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Cyclist riding in bike lane on Walnut Street in Philadelphia

It’s been a weird week (two weeks?) as COVID-19 has begun wreaking havoc on the United States. For many people, bicycling and outdoor exercise has kept our bodies physically and mentally stable, as gyms and fitness studios have closed. Rates of bicycling has continued to increase over the course of the pandemic, and shows no signs of slowing down. But we’ve been getting a lot of questions about bicycling in Philadelphia right now — so, here are some frequently asked questions about bicycling during the pandemic (and some frequently answered answers.)

Am I allowed to ride a bicycle right now?

Yes. While people are encouraged to stay inside their homes at this time, certain outdoor activities are allowed. They include delivery, outdoor activity, running and cycling, and travel to free meal sites, grocery stores, and other essential businesses. See this tweet from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney:

The streets are generally lower-stress right now and many more people are riding than usual. However, we recommend you cancel your group rides since it’s recommended people stay six feet away from one another at this time. As supporters already know, the Bicycle Coalition successfully advocated to get Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive opened to pedestrians and bicyclists, and closed to motor vehicle drivers. We suggest riding your bike there, and keeping a safe six foot distance between yourself and the next person.

Are bike shops in the Philadelphia region open for business?

Yes. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Bike Pittsburgh, and other organizations, successfully advocated for bike shops around the state to stay open for repairs during the pandemic. But they’re not all necessarily open for walk-ins. We suggest you call your local bike shop before bringing your bike in for a tune-up or new part, and check out our news item about what shops are doing to keep their customers and employees safe during the pandemic.

Are other streets being considered for closure to motor vehicles?

The Bicycle Coalition has been in contact with community groups, nonprofit organizations, and Councilmembers around the city to figure out what other streets can and should be closed to allow for social distancing while getting outside during this time.

Note: Public health recommendations around mitigating the spread of COVID-19 may be subject to change. This content may not reflect the current recommendations. For current recommendations around social distancing and outdoor activity, please check the CDC website.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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