Riding restrictions lift in England on Wednesday says No. 10 - so long as you maintain social distancing
The government has today removed restrictions in England that prevented all motorcycle journeys unless you were a key worker, or the journey was considered essential. In a speech on Sunday night, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that you can "drive to other destinations" – however, it was unclear exactly what that meant.
Having spoken directly with a spokesperson at No.10, MCN can confirm this means you are allowed to ride a motorcycle "to any open spaces" with no limit on the distance from today, Wednesday, May 13.
However, they reiterated that this should ideally be done only with members of your immediate household or with one other, provided you maintain social distancing. The advice also stated that once you arrive, you should maintain a minimum of two meters distance from other members of the public.
You'll also have to abide by the rules for travelling between countries within the UK, as you'll still be unable to cross from England into Scotland, Ireland or Wales, or vice versa. The "Stay at home" message remains in place in all countries other than England. You're also not allowed to travel somewhere and stay the night, with a spokesperson saying: "although you might want to take the bike out to the Lake District, for example, you wouldn’t be able to stay there overnight".
No.10 also confirmed that should the relaxation cause a spike in coronavirus transmission that threatens to overwhelm the NHS, then the rules will tighten back up once again.
It was also stated that should the rate of infections remain low, the government will look to reopen shops and cafes in June and July, meaning that bike dealerships and popular hang outs will be able to reopen so long as they can keep staff and shoppers safe.
So what does this mean for bikers?
In short, you can ride – but you should still exercise common sense. Just like every normal Spring, most of us have had a long time off the bike and our skills probably aren’t what they were six months ago.
At MCN we’ll be taking a considered approach, avoiding long or fast-paced rides for the foreseeable future and sticking to gentle jaunts into the countryside for changes of scenery and somewhere to grab a breath of fresh air. That might mean a great ride to the coast or the hills before chucking some trainers on to get your daily exercise, for example.
The temptation to simply return to normal riding is overwhelming, but do we really want biking to be vilified yet again, as it was when some were slow to comply with the start of lockdown?
Motorcycling is often perceived negatively by the public at large – but right now, stories of couriers and volunteers delivering medical supplies and community support has placed motorcycling firmly in the public’s good books. A sunny weekend of wailing redline torture, open pipes and unnecessary road accidents will quickly undo all that. But most of all, we want everyone to stay safe so that when everything really is back to normal, we’re all still here to enjoy it.
We will update this page when the advice changes again.