Can You Ride An Electric Trike And Maintain Social Distance?

It seems that right now there is only one conversation on everyone’s mind.  The new “normal” of isolation and social distancing and how it has affected our daily lives. The added uncertainty of when it will pass is unsettling for many. 

We are all being asked to do something that doesn’t come naturally as we are, by design, social beings. To separate ourselves from our friends, family and neighbours is difficult and intrinsically awkward and the result can, to varying degrees, be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. It is important therefore, to develop habits and patterns that promote personal growth in this evolving new world.

Canadian Governments are working hard to deal with the pandemic and are making decisions they assess as responsible, according to the constantly changing data. On a Provincial and to an extent, regional basis Covid-19 has had a differing impact.  Rules have been set and restrictions established to best reflect what is happening locally. At eTrikes Canada, we support all efforts to keep Canadians safe during these challenging times and endorse best practices for your local community.

Follow local quarantine rules and regulations

At first glance around your local neighbourhood it may look like business as usual. Kids are out riding their bikes, playing in parks or just out getting some fresh air in surprising numbers. British Columbia’s health officer, while encouraging people to get outside and get some fresh air, states that if people don’t start following voluntary directives around staying at home and social distancing, more restrictive measures around self isolation may be imposed.

“This is not business as usual,” she commented in a daily briefing. She addressed the importance for people to follow the guidelines on social distancing and not gather in groups. 

Is it OK to ride when self isolating?

Despite different local restrictions it appears there is a consensus that getting outside for exercise, sunshine and fresh air is supported. Taking the dog for a walk, spending time in the garden or riding your electric trike are activities that most health professionals are acknowledging as healthy and beneficial. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to leave your e-trike parked in the garage, it just means that you should take extra precautions when you are out for a ride on your electric trike for adults. New research is suggesting that while physical distancing of two meters