“Consider bicycles” during Covid-19 outbreak, says World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released technical guidance on moving around during the Covid-19 outbreak, advocating cycling and walking to limit physical contact to prevent and slow down the pandemic.

The WHO’s advice reads:

“While cities around the world are introducing a broad range of measures to limit physical contacts to prevent and slow down the COVID-19 pandemic, many people might still have a need to move around cities to reach their workplaces when possible, meet essential daily needs or provide assistance to vulnerable people.

“Whenever feasible, consider riding bicycles or walking: this provides physical distancing while helping to meet the minimum requirement for daily physical activity, which may be more difficult due to increased teleworking, and limited access to sport and other recreational activities.”

With the inherent positives around cycling during the outbreak – and the fact that many rely on bikes to commute, including key workers – there have been calls to make extra protected space for cyclists during the pandemic in the UK, following the lead of cities like Berlin.

CONEBI (Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry) is among the organisations calling for more European governments to allow bike shops to stay open, noting that bike shops reopened in Austria on 14 April and in Germany yesterday (20 April), while Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK have allowed bike workshops to remain open throughout.

CONEBI said it is in regular contact European Institutions to discuss prompt support for the bicycle industry in this difficult time. IT said: “Several EU programmes have been presented in the last weeks by the European Commission, but they have to be easily accessible for companies, avoiding red tape and empowering the bicycle eco-system to be at the forefront of the much needed Green Revolution.”