Social Distancing

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wperry
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Joined: 30 Jun 2020, 1:01pm

Social Distancing

Postby wperry » 30 Jun 2020, 1:45pm

For my Engineering A level coursework I am looking at how the coronavirus has created problems for cyclists and the cycling industry. In order for my work to be valid, I must collect primary data to show that the problems are being experienced by real people and I haven't just made them up.

One area I am researching is how Social distancing has affected cyclists when cycling on tracks, paths or roads.

So if you've experienced any Social Distancing related problems when out and about or experienced the rules being broken, please let me know.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Pete Owens
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Joined: 7 Jul 2008, 12:52am

Re: Social Distancing

Postby Pete Owens » 30 Jun 2020, 4:37pm

Avoiding paths and tracks since social distancing is simply not possible.

Roads are mostly fine apart from very narrow country lanes.

Grandad
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby Grandad » 30 Jun 2020, 5:28pm

+1

atlas_shrugged
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby atlas_shrugged » 30 Jun 2020, 5:56pm

For me and the Mrs cycling during lockdown has been brilliant. At weekends we have counted more bikes on the road than cars. The motor vehicle traffic level has been so low that you can hear the birds singing. Distressing sights such as wild animals squashed on the road were just completely absent. What has been really nice to see are whole families out on their bikes. They would not be out in such numbers unless they felt it was safer.

As far as Covid-19 is concerned when out on my bike I have felt pretty relaxed. Most of our routes are in rural areas. It is always difficult to judge things when you have an unseen enemy. But if you cycle past someone fleetingly when outdoors then my information is that the risk is low. This virus does not have a high mortality rate, it is infectious yes. For folk under 45 years mostly they will be fine. Old duffers like me need to take more care.

My guess is that workplaces, schools, care homes, hospitals, and public transport are where more attention needs to be paid.

drossall
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby drossall » 30 Jun 2020, 7:04pm

For A-level, you might want to look local to where you are to make your examples more immediate? Some starter points:
  • Distancing of 2m has been required. To achieve that, cyclists need 2m width plus some margin for each rider, maybe 2.5 plus in total, whether they are riding in opposite directions or one is overtaking the other. Take a tape measure to some local facilities, as some can be remarkably narrow or have pinch points. Don't forget that those measurements are for centre-lines, and handlebars and bits of human body both stick out sideways. For on-road cycle lanes, social distancing isn't really much different from the clearance suggested for overtaking cars (photo accompanying rule 163), so lanes too narrow for social distancing are probably too narrow for safety at any time. Where there's a lane, drivers tend to do no more than keep out of it, regardless of the gap to the cyclist, so narrow lanes reduce the clearance that cyclists get, compared to no lane at all.
  • Where facilities are popular, or just limited in number, have they just been insufficient to cope? What will happen if cycling remains popular?
  • Had any thought been given to how cyclists get from their homes to the facilities, without driving (which was discouraged anyway at one point)? Sometimes facilities are good in themselves, but not easy to reach safely. Real people go from home to destination, not from start to end of cycle routes. Again, this is coronavirus highlighting an issue that applies just as much at other times.
  • More complex, there are big debates in cycling circles because (obviously) airflow takes breath etc. behind the rider. So, it's really unclear whether 2m sideways spacing is as important when riding a bike as when walking, but conversely being anywhere behind another cyclist, say 5 or 10m, could easily be much less safe than riding 1m to the side. Now there's an engineering problem for you :D

xerxes
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby xerxes » 30 Jun 2020, 8:44pm

drossall wrote:More complex, there are big debates in cycling circles because (obviously) airflow takes breath etc. behind the rider.

When coming up behind a slower rider, I take a deep breath about 30m behind them, then sprint, holding my breath, until I pass them. I suspect this may be a bit over the top, but at least it is decent interval training!

mattsccm
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby mattsccm » 30 Jun 2020, 8:57pm

Social distancing has pretty well stopped club riding as the main governing bodies, British Cycling and CUK have said that they cannot sanction any official, read insured, event until recently. Some clubs are just starting to get back into small club rides,many are not, as social distancing isn't physically possible on roads. It has also stopped the main competitive element of club riding, the time trial. CTT, the governing body has yet to allow even small events to take place.
Contrary to above I have found that riding on the quieter lanes was actually reasonably possible as minimal traffic made it possible to ride safely and distanced. On a main road it wasn't as motors couldn't cope with it. Off road riding was less of a problem if gravel riding as car width tracks gave room for distancing with no worries about motors. I would also guess that it was easier for people to ignore the rules as well.

