Brussels, 20 March 2020 – CONEBI and ECF call upon all EU Member States to allow bicycle repair services to continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis, provided that all necessary health precautions are respected.
The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry CONEBI and the European Cyclists’ Federation ECF, representing bicycle users in all EU Member States, believe that in the context of the rampant spread of COVID-19 in Europe, the use of bicycles and pedal-assisted e-bikes – always with total respect for official public health protection rules – should be encouraged.
Morten Kabell, co-CEO of ECF, states: “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 EU Member States, 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 Member States bicycle repair shops are not allowed to open, even when they could do so in a way that minimises risks of infection.
Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI: “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.”
The S&D Group MEPs Alessandra Moretti (Italy, ENVI Committee on Health and Environment) and Ismail Ertug (Germany, TRAN Transport Committee) agree with this position:
“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”.