Right now people in NSW may be feeling confused about COVID-19 measures and what’s happening next.
We heard the planned sequence of steps to roll–back pandemic controls as outlined by the Prime Minister last Friday but he left it to the States to decide when to begin. Last Sunday, Premier Berejiklian announced NSW will start rolling back measures this Friday, 15 May.
Premier Berejiklian’s announcement specified that outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed provided physical distancing and COVID-safe practices are in place, and outdoor playgrounds and gyms could be reopened.
Provided only 10 people at one time attend:
- Cafes and restaurants can reopen
- Outdoor pools may reopen (although changing areas will stay closed), and
- Boot-camps may resume.
Bike Riding for Exercise
For now in NSW we are still limited to exercising with only one other person or participating in individual sports, and a return to community sport is not planned quite yet.
Unless changes occur, the rule of 2 remains, but we hope groups of 10 may be allowed to ride together after Friday with safe physical distancing if NSW adopts the whole of the Stage 1 approach after Friday. We might see a slower roll-back of control measures in NSW, but we know coffee at the end of the ride is back on the menu, if the café isn’t too full.
Today the NSW Government has explained for safe social distancing to continue as we return to work, public transport must be reduced to 30-40% of its usual capacity. Whilst the Premier may want us all to remain working at home if we can, many journeys can’t be avoided as businesses, schools and further education providers return to work.
Opal travel data clearly shows the proportion of journeys taken on busses and trains, will now be considered too crowded to prevent infection spread. If people switch to motor vehicle use, many roads will become too congested to cope. Bicycle NSW has long called on the government to recognise mode shift to cycling offers de-congestion benefits, but people need safer places to ride.
Last week’s announcement of a $15 million fund for councils to apply to in order to provide more space for walking and cycling was welcome, but won’t be enough. If one council receives funds to deliver safe active transport routes, but the neighbouring one doesn’t, travellers may be dumped into busy traffic. This will deter people from using active transport.
How Riders Can Help
“NSW needs a planned approach, connected journeys and safe rideable alternatives to road and public transport congestion,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“More than ever, NSW needs those of us who can, to switch more journeys to bike riding so we can all stay COVID safe as we return to work, education and more normal lives,” said Bastien.
If there’s an obstacle that’s stopping you from completing your journey, you can help by showing people what the problem is. Take a picture, tag the council, Transport for NSW, NSW Road Safety and #BikeThroughCorona