'Selfish' cyclists told to wear their masks

12 May 2020 - 11:00
By David Isaacson
Cherise Willeit (white helmet) wins the Womens race during the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour through Cape Town ending in Green Point on March 8 2020 before Covid-19 halted all things sport.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix Cherise Willeit (white helmet) wins the Womens race during the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour through Cape Town ending in Green Point on March 8 2020 before Covid-19 halted all things sport.

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 lose the chance to use their bikes.

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

The statement cited a Belgian aerodynamic study that had shown that exhaled droplets remained suspended behind in a cyclist’s slipstream.

“By disregarding the health and well-being 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‚” added Baxter.

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freedom to go out and ride for a couple of hours every morning and it will be incredibly selfish if this privilege is withdrawn due to cyclists not adhering to wearing a mask when out riding or travelling outside of the 5km radius from their home‚” said Rezelman.