‘People may be put off altogether’: Concern over Welsh government’s new rules on coronavirus lockdown cycling

Authorities in Wales announced new restrictions on cycling, including a 10-mile limit from your home

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Strict guidelines from the Welsh government on cycling have been met with concern from both Welsh Cycling and Cycling UK.

On Friday (April 24) Welsh authorities introduced new coronavirus lockdown rules including a tightening of the guidelines around cycling, with riders now instructed to stay within “a reasonable walking distance” from their home, and adding that cycling “significant distance” is not a valid reason to leave home.

But cycling organisations have raised concerns about the new regulations as they could dissuade people from riding their bikes, particularly anyone who has started cycling in recent weeks.

According to reports, the Welsh government considers a “reasonable distance” to be within 10 miles of your home, while if you were found cycling 20 miles or more from home that does not constitute a “reasonable distance.”

CEO of Welsh Cycling Anne Adams-King said: “We are particularly concerned that many people who have started cycling in recent weeks may now be put off altogether as a consequence of yesterday’s advice.

“Our view is people should ride comfortably within their ability, stay close to home and observe all the advice on social distancing.”

Charity Cycling UK and Welsh Cycling have approached the Welsh government asking for clarification on this new guidance for cyclists and for authorities to also encourage cycling to work, for delivering medicines and food, and other essential journeys.

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Head of campaigns at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore said: “Cycling UK are concerns that this guidance might deter some people, particularly those who’ve taken up cycling in recent weeks whilst roads have been much quiet, from continuing to cycle for both their daily exercise and for essential journeys.

“Cycling UK has therefore written to the Welsh government today seeking further clarification, which we hope can be provided quickly.”

Riding bikes outside has not been banned in the UK as it has in other countries, but there has been a long-running debate around how far people should be allowed to ride for exercise.

There is no official guidance from the government about the time and distance cyclists can ride, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson only urging people to stay local.

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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 CyclingWeekly.com. 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.