At a glance:
- Residents of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are required to wear a mask or face cover when leaving their homes
- From 11:59pm Sunday 2 August 2020 all Victorians will need to wear a mask or face cover
- Bicycle Network is recommending that all bike riders wear masks or face coverings when near other people.
- If it is impractical to wear a mask or face covering while riding, you must still carry one with you when on a ride.
There are exceptions to mask and face cover rules for people riding bikes, however you always need to carry one and should cover up when possible.
As of 11.59pm, Wednesday 22 July, masks and face covers will be mandatory to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) when you leave your home for one of the four permissible reasons.
While you do not always have to have your mask or face cover on when riding your bike, you do need to always carry one, and Bicycle Network recommends covering up as much as possible, particularly when near other people.
You should wear a mask when riding at a lower intensity and you can easily breath through a mask, or cover and anytime you stop for a rest.
One time when you shouldn’t have to wear a mask is when you're riding up a hill and there is no one else nearby.
Masks and face cover rules definitely apply to all people aged 12 years or over and may apply for children aged between two years and 12 years. Toddlers should not wear masks or face covers.
The new laws apply to anyone in the metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire Council areas.
Victoria Police will be enforcing laws and can give people $200 on-the-spot fines if they are not wearing a mask or face cover when they should be.
What mask or cover should I try?
There are lots of different options and you may not have to go out and buy something special. You just need to have something that covers your mouth and nose to limit particles going out and coming in.
One of the easiest face covers you can wear while riding a bike is a neck warmer or buff, something many people who ride during winter in Melbourne already own.
You can have this sitting around your neck while riding and pull it up over your mouth and nose to cover up. If you start riding with more intensity and need a bit more air you can slip it down.
You can also buy surgical masks, dust masks or masks with filtration systems.
Homemade masks can be good too. You can make one using old clothing and piece of elastic or a shoelace. Perhaps you have an old cycling jersey that is too tattered to wear but could be turned into a cycling mask.
Try some options if you can and use whatever works best for you.
- Click here for instructions from the Victorian government about how to make a mask.
- Click here for Bicycle Network's general advice about riding during COVID-19 restrictions
- Click here for the Victorian government's media release about mandatory masks and face covers
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.