Cycling, Walking & Wheeling

Cycling and active travel can have huge benefits for our physical and mental health, and the environment. During the Covid-19 outbreak, we can all cycle safely for everyday journeys and exercise, in line with Scottish Government guidelines. Cycling can also provide a safe method of travel during the outbreak and beyond.

The three basic things to remember (click to expand):

Be safe – Look after yourself and those in your care
  • Cycle on your own, with people you live with or in small groups (check latest Government guidance here) link
  • Keep two metres apart from those outside your household
  • Use a face covering in line with latest government advice
  • Where possible, avoid touching hard surfaces such as walls, gates, fences and park benches
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after going out
Be smart – Stay in your local area and plan ahead
  • Stay in your local area and plan ahead
  • Ride in and to places you know will be quiet, away from hotspots
  • Consider bringing things you may need – hand sanitiser, face covering, contactless payment options
  • Stay within your ability and fitness level
  • Avoid riding in big groups

Try not to ride directly behind others – be aware of breathing in others’ exhaled breath – leave enough distance between you and bike riders ahead of you. The faster you’re going, the more distance you need.

Be kind – Look out for others, particularly more vulnerable groups
  • Be mindful of others, particularly more vulnerable groups
  • Consider cycling at less busy times of the day
  • Slow down, respect others and give older people and people with poor mobility, visually impaired and people in wheelchairs priority
  • Be patient with families with small children, and people with babies in pushchairs
  • On shared paths, keep left if possible and pass on the right
  • Slow down when passing others – especially pedestrians
  • Ring your bell or make other path-users aware of your presence with a friendly call-out. Don’t give people a fright!
  • Create space to allow others to pass and give people distance
  • On shared paths, please be patient and considerate of each other
  • Remember that people walking or running may step on to the roadway to allow others physical distancing space on the footpath
  • Please be mindful that a bell may not be sufficient warning to pedestrians with hearing, visual or mobility impairments
  • Please do not spit – it can transfer onto wheels, gloves and hands
  • Be considerate and patient with people who take a little longer to pass or who need extra room due to their mobility aids (wheelchairs, mobility scooters, long canes, guide dogs, walking frames)
  • Stay within your local area for exercise or other leisure activities if you can

Other ride things to do

Here’s a handy list of useful tips and info to keep you in the know and properly informed for confident travel by bike or wheel These things apply all the time and aren’t just Covid-specific. Worth a read!
  1. Dress and Pack for the weather, bearing in mind how changeable it can be in the UK.
  2. There’s a huge amount of useful info about active travel during the pandemic on this excellent summary document made by Sustrans, Cycling Scotland and others.
  3. There are some specific rules for cyclists in the Highway Code.
  4. Plan your journeys. Sustrans (the national charity for walking and cycling) can help you plan your journey, including maps showing dedicated paths and routes.
  5. Follow the Highway Code to keep everyone safe. Cyclists should only cycle on designated cycle lanes, shared paths and roads – not pavements.
  6. Plan your journey – take a look at the VisitScotland Journey Planner and you’ll never run out of ideas.
  7. All users of shared-use paths have responsibilities for the safety of others they are sharing space with.
  8. Remember that people riding bikes tend to be the fastest movers on these paths.
  9. Pedestrians have priority on towpaths so cyclists need to be ready to slow down. If you’re in a hurry, consider using an alternative route for your journey.
  10. Our waterways are living history with boats, working locks and low bridges, so please give way to waterway users and be extra careful where visibility is limited.
  1. If you’re cycling, bring things for your bike such as a puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, a hand pump, basic tools such as Allen keys and an adjustable spanner.
  2. Bike lights can help you be seen in tunnels or low light (front and rear lights are a legal requirement if riding after dark).
  3. A bike bell is almost essential for letting others on a shared-use path know that you’re approaching. There are many types available.
  4. Use the National Cycle Network . You’ll see useful information such as distance and surface type on their route pages.
  5. Look out for signage on the way to your route: eg Red route signs with bracketed numbers lead you towards a route. For example, if you see a sign with (4), it means you’re on the way to Route 4.
  6. When you see the red numbered route signs without brackets, this tells you that you’re now on the route.
  7. In addition to a number, some routes may also have a name – for example – so these may appear on signs too.

Using Public Transport

Bus, Rail, Subway, Trams, Ferries, Taxis
For journeys where cycling, walking or wheeling isn’t possible, public transport is often the best option. In post-Covid Scotland, being in enclosed spaces with others is obviously to be avoided, but we can keep safe by following the common sense guidelines and advice.
  1. The public transport system has limited capacity due to physical distancing and lower service provision, so cycle, wheel or walk instead where possible.
  2. You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs.
  3. For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies.
  4. Plan your journey and check with travelinescotland or your transport operator for the latest travel advice.
  5. Follow all advice and safety measures put in place by transport operators.
  6. Allow extra time for your journey in case of delayed schedules.
  7. If possible, travel at off-peak times which are likely to be less busy.
  8. Book your travel online where you can, or have the correct cash available.
  9. Wash or sanitise your hands before and after every journey.
  1. Adhere to physical distancing while on public transport if possible, and while you are walking to/from a station or bus stop.
  2. In situations where distance is not possible, avoid physical contact and keep the time you spend with others as short as possible.
  3. Sit together with members of your household to free up space for others.
  4. You must follow signs and notices on public transport about which seats to use, how to queue, floor markings, one way sytems etc.
  5. Be considerate to your fellow passengers and to transport staff:
  6. Wait for passengers to get off first before you board.
  7. Respect other people’s space while travelling.
  8. Don’t eat or drink, unless necessary on a long journey.
  9. Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face and remember to cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  10. Use hand sanitiser regularly while travelling.

Take your bike with you

In some areas you can take your bike with you on the bus or train. Check your local bus or train service provider for local service availability. Here’s an example of a ‘take your bike on the bus’ service:

Thistle Assistance logo

Need Some Help On Public Transport?

We all welcome a little extra assistance now and again, particularly when travelling alone. Thistle Assistance is an initiative to help you feel safer and more comfortable when using public transport. Visit website here.

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