There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government interventions have affected everyone in some way. As difficult as this time in our lives is, we must make the best of it. Whether you are furloughed, working from home or still in the trenches, motorcycling is a little bit of freedom that most of us can still enjoy. A good ride can help you take a break from the worry and wondering, clear your mind and let you leave your troubles behind. You may find yourself wondering if you CAN get out and ride during this time however. Let’s look at some of the motorcycle riding rules throughout the state.
Can I ride my motorcycle during a stay at home order?
You’ll want to check the motorcycle riding rules for your specific state to be sure you’re obeying the law. Before you hop on your bike, you should check the Motorcycle Industry Council’s State Resource Map to find out what rules are in effect in your area. Most states have enacted some sort of stay at home order and right, wrong or otherwise, it’s reality. If you are fortunate enough to still be able to exercise your freedom, by all means, do so!
I am one of the lucky ones, I live in Iowa where we never had a shelter in place order. Some states that had them are starting to relax restrictions, what that means in your area can change daily. I check the map often for updates, a few more states just lifted some of their restrictions.
At the time of writing this article, North Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arkansas, and Iowa had no active orders in place. South Dakota never had a statewide mandate; they remained a bastion of freedom!
Changes to riding under a stay at home order.
Even if there is a shelter in place order in effect in your area, it may not restrict you from riding. You’ll need to read and interpret what the authorities consider acceptable. If you watch the news at all, you’ve probably seen the consequences of violating the order in more strict jurisdictions.
I don’t know about you but getting hemmed up for not following the rules of the road is the last thing I need with everything else that’s going on! Use your best judgement if you decide to ride.
Tips for motorcycle safety during COVID-19
Motorcycle safety is always paramount, it should be at the forefront of your mind, not just now, but every time you get on the bike. Be sure you have the proper riding gear and check your bike out before you head out. Afterall, riding with a tow truck driver is not social distancing!
While there is considerably less traffic on the roads these days, people are more pre-occupied now than during “normal” times. They might not expect to see motorcycles and look right through you. Always ride defensively and assume that everyone is out to get you.
Below are a few more tips for motorcycle safety during COVID-19.
Keep your bike & gear clean
While you are out riding, be sure to keep your bike and gear clean. If you make a stop, the possibility of cross contamination exists. Gas pump handles, entry doors and restroom fixtures could all potentially be infected. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the facilities and use your paper towel to open the door.
Don’t wear your riding gloves if you go inside as they can end up transferring bacteria to your bikes controls and whatever you touch from there on out. Recycle plastic garbage bags by using them to hold the gas pump handle. Afterwards turn it inside out and throw it in the trash can.
You may also want to bring some sanitizer or wipes for clean up before putting your riding gear back on. Some conscious thought will help keep you safe.
Use your ride for essential traveling
Even if there are rules against social riding, you might still be able to ride to work if you are an essential worker. I have a good friend who is a mechanic for an international shipping company, and he rides to work as often as possible.
You can also use your bike to run essential errands. While at the grocery store this morning, I saw a young lady walking in from the parking lot carrying her helmet. If you are just picking up a few items from the grocery store or pharmacy, consider riding your bike.
The mundane task of going shopping will be more pleasant on a bike. Make room in your saddlebags or bring a backpack to carry your purchases home. If your bike is like mine, I have enough gear in the bags to set off on a cross country journey most days! As an added bonus, it’s a lot easier finding a parking spot for a bike!
Avoid contact with people
If you are going out for a ride whether it be for work or play, you might want to change up your routine a bit. If you’re riding with others, don’t ride in a huge pack, smaller groups will make it easier to keep 6ft apart.
Also make sure you plan ahead. Get gas at stations that have less traffic. Bring something to drink and a snack so you won’t have to stop or head inside anywhere. This will help limit exposure as well.
It will all be over soon!
While these days can be overwhelming, things will soon be back to normal. What the new normal looks like will be interesting to see. We have to make the best of it and for me, that happens on my motorcycle, I hope yours can bring you some peace as well. Stay safe, see you on the road!
Disclosure: This is not an exhaustive list of state laws. Visit mic.org for updates in your state.