The spread of COVID-19 across the globe has altered how most people go about their daily routines and activities. In the United States, more than one million cases of COVID-19 have emerged, with almost 800 confirmed cases in Pinellas County. In St. Petersburg, many in our thriving community of cyclists and motorcyclists are wondering whether it is safe to ride during this ongoing pandemic. In this article, we’ll consider the safety of riding during COVID-19 and what you can do to protect your personal health.
Is it Safe to Ride My Bicycle or Motorcycle Outside?
If you’re by yourself, it is still safe to ride a bike or motorcycle during COVID-19. The problems arise when people congregate in groups. Once an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets containing the virus can be spread to objects that others touch. Once a non-infected person comes in contact with these virus-containing droplets and touches their face, they become infected. For now, the safest way to ride a bicycle or motorcycle is to ride solo. Try to ride a route during a time that’s less crowded to further lower your chances of contracting the virus.
Riding your bicycle or motorcycle is perfect for getting fresh air and strengthening your immune system. Spending thirty minutes to an hour each day doing moderate exercise will strengthen your immune system and help protect your body from COVID-19. The key is knowing when your route is crowded and also paying special attention to any government restrictions that may prevent you from riding.
Does Cold Weather Matter?
Many are concerned that riding outside during cold weather might increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. That, however, isn’t true. According to a health professor at Appalachian State University, David Nieman, Dr.PH.,
“There is no data that you will get sick from really any respiratory pathogen when riding in cold weather.”
What If I’m Not Feeling Well?
If you’re not feeling well, then you shouldn’t ride outside. The worst mistake is believing that you can sweat the sickness or virus out of your system. Avoid spreading the virus and keep yourself safe by self-quarantining until your symptoms have cleared and you’re healthy again.
Do I Need to Wear a Mask When Riding Solo?
COVID-19 is mostly dangerous due to how easily it spreads. CDC guidelines advise people to wear masks when social distancing is challenging to maintain, like at the grocery store. If you’re by yourself on a route where keeping six feet or more of distance between others is realistic, then wearing a mask isn’t necessary. Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of the Human Performance Lab, explains:
“The purpose of the mask is not to protect you but to protect other people from you. If that is the goal, going out solo and avoiding other people altogether is the best thing you can do.”
The best prevention you can take to stay safe while riding is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and maintain social distancing. If you’re doing those things, wearing a mask while riding is optional.
What Other Ways Could I Catch COVID-19 While Riding in St. Petersburg?
One reason COVID-19 is so contagious is that the virus can live on surfaces and hang in the air for long periods. That’s why social distancing is so critical. Six feet is enough space to steer clear from respiratory droplets that may hang in the air from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. Outside of invisible respiratory droplets, consider other ways that transmission may occur:
According to infectious disease specialist Amy Treakle, M.D., spreading COVID-19 through spit is possible. She explains that although spit is saliva, it can also contain mucus from the lungs or nasal drainage that might be infected. If you’re riding a bicycle or motorcycle, the guideline of six feet of distance increases when you’re moving at high speeds with stronger winds. If you get hit by someone else’s spit, change your clothes as soon as possible and wash your hands afterward.
The risk of transmitting coronavirus from clothing is not yet known. However, the WHO reports that COVID-19 can live on surfaces anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. If you think COVID-19 has contaminated your clothes, disinfect them by washing the clothes in hot water with the hottest setting to dry.
Because COVID-19 can live on surfaces, avoid contact with surfaces commonly touched, like traffic or elevator buttons. If an infected person coughed into their hands, then touched a surface, you could become infected if you then also touched that surface. If you can’t avoid touching a traffic or elevator button, wear a glove or immediately wash your hands afterward.
In general, it’s safe to ride a bicycle or motorcycle during COVID-19 if you are:
- Mindful of your contact with others;
- Practicing social distancing of six feet or more; and
- Protecting yourself by washing your hands.
If you’re conscious of these things, then it is safe to ride a bicycle or motorcycle during COVID-19.
Call St. Pete’s Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
So many joys and benefits come from riding a bicycle or motorcycle in St. Petersburg. However, there are always risks involved, and sometimes an accident is unavoidable. If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, don’t delay getting the legal help you need.
Marsalisi Law is a personal injury firm in St. Petersburg, Florida, run by Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi. Frank has helped victims of motorcycle and bicycle accidents recover millions of dollars for their injury claims. Because personal attention is the hallmark of Marsalisi Law, you can be confident in knowing that Frank will guide you throughout the entire process and provide the individualized attention that your case deserves.
To schedule a free consultation with Frank to discuss your injury claim, complete an online contact form or call at (727) 800-5052.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.