The statement follows an open letter from public health and transport researchers, which yesterday called on the Government to support safe walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerns have been raised after Italy and Spain banned leisure cycling earlier this month. The industry as a whole believes IBDs should be exempt from any potential shop opening restrictions due to their “strategic role to play” in mitigating the potential restrictive impacts on people’s day-to-day lives.
The BA statement read: “In the extraordinary current circumstances, bicycles and cycling will play a key role in maintaining local transport resilience in the UK, and for the population to maintain fitness and wellbeing without risking the health of others. The risk of infection when cycling at a good distance from others is very low.
“For those who must still commute, or for shopping trips, cycling is a lower-risk option than using public transport, where social distancing may be hard to maintain.
“Furthermore, cargo bikes, and in fact, any bike adapted to carry luggage, are a vital tool for resilient last-mile deliveries, particularly of food. Cycle use can be ramped up fast, at low cost, for example for food outlets moving to a delivery model.
All of this essential cycle use depends on a reliable infrastructure of local bike shops, and their supply chains, to keep bicycles working and in good repair, and to provide the accessories needed to cycle safely and in all weathers.
“For this reason, we urge the Government to recognise that the cycle industry is a strategic industry, especially during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Government must ensure that lockdown policy measures recognise and safeguard the cycle industry’s continued operation as a strategic part of UK transport resilience.”