NEMBA COVID Guidance for Individual and Group Rides

Thursday, June 11, 2020

NEMBA Guidance for Individual and Group Rides as of 6/11/2020

Out of an abundance of caution NEMBA put a hold on Trail Care days, Group Rides and face-to-face meetings as the Covid-19 Pandemic escalated.

Now, as state governments are beginning to ease stay-at-home orders it is appropriate to cautiously begin the return to normalcy.

Nearly every week one or more of the New England States changes their recommendations and guidelines. Their overriding concern, of course, is safety. That by far surpasses any other concerns.

As each state has its own policy, NEMBA’s policies must be flexible. Our policies must follow at least the minimum guidelines set by each state. But since these guidelines are often incomplete and vary in their directives, we have developed some parameters of our own that we believe support the limited, cautious resumption of group rides. Please help support the health and safety of all riders (and other trail users) by using these practices! 

NEMBA Recommendations for Individual, Family Rides

  • Follow all the requirements of your local governments (State, City or Town) and requirements of the property where you wish to ride.
     
  • Best practice is still to ride with members of your household.  Non-household Group rides are now permitted in all New England states though. (see below). The permitted size of those groups varies.  We recommend group sizes of 10 people or less which is a common requirement in many riding areas to reduce interruption to other trail users and keep groups safe and fun.
     
  • Maintain at least 4 full bike lengths between each rider to ensure physical distancing (at least 35’ - the greater the distance the better), except for family members. The standard 6' social distance may not ensure safety when riding behind another rider for long periods of time.  We recommend many times that distance, as far as practicable.
     
  • Ride with a mask or buff at the ready so that you can quickly put it on if you come across other trail users in an area where you can’t maintain a social distance of at least 6’. Or better yet, leave it on.  Remember that the mask is primarily a courtesy to others - it is a source control measure limiting what you may spread via exhalation as well as some protection to you.
     
  • Exaggerate your courtesy to other trail users.  When encountering other trail users, slow down or stop and move off the trail to provide room for people to pass and maintain social distance.  This is a time when nobody should assume a “right of way”.
     
  • Do not linger in groups before or after rides.  We will all get our “social” on when this thing is over.
     
  • Don’t overcrowd any one riding area.  If a riding area is busy, find an alternate time to ride or location but plan to stay close to home. There are state-by-state restrictions on traveling across state lines so stay local!
     
  • Respect parking regulations.  Parking has become a large pain point at many riding areas. If a parking area is full, find another legal place to park.

NEMBA Recommendations for NEMBA Group Rides.

There is a lot of desire for people to go riding together. But there are also a lot more people out on the trails. For now, large group rides with people meeting in a parking lot, signing in and then breaking up into large groups to ride is not appropriate. Nor is the traditional post-ride parking lot party/hangout. We must all strive to be an integral part of the new Covid-19 trail community and support good public-health practices. We cannot afford to be seen as a trail user group that disregards the health and well-being of others.

NEMBA chapters and individuals who want to host NEMBA rides must implement the following guidelines. They do not conflict with any state policies. They are conservative and emphasize safety. Not only for the people riding, but for everyone else out on the trails. 

  • NEMBA Group Rides are limited to a maximum of 10 participants total (ride guides + riders <= 10). Less is better.
     
  • On-line pre-registration sign up is required. No “drop-in, just show up” rides at this time.
     
  • Attendees must have completed a COVID symptoms health screening questionnaire.
     
  • Riders not feeling well or exhibiting any symptoms are not allowed.
     
  • NEMBA Group Rides should originate from non-crowded parking areas or at places without crowds. Practice social distancing pre- and post-ride!
     
  • All participants must wear masks or buffs when within 15’ of anyone else. The ride leaders must have spares available.
     
  • Do not closely follow the person in front of you unless they are family members - maintain at least 4 full bike lengths between each rider to ensure physical distancing (at least 35’ - the greater the distance the better). The standard 6' social distance may not ensure safety when riding behind another rider for long periods of time.  We recommend many times that distance, as far as practicable.
  •  
  • Attendees must not travel across state lines to attend a ride until state guidelines have changed.
     
  • Riders must yield the right of way to other trail users. Even if that means stopping and letting them go by.
     
  • Do not linger in groups before or after rides.  We will all get our “social” on when this thing is over.
     
  • Don’t overcrowd any one riding area.  If a riding area is busy, find an alternate time to ride or location but plan to stay close to home. There are state-by-state restrictions on traveling across state lines so stay local!
     
  • Respect parking regulations.  Parking has become a large pain point at many riding areas. If a parking area is full, find another legal place to park.