British Cycling tells government to ‘recommend cycling during coronavirus pandemic’

Riding your bike is a great way to stay healthy during the current crisis

(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

British Cycling has told the government to officially recommend cycling to the public during the coronavirus outbreak.

While the government has advised that people take precautions to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, including avoiding non-essential social contact and travel, there has been no specific guideline issued on whether people should be out cycling in the world.

Riding your bike is a great way to stay healthy while adhering to social distancing, but some countries have banned cycling outside because of concerns that crashes and injury would put more strain on health services during the crisis.

But national governing body British Cycling has urged the government to formally recommend cycling during the outbreak.

In a letter to health secretary Matt Hancock, BC chief executive Julie Harrington, said: “Riding bicycles offers us a unique solution to several of the key challenges facing us. It is a safe form of local transport and gentle recreation, keeping us the required distance from others, while at the same time strengthening our immune systems and bolstering our mental health.

“All of this helps reduce the strain on our NHS and may make people feel more comfortable about spending prolonged periods at home.”

Harrington’s letter comes after a group of experts called on the government to support walking and cycling during this crisis.

In Spain, cyclists face fines and even arrest for riding outside as the police are trying to reduce the strain on the health service caused by any crashes, while in France cycling is now heavily restricted.

British Cycling says that cycling outside can still be done while adhering to social distancing advice, including staying two metres from others, and that Britain should follow in the footsteps of nations like Germany.

>>> How can cyclists stay safe during coronavirus crisis? Latest updates from British Cycling and the government 

Harrington added: “This approach s being followed elsewhere, where we have in some cases seen government advise their citizens to cycle more. Indeed, Germany’s Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn this week appealed for people to walk or cycle rather than use public transport.”

British Cycling insurance remains in place for all Commute, Ride, Race Silver and Race Gold members.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.