Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Cycling organisation bosses have warned local cyclists to wear masks during the morning exercise window or run the risk of increasing infection rates and even possibly getting barred from using their bikes.

Reacting to reports that many cyclists are disregarding the regulations‚ the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and the Cape Town Cycle Tour said in a joint statement that many cyclists are failing to wear masks‚ or are not using them properly.

The statement cited a Belgian aerodynamic study that shows exhaled droplets remain suspended in a cyclist’s slipstream.

“By disregarding the health and wellbeing of others‚ and themselves‚ cyclists run the risk of not only accelerating transmission but also being labelled as irresponsible and disrespectful‚” said Andrew Baxter‚ the Cycle Tour’s CEO.

“Also, only covering your mouth and not your nose is as bad as not wearing a mask at all. It’s well established that masks and buffs significantly reduce the potential for wider transmission of respiratory droplets‚ particularly vigorous exercise requiring deep exhalation‚” Baxter added.

PPA chair Rens Rezelman reminded cyclists that they could be fined for not wearing a mask.

“The fact that this virus spreads easily between people‚ even before they know they have it‚ is part of the reason it has become so hard to control. Hence‚ the reason for making masks compulsory when outside your home to prevent passing the virus along.

“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freedom to go out and ride for a couple of hours every morning and it will be incredibly selfish if this privilege is withdrawn due to cyclists not adhering to wearing a mask when out riding or travelling outside the 5km radius from their home‚” said Rezelman.