnson's cycle didn't break government guidelines, but a survey finds people think it has made the police's job harder

(Rui Vieira/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson's recent seven-mile bike ride has made it harder to enforce lockdown rules in England and Wales, according to the two-thirds of the public recently polled.

The Prime Minister went on a cycle in east London's Olympic Park last week, seven miles from Downing Street, with his government's rules saying exercise should only be done locally.

A No 10 spokesperson said that Johnson had not broken the government guidance, however, a position backed up by police commissioner Cressida Dick, who said her interpretation was that people could exercise "from your front door and come back to your front door".

The government guidelines currently state that you can exercise outside by yourself, with the people you live with, with your support bubble, or with one person from another household, and that your exercise should be limited to once per day and you should not travel outside of your local area.

>>> Cycling groups ask for urgent clarification over ‘stay local’ guidance during lockdown

When Cycling Weekly asked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for further guidance, a spokesperson directed us back to the guidance published online.

The YouGov poll found that 63 per cent of those surveyed in England and Wales thought the PM’s cycle had made the police’s job harder, while 36 per cent of the 1,566 surveyed said it would make things "much harder".

Around the UK, the rules for Scotland say you can exercise up to five miles from the boundary of your local authority area and you must start and finish in the same place. Wales has no limits on distance, but guidance says the nearer you stay to your home, the better. And in Northern Ireland, people are advised not to go more than 10 miles from home during exercise.

"Among the guidance is a recommendation that exercise should be limited to once per day, and that you should stay within your local area," Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, said. "Neither of these is a legal requirement, and nor is there any definition of ‘local area’ within the regulations. Therefore trying to give specific advice is impossible without applying our own interpretation to unclear guidelines."