Scootering in the time of Isolation: Thoughts on the Pandemic

Unless you’ve been sealed into a concrete bunker as part of some nefarious government experiment for the last 6 months – you probably are self isolating right now, avoiding extra social contact and keeping to home as much as possible.

Which is the smart thing to do, and hopefully will keep all of us safer until the situation stabilizes.

The shame of it all is that it looks like it will continue through the summer – meaning we will have restrictions on social gatherings (for good reasons of course) throughout much of the limited Canadian riding season.

If you go for a ride this season – make sure to practice social distancing on any stops.

Already many events have been cancelled, postponed, or are in limbo – just waiting for event planners to make the call if they can go ahead with the uncertainty of just when things might be safer. And the probability that for many larger events – that they aren’t going to happen this year at all.

(Even our own JunkRun event is currently on “wait and see” status for just when we will be running it – though since it is a smaller event with under 10 people expected, we *may*, if safe to do so with appropriate precautions, maybe still be able to do it in August… but we won’t know until much closer to the date.)

Also – even some of our day to day riding will be affected. For me at least, riding to a restaurant or a weekend getaway is a favourite thing to do in the summer months. Doing tours of scenic counties and visiting different stores, farmers markets, all of that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Which brings us to a basic question – *should* we be riding at all during the current situation?

On one hand – riding is an activity that can be very much said to be practicing social distancing. After all, if you have someone within 6 feet of you while riding you are doing it very much wrong.

The chances of exposing yourself to the Corona-19 Virus or being exposed while actually riding are ridiculously low. So long as you practice social distancing for any gas stops – the act of riding itself shouldn’t raise your exposure levels or those other people around you.

But…. on the other hand…. there is the increased risk that goes with any motorcycle ride. If you get into any kind of accident, or situation requiring medical treatment – you’re automatically raising your risk and that of the health provider you go to.

You might also be taking health care resources from an overburdened system – something to keep in mind.

Yet on the other other hand (let’s assume we have many hands here for the purpose of this discussion) – a bike might be your only means of transport and your work might be considered essential, requiring you to still go into work.

You might own both a bike and a car, but have severely reduced income and will be running errands on the bike to save on gas and wear and tear on your car.

One advantage of the shutdowns and social distancing – roads are often much quieter. But still, it ‘s a good idea to ride on the cautious side.

And there is the simple argument that – just for the sake of mental health – that getting out on the bike keeps you sane in a very not sane time.

So I’m certainly not going anywhere close to saying “Don’t ride.”

But I do think we should consider the current situation before we head out the door. Ask ourselves – is our machine ready to go and reliable? Right now is not the time to be stuck at the side of the road.

Are we going to be riding safe? At the moment, a hospital visit isn’t just raising the risk for ourselves. We’d be adding exposure to the front line workers as well. Maybe stick to safer roads, places with less history of accidents and make sure conditions are as conducive as possible for an accident free ride.

Basically – give it some consideration before you head out. Because so far I’ve been proud of my province, proud of my country and proud of all the people I see making an effort to follow safe practices in these unusual times. Often not for themselves, but just for basic consideration of others.

But keeping that all in mind – if the curve continues to flatten, you exercise excess caution , and you plan a ride with as little exposure to others as possible – that solo ride might be the thing that keeps you from going completely stir-crazy at home.

And while sadly – we won’t likely be getting all my favourite bits about the sport of scootering and motorcycling this year – we can at least get the odd ride in.

And for a moment, just a moment, taste the joy of a motorcycle spring. It might not be the same as usual – but it might just be a reminder that eventually, we’ll get back to where we were and once more enjoy our brief, Canadian two wheeled season.

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