David Clark drove 2.3km to ride 6km mountain bike trail called The Big Easy
David Clark drove 2.3km to ride 6km mountain bike trail called The Big Easy, contravening his own government’s Coronavirus lockdown advice.
New Zealand has been in a state of lockdown, similar to the current one in place inthe UK, for around one week. The official advice for New Zelanders is to only exercise from their front door and motor vehicles should only be used for essential shopping and medical trips.
The news of Mr Clark’s transgression has broke out of New Zealand and into international press. You could say it’s gone viral in fact.
Mr Clark’s van was photographed by a member of the public parked up at Signal Hill Lookout, adjacent to a 6km long mountain bike trail called the Big Easy. Mr Clark’s van is apparently not easy to miss; it has his face on it.
Quoted in the Evening Standard, Mr Clark has said: “As health minister I try to model healthy behaviour and this afternoon I decided to fit in bike ride between video-conference meetings […] This was my only chance to get out for some exercise in daylight hours.
“I know that now is not the time for people to be engaging in higher-risk exercise activities […] I don’t want to give anyone the perception that I take these matters lightly.
“This is a reminder to me to think carefully about how best to fit some exercise into my new-normal routine.”
MBR’s position on cycling during coronavirus crisis:
Cycling is being permitted, but abusing this freedom will likely get it taken away, and looking for loopholes in the advice to go mountain biking – even if you have trails from your back door – is irresponsible. The government advice is clear – STAY AT HOME. Limiting your time outside the house is key to restricting the spread of the virus. If you go out on your bike, do it sensibly for health and wellbeing.
Do not ride with anyone else, apart from a maximum of one other person who you isolating with at home.
Do not drive to your cycling destination. Ride from your house.
The government has advised on the importance of exercise, and the options are limited while taking into account the need to reduce social contact.
The stress of the current situation and the demands of social distancing will put additional strain on individuals’ mental well-being, and cycling is known to be beneficial in this regard.
Cyclists should adhere to the guidelines in place, including respecting social distancing and avoiding cafes/restaurants. Therefore you should be self-sufficient in terms of food, drink and tools to fix common roadside problems. You should also carry tissues, and dispose of them properly after their ride.
The above only covers the general populace who are being asked to limit social contact. Anyone who needs to self-isolate – for example if they or someone they live with is showing symptoms – should not be cycling (or indeed outside of their house at all).
If in doubt, don’t go out.