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Tips for Safe Cycling Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Isny Dewi R

22 June 2020

Photo credit: Pixabay

Cycling is now trending again in Indonesia, especially in big cities like Jakarta. In addition to being healthy and cost effective, bike is also considered to be a safe transportation from potential transmission of COVID-19.

Yes, cycling does prevent someone from the crowd or meet other people at close distance which usually occurs on public transportation, such as buses, trains, online motorcycle taxi, etc.

Reported from, an epidemiologist from Padjadjaran University, Dr. Panji Fortuna Hadisoemarto confirmed that cycling is felt to be safer in the midst of coronavirus pandemic than riding public transportation.

However, cycling can still bring someone infected with the virus if they don’t take care of themselves. So, even though cycling, someone must also continue to implement the COVID-19 health protocols in order to avoid virus and get the benefits of cycling.

"Efforts to prevent transmission must continue to be done, such as social distancing with other cyclists, especially if cycling in groups," Panji explained. Panji also justifies that, besides being safer because of avoiding crowds of people, cycling can also make your body healthy.

Check out tips for those of you who want to cycling while still preventing transmission of COVID-19:

1. The Use of Mask
The use of mask when cycling is actually not complicated. If breathing starts to feel tight when you cycling using a mask, you can take it off. However, make sure you are away from the crowd. Reuse your mask when meet other people or approaching a crowd that does not allow social distancing. 

Favorite places to exercise outdoor such as Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) currently require visitors to wear masks. If you really feel unsafe and comfortable cycling using a mask, avoid places like that.

Actually there’s other simpler opt. You can cycling in your neighborhood that is not too crowded and can keep social distancing from other people, making it safer when you are cycling without wearing a mask.

If you have no problem using a mask when cycling, try not to use a medical mask (surgical mask or N95), because they’re very tight so it will be very difficult for you when breathing. The two masks are also only intended for people who are in a high risk environment of contracting diseases such as hospitals.

Cloth mask is considered safer because the pores are more likely to allow air exchange. However, keep in mind also that the larger the pores of the mask, the lower the filtration ability. For this reason, it is always preferred to maintain social distancing and wash your hands routinely if you want to avoid contracting the virus.

2. Cycling Alone
If you are cycling in a crowded place, try to always keep your distance from other cyclists or people. Quoted from Bicycle site, according to David Nieman, professor of health at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, cycling outside is safe, as long as you are alone. 

When you are in a crowd and there’s other people coughing or sneezing, droplets may hit objects or surfaces around you without you knowing. And then, you hold it, then touch your face, and there’s an infection. Highly recommended for cycling alone. Try checking first, whether your favorite route is busy or not.

"Going cycling alone and avoiding others are the best things we can do," Nieman suggested. That is, we must avoid crowded areas. If the route that you used to take turns out to be busy, look for another route for everyone's safety.

3. Using Safety Equipment
One of the safety equipment that must be used when cycling is bike helmet. There are several reasons why we should use helmet when cycling, among them are to keep your head from injury when a collision happens and minimize other dangerous risks if you fall. In addition, helmet also can improve aerodynamic by minimizing wind resistance on your head. If possible, also wear a jersey, gloves, knee and elbow protectors, and some additional needs, such as bag and drinking bottle.

4. Obey Traffic Rules
Even though the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta has provided bike lanes on several roads in the capital city, but along with the increasing number of cyclists in Jakarta, the existing lanes are not enough to accommodate the cyclists.

If you can't use or there isn't a bike lane, always use the far left lane when you're cycling Even though bike is not a kind of motor vehicles, you still have to obey traffic rules, such as not running a red light, stopping behind a zebra crossing at a red light, not going against the flow, etc., for our safety.

If cycling on the road, do not overtake any vehicle, because there is a risk of accident. Try also not to use the sidewalk, because it can endanger pedestrians who pass.

5. Take Care of Your Bike
Always check your bike condition before cycling. Make sure the chain and brakes are in top condition or not worn, so you can maneuver properly on the road. Don't forget to lubricate the chain after each use. Clean your bike frame from dirt and mud with a bucket of warm water and washing soap. This is important, because dirt can also make your bike break easily.

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