This guide is meant to answer your questions about bicycling safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update it as we learn more. However, the situation may change rapidly. Please follow the advice and orders of your local authorities, no matter what this document might say.
Can I ride outside during a shelter-in-place mandate?
Yes! Bicycling for exercise and to travel to essential activities are permitted in every county in California under current versions of the stay home order.
In fact, we recommend it. Exercise is important for physical, mental, and emotional health. Movement supports your immune system, and is a great antidote for the anxiety and depression that can come from isolation. And it’s a safe, socially distanced way of getting around. It’s also a great time to be out on the streets, as there is less car traffic.
Where can I get my bike fixed?
At your bike shop (probably). Thanks to CalBike and other organizations, bicycle repair services are designated as essential businesses, and may therefore stay open in California, unless a local order expressly prohibits it. While some shops are closed, many shops are open for reduced service with reduced hours, or for appointment-only services.
Be sure to call ahead. As a service, some advocates are listing open shops. We have not checked these for accuracy, but you may find useful these listings in Marin County and San Diego County, as well as this (incomplete) crowdsourced national map of bike shops.
Where can I get a used bike for cheap or free?
Great question, with a wonderful answer! The sudden surge in demand for bikes for essential travel has sparked Caifornians into action. New platforms are springing up to connect people with extra bikes with those who need them. Many bicycles are being offered for free.
Learn more about Bike Match.
Where can I get a new bike?
You can buy a bike from an online retailer and have it delivered, but we recommend test riding a bike before committing to it, and developing a relationship with your local bike shop in the process. Call your local bike shop to ask whether they are currently offering test rides.
How do I bike responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ride alone, or only with people you’re quarantined with. Keep aware to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others you pass on the road. Avoid following closely behind other riders. Do not go on any organized group rides.
Also, don’t be a daredevil. Now is not the time to test your limits and risk a broken bone or other injuries that would require a visit to the hospital.
What are the best kinds of routes to take to maintain social distancing?
Planning your bike route isn’t just about getting from point A to B. Make sure you’ll have room to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Avoid busy or narrow bike paths that won’t allow you to maintain a safe distance from others.
There is far less car traffic on the roads, which creates more space for biking. However, be aware that this can also mean that drivers are driving faster than usual and paying less attention. In addition, more people are walking in the street, so stay alert and share the space responsibility and courteously.
Some streets in some communities have been closed to through car traffic to open up more space for walking and biking. We hope that more streets will be opened like this in the future. These people-first streets are a great place to ride if you’re a biking beginner or if you’re riding with kids.
Is it safe to use bike share or shared scooters during the coronavirus outbreak?
Yes, as long as you apply the same careful attention to hygiene that you would with a shopping cart handle. If you can, sanitize the handlebars before you go and when you’re finished. If you can’t, wear full-fingered gloves or just be careful what you touch before washing your hands. Don’t touch your face until you thoroughly wash your hands, and sanitize your wallet, keys, and credit cards if you touched them. Plain soap does not damage a credit card.
How can I support getting better bike infrastructure in my community, or encouraging others to ride?
Get involved with your local bicycle coalition! Find your local coalition here. If you love riding on open streets, you can thank your local bike advocates. If you like protected bike lanes and paths, thank your local bicycle coalition. When you join, you add to the power of the organization to push for change. And you’ll have the opportunity to get involved and speak up for the changes you want in your city.
Can you give some tips for beginning bikers? Or, maybe someone who’s doing some things for the first time, like biking with their kids, or carrying stuff? Asking for a friend.
Fantastic. Yes we can. Check out our Learn to Bike at Any Age page. You will find answers to all your questions.