The Oregon Health Authority and Washington Department of Health are responding to an outbreak of respiratory illness, called COVID-19, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Health officials urge social distancing, good hand hygiene, covering coughs, and staying home if you are sick. For additional information and resources, see the Multnomah County COVID-19 resources.
To stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and Washington, both states are taking a phased approach to reopen. All Portland-area counties currently have restrictions on gatherings. Health officials have set limits of the number of people for all social gatherings – indoor and outdoor. State health departments have county by county details on Oregon restrictions and Washington restrictions.
Shift encourages you to ride your bike as a source of fun and exercise while also maintaining a safe distance from others during the current health crisis. According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, this means you should only ride if you can stay at least six feet away from other people.
Please be mindful and patient with other riders out on the roads and paths, and give yourself and others plenty of space. We strongly encourage everyone on a ride to wear a mask. Group bike rides are dynamic events and it can be difficult to maintain six feet of distance at all times. At minimum, we recommend you keep a mask/face covering around your neck that you can easily pull up when near other people.
Ways to improve safety on rides:
- Wear a mask: Wear a mask when close to other people, especially larger gatherings. This is especially important at ride stops, such as when gathering at a starting location or a mid-ride stop.
- Sanitize frequently: Sanitize your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
- Manage ride size: Keep the group size small so that it’s easy to maintain six feet of distance with others. This is important both while riding and during any stops. For rides that have historically been very large, consider adapting the ride for a smaller crowd or postponing it.
- Avoid indoor stops: Stay outdoors where there is more airflow and space for people to spread out. If a ride would normally make indoor stops (at at store, bar, or elsewhere), we recommend adjusting to avoid having a crowd gather indoors. For example, you might encourage people to buy supplies ahead of time in lieu of a supply stop, or have a meeting spot outside at a park instead of in a business.
- Don’t share food or drinks: Don’t share utensils or dishes, or drink from the same container.
- Respect others: Be mindful that other people may have different risk factors than you and need to approach situations differently. Respect accommodations and requests that others have — bike fun is for everyone!
The following is a list of articles about biking during the current health crisis from a variety of perspectives. Shift does not endorse any of these articles, but encourages you to do your own research to make choices that respect local, state, and federal regulations during this crisis.
- Covid-19 info — Love to Ride Oregon
- Coronavirus coverage — BikePortland.org
- Cycling During Coronavirus — Bicycling.com
- Bike Riding Safety During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Consumer Reports
- Cycling and coronavirus lockdown — Cycling Weekly
- Running or Cycling Risks for Spreading Covid-19 — Wired
- How to Get (Back) Into Biking During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Vice
With this in mind, group rides are possible when health precautions are taken. If you’re a ride leader, please read the above safety recommendations and consider how to best adjust your ride. For example, you might limit the number of riders, require masks, skip store stops, and keep all activities outdoors.
There are also alternatives to the typical group ride format that don’t involve gathering in a group, such as:
- Online events: Bike-y online events like meetings, socials, livestreams, and more
- Distributed events: Rides that happen at a specific time, but everyone participates from their own, separate location. The May 2020 Midnight Mystery Ride is a great example!
- Ride anytime routes: A specific route that people can ride at any time they’d like. Check out the special Pedalpalooza 2020 calendar for lots of great examples.
If you have any questions, contact us. As conditions change and guidelines are updated, we are continuing to figure out additional ways for the calendar to facilitate new approaches to inclusive bike fun. Stay tuned!
The Shift list is also always open for bikey discussion. So even if we ride our own paths these days, stay in touch with your fellow bike funnists and keep the conversation going ‘til we ride together again.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
- Everyone, vaccinated or not, wears a tight fitting face mask.
- Ride leaders promise to wear a mask.
- Ride leaders promise to announce to the attendees before the ride begins that masks are required.
- Everyone maintains six feet of distance behind or to the side of people around them.
- Ride leader promises that the ride plan includes room for people from different households to keep six feet away while eating.
- Ride leader or their designated safety coordinator is responsible for asking people who do not wear a mask to leave the ride.