From today (November 5) new coronavirus guidelines have been put in place in England until December 2. While these are not as stringent as those put in place during the spring, they mandate staying at home unless necessary and have implications when it comes to motorcycling.
We’ve put together this guide as to what they mean for you and riding your motorcycle. The information relates specifically to England, at the time of writing. Regulations are different in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and we’ve provided links to the appropriate government websites at the bottom of the page, where you can find the latest local information for where you are.
Can I ride my bike during the lockdown?
In short, yes. You can use your motorcycle as transport to go about your daily business, provided it is permitted under the regulations.
So, if you still have to travel to work (because you can’t work from home) you can use your motorcycle or scooter to commute. Likewise you can use your bike to do essential shopping, or to carry out other activities listed as essential on the UK Government website.
You are also allowed to use your motorcycle for volunteering duties, and Carole Nash insurance policyholders are covered for these activities, without the need to inform us.
But can I ride for leisure?
Perhaps one of the biggest frustrations of the first lockdown, which started in March, was fact that the sun was shining and many of us were itching to get out after a winter off the road.
With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, we know many motorcyclists start to lay up their bikes in November and that there will be less demand for leisure riders to get out on their bikes, however there’s will still a desire for many to take advantage of some dry weather and get a ‘last blast’ before the onset of winter.
Unfortunately the guidance is to ‘Stay at Home’ and that ‘you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purpose’ of which riding motorcycles is not listed as a specific purpose, however it is permitted to travel in order to exercise or undertake outdoor recreation.
While we understand that riding a motorcycle is a largely isolated experience, we would encourage all riders to follow their local guidance and stay at home unless essential. The lockdown restrictions are aimed at reducing contact between people, to limit the spread of the virus, and even a well planned journey may involve interacting with others, for example in the event of a breakdown or accident or at a refuelling stop.
Can I buy a new motorcycle during the lockdown period?
Unlike bicycle retailers, motorcycle and scooter showrooms are not considered to be essential retailers and therefore cannot remain open.
However businesses are allowed to offer collection and delivery services and most (but not all) motorcycle dealers we spoke to are operating on this basis.
It will not be possible to go to a dealership, to browse and take a test ride, but if you are looking to purchase a new motorbike, scooter or moped we would advise contacting your dealer to check if they are able to offer a collection or delivery service during the lockdown period.
Can I get my bike repaired or tested during the lockdown?
Yes, businesses offering vehicle repair services, and MoT testing stations, are allowed to stay open, however they are required to follow Covid secure guidelines and are unlikely to be operating as normal. Our advice is to contact your local garage or dealer by phone or email in advance, as they may be operating an appointment system and may not be able to take ‘walk in’ jobs.
I’ve got a bike test booked in November, will it still go ahead?
All motorcycle scooter and motorcycle training and tests have been suspended between November 5 and December 2. If you have a test booked in this time you will be contacted by the DVSA.
What about track days?
The few remaining track days of 2020 appear to be closed, as they were during the first lockdown, as are most motocross practice tracks.
So what can I do to get my biking fix during the lockdown?
While it is disappointing to have to stay at home in November, there are plenty of motorcycling activities you can enjoy.
Many motorcycle manufacturers are launching their 2021 models throughout November and are finding creative ways in which to unveil these online, so keep an eye on your favourite social media feeds to be the first to see the bikes we can be riding next year.
MotoGP reaches its exciting conclusion in November, and with three days live action from each of the remaining three rounds shown in its entirety on BT Sport and motogp.com, there’s plenty to keep race fans entertained.
If you’re planning to take your bike off the road over the winter anyway, now is the perfect time to give your machine a deep clean and service, to prepare it for winter storage. You’ll find plenty of ‘how to’ articles online if you’re unsure of what to do.
November in the UK is synonymous with Motorcycle Live, our annual bike show held at Birmingham’s NEC. While that event is understandably cancelled this year, the organisers are holding an online event through their website, with presentations of new models, celebrity interviews and daily themed content every day from 21-29 November.
Finally, why not connect with Carole Nash on social media? We’ll be bringing you all the latest news as it happens, and there’s plenty of great (if we do say so ourselves) and informative articles to be found on our website: https://www.carolenash.com/news
I’m not in England, what guidance should I follow?
Currently all four nations of the United Kingdom are following different guidelines. For the latest guidance, we recommend visiting the UK government website, which has links to each individual nation’s guidance. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#stay-at-home
Guidance for those living in Ireland can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/