CHCAGO — The Active Transportation Alliance has released new guidelines for how to go for a walk or bike ride safely, without catching coronavirus or spreading it to others.
The group created the new guidelines and accompanying infographic in partnership with the Cook County Department of Public Health to respond to the growing uncertainty on how to navigate streets, sidewalks and trails as residents leave their homes for fresh air or to run errands.
“We’re trying to get this out to as many people as possible. It seems like people are looking for more explicit instructions on how do I walk and bike safely,” said Maggie Melin, an advocacy manager at the Active Transportation Alliance.
Here are the guidelines for walking and biking safely during the stay at home order:
• Stay home unless you need to go out. People should make every effort to stay at home as much as possible, except for essentials like groceries and getting exercise. “If you do need to go out, go by yourself or with members of your household,” Melin said.
• Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. If you’re traveling down a narrow or busy sidewalk, go out of your way to keep distance, being mindful that the person you are approaching, like a mom with a stroller or someone with a disability might not have the flexibility to move out of your way.
• Avoid busy areas if possible. If a sidewalk is particularly crowded, you should cross the street or turn around and take an alternative route. “You might need to wait, or move out of the way when others are approaching you. That’s something people may not be thinking about,” Melin said.
• Wear a cloth mask. Anytime you are walking or biking within six feet of others, you should wear a mask.
• Don’t travel in packs. Don’t meet with friends to go on socially-distant walks or bike rides with friends and neighbors, even if you can maintain a safe distance.
• Go outside in off-peak hours when possible. This helps keep sidewalks and other public spaces from being crowded during busy times so essential workers can travel to and from work safely, Melin said.
• Disinfect your Divvy. Since the city has pushed Divvy bike-sharing as an alternative to public transit, bikers should remember to wipe bike handles with disinfectant if possible and wash their hands, avoid touching the face, and use hand sanitizer after biking.
The guidelines will be translated into multiple languages in the coming weeks. The infographic will be shared with transportation partners, public health organizations and local aldermen across the city.
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.
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