With freedom comes responsibility, so stop being selfish.
That’s the adapted message from two of South Africa’s leading cycling organisations, the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Cape Town Cycle Tour , as they urged cyclists to wear masks to avoid being “disrespectful” and exacerbating the battle to limit transmission.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the two organisations noted a “clear lack of discipline amongst cyclists and other people out exercising” during the current 6am to 9am window for outdoor fitness activities.
“The Covid-19 regulations are clear and require everybody to wear a mask when leaving your home – or face a fine for being in contravention”, said Rens Rezelman, PPA’s chair.
“Let us not be part of the problem but part of the solution and ensure that we can keep riding by adhering to the government regulations.”
The organisations cited a recent Belgian study that concluded cyclists riding without face coverage still pose a risk as exhaled droplets can be transmitted to others via the slipstream of a rider.
“It’s well established that masks and buffs significantly reduce the potential for wider transmission of respiratory droplets, particularly during vigorous exercise requiring deep exhalation,” said Andrew Baxter, chief of the CT Cycle Tour.
“By disregarding the health and well-being of others, and themselves, cyclists run the risk not only of accelerating transmission but also of being labeled as irresponsible and disrespectful. Also only covering your mouth and not your nose is as bad as not wearing a mask at all.”
Renzelman also expressed his concern that widespread abuse of lockdown regulations could see cyclists’ movement becoming restricted again.
“We all are enjoying the bit of freedom to go out and ride for a couple of hours every morning and it will be incredibly selfish if this privilege is withdrawn due to cyclists not adhering to wearing a mask when out riding or travelling outside of the 5km radius from their home.”