Switzerland, March 30th 2020 – WBIA and its member associations call upon governments worldwide to allow bicycle repair services to continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis, provided that all necessary health precautions are respected.
The World Bicycle Industry Association WBIA representing Bicycle, E-Bike, Parts & Accessories Industries worldwide believes that in the context of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, the use of bicycles and pedal-assisted e–bikes – always with total respect for official public health protection rules – should be encouraged.
On bicycles, people keep the required distance for avoiding infections. They are also much less likely to touch potentially contaminated objects in public space. To minimise the risk of infection, German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn therefore mentioned cycling to work as one of his recommendations to the population. On a more general note, regular physical activity like cycling helps to keep the cardiovascular system and the lungs healthy, preventing diseases and protecting the body from infections. Therefore, it is important that people can continue cycling throughout the crisis and are able to find help in case they need to have their bike repaired.
Fortunately, in most countries, the continued practice of cycling for necessary trips like going to work or grocery shopping is safeguarded because, bicycle repair shops can continue their operations even under the strict “lockdown” rules. However, in some countries bicycle repair shops are not allowed to open, even when they could do so in a way that minimises risks of infection.
Erhard Büchel, CONEBI and WBIA President: “Bicycle repair shops provide a basic service to the population and allow for risk-minimising mobility to continue where it is most necessary. Therefore, I deem they would need to stay open during these difficult times, of course in a way that protects the health both of employees and customers.”
Bicycle Association Japan stated: “Now the world is facing a terrible spread of the Coronavirus, times are uncertain affecting our families, friends, customers and everybody around us. Under these uncertain circumstances and with all respect for the public health protection guidelines, BAJ would like to continue promoting the use of bicycles as a sustainable and healthy alternative to other motorized methods of transportation and commuting. Cycling minimizes the risk of infections and is healthy for the human body.”
People for Bikes’ President Tim Blumenthal: “People For Bikes recognizes the unprecedented challenge local, state and federal governments face in managing the spread of COVID-19. Our organization is working to support the bicycle industry in this difficult time by asking governments to consider every bike shop as an “essential business” and to allow bicycling, for transportation or recreation, to continue where appropriate. These decisions will provide many levels of economic relief to businesses. We are encouraged by the number of news stories we’ve read that address the increasingly significant and positive role bikes are playing in our daily lives. Many people are newly discovering how bikes are a great way to get where you need to go and also a wonderful form of recreation. As this occurs, we are doing everything we can to support all riders as well as bike businesses of all sizes and kinds.”
All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association (AICMA): “We support allowing bicycle repair services to continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis while taking into account the measures put in place by the Indian government. Considering India’s demography, its bicycle usage by millions of underprivileged classes and the current priority to prevent and protect them from COVID-19 having access to bike repair shops is crucial.
The Russian Association for the Development of the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry (NADBM)explains: “Due to the epidemic situation Moscow decided to start the bike sharing season one month earlier than in the previous years. Based on the experience of other cities worldwide, the availability of bicycles reduces the number of passengers on public transport. Taken the epidemiological situation in consideration, this year bike sharing is more important than ever. In addition, operatorswill treat bikes with disinfectants and users are also advised to wipe the seat and handlebar with sanitizers.”
European politicians Alessandra Moretti (Italy) and Ismail Ertug (Germany) agree with this proposition:
“First of all, we would like to say that we are deeply sympathetic to all those who have contracted the virus, and their families. We want to be close to them and we admire the work of doctors and nurses across Europe who are providing a courageous service of vital importance to the public health of millions of European citizens.
While fully respecting the different national travel laws in the Member States of the European Union, we believe that mobility for proven work and need should be addressed – where possible – in ways that allow for greater social distancing such as walking and cycling, noting that public transport presents some additional risks. For this reason, bicycle repair shops, with the necessary and appropriate health precautions, should be able to remain open to allow everyone to ride safely, thus favouring less risk of infection”.
All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association (AICMA), India, Asia
Bicycle Association Japan (BAJ), Japan, Asia
Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), Belgium, Europe
Mexican Association of Bicycle Manufacturers, A.C. (ANAFABI), Mexico, North America
People for Bikes (PFB), USA, North America
Russian Association for the Development of the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry (NADBM), Russia, Asia
Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA), Taiwan, Republic of China, Asia