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TrevA
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby TrevA » 30 Jun 2020, 9:58pm

I experienced a social distance related problem. Riding on a shared use riverside path, with walkers and other cyclists and having to pass them at 2m distance, the path wasn’t wide enough and I had to ride into the grass at the side of the path to overtake some walkers. The grass was quite long and contained a hidden tree root, that I rode into. The result was that the bike stopped abruptly and I went over the handlebars and landed heavily on my shoulder. This was in mid April and the shoulder is still giving me problems now, at the end of June.

Following this incident, I’ve avoided shared use paths.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
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mjr
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby mjr » 30 Jun 2020, 10:18pm

I have had the problem with social distancing that idiots keep posting that you must absolutely never get within 2m of another human even momentarily when it's unavoidable and your face is covered, completely ignoring the minutes of exposure that are usually needed to catch the virus.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

tim-b
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby tim-b » 1 Jul 2020, 6:32am

Hi
Two slower cyclists (humblebrag) cycling side-by-side with a 2m space between them and 1m from the kerb on a B-road. Where do I go to overtake? Fortunately early in lockdown so no traffic around and an offside overtake was the easy option
Some posts here... https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=138205
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

arnsider
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby arnsider » 1 Jul 2020, 8:54am

I'm with mjr on this one and I think that a lot of fears are OTT.
If you have to pass someone on a very narrow path, say for instance a canal tow path, then turn away from the other and hold your breath.
If your route is likely to involve close passing, then wear a mask or a buff or just avoid those places and take a safer route.
There is a lot of completely unnecessary paranoia over this issue, made worse by zealots who immeadiately condem anyone they see as invading "Their space"

wperry
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Joined: 30 Jun 2020, 1:01pm

Re: Social Distancing

Postby wperry » 1 Jul 2020, 3:09pm

Thanks for all of your responses, its a huge help :D

drossall
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby drossall » 1 Jul 2020, 10:16pm

Just noticed that you're also looking at the industry, don't forget how early expectations of a slow-down have turned into chaos as everyone wants a bike for exercise. Many of this year's models are sold out, next year's are being pre-ordered, and even thefts are up as people turn to other means to get one. Probably more economics than engineering but, with materials, shipping times and so on, they can't just turn on a tap and produce more bikes; numbers are planned well ahead.

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mjr
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby mjr » 1 Jul 2020, 11:02pm

drossall wrote:Just noticed that you're also looking at the industry, don't forget how early expectations of a slow-down have turned into chaos as everyone wants a bike for exercise.

And for transport, too, with some buses running with less than 20% of seats usable.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

mjal
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Re: Social Distancing

Postby mjal » 2 Jul 2020, 10:38am

mjr wrote:I have had the problem with social distancing that idiots keep posting that you must absolutely never get within 2m of another human even momentarily when it's unavoidable and your face is covered, completely ignoring the minutes of exposure that are usually needed to catch the virus.


Is the clue here "unavoidable"?

Situation : two cyclists/walkers stopped for a chat, about 2 metres apart on opposite sides of shared use path. Runner (me) arrives ; runs down the middle of the path? What's the gap for all three - less than a metre?

Solution : when stopping for a chat, take up positions on the same side of the path, 2 metres apart. The arriving runner/walker/cyclist then has and can give a 2 metre gap.

Problem solved? : not quite. The runner stops at a safe distance, politely suggests above solution.

Outcome : abuse! Or at best grumbling++ ; "are you the police?" and remarks in similar vein.

The risk is undoubtedly small when outdoors and passing (even face-to-face) for a few seconds but how difficult is it to adopt single file for those few seconds whether as a cyclist, runner or walker?