The COVID-19 crisis has come right at the time when motorcyclists would normally take advantage of the sun coming out.
Last weekend saw a glut of motorcyclists take to the road, with many meeting up as normal at biking hotspots, despite the Government’s advice to stay at home where possible, and to socially distance if they needed to go to public places.
Now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has essentially ‘locked down’ the UK for the next three weeks, as Britain prepares for the impact of the global pandemic, insisting that citizens only go outside to buy essential provisions, to seek medical attention or to go to work, and only if that work is classed as essential and cannot be carried out at home.
With all but essential journeys essentially banned, with police given the power to fine those who ignore the rules, the idea of going out for a blast on the bike will need to be put on hold for the foreseeable future.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t ride your motorcycle though. As long as you are using your bike to commute to and from work, or to carry out essential shopping, then you are within your rights to ride your motorcycle.
Indeed, Britain’s Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is keen to point out the benefits of motorcycles and scooters can bring in this time of crisis.
As well as the good work carried out by the Blood Biker volunteers and motorcycle-mounted emergency services, small powered two-wheelers are playing a vital role in food delivery and helping those in critical roles get to work.
Much has been made of the crowded public transport system, particularly the London Underground, which is too busy to allow for the practice of social distancing to take place, and as the MCIA points out, riding to work on a motorcycle on scooter naturally offers social distancing.
Unfortunately the lockdown means that it looks unlikely that we will be able to fast track new riders onto two wheels. DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) driving test centres are currently closed due to the crisis, while dealerships should also be closed under the latest Government restrictions.
Why are the lockdowns and social distancing in place?
Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus, is a new illness which attacks the respiratory system. The first recorded incidences were in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019 and since then it has swept across the world.
While the symptoms for some patients can be mild, a percentage can get seriously ill with pneumonia style symptoms which require hospitalisation and can ultimately lead to death, particularly with older people and those with other medical conditions.
The disease is highly contagious and can be passed easily from person to person. What makes Covid-19 particularly difficult to control is that the carrier may be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) but can still pass on the virus to others.
The Government wants to minimise human contact in order to slow down the spread of the virus, in order to reduce the stress on the health service, and is following the path of China and other countries, which have also locked down in order to contain the situation.
Can I get my motorcycle serviced during the Coronavirus lockdown?
While car showrooms are not classed as essential services, garages are and can stay open at the discretion of the company owners.
That means that you should be able to get parts for your bike, and have it repaired or put through the MoT, although following the ‘stay at home’ advice means that using these services should only be considered if they are ‘essential’.
Fuel stations can stay open, meaning that you will be able to fill up with petrol if using your bike to commute, although care should be taken when using the pump and making payment – ensuring social distancing (staying around two metres away from others) and washing of hands regularly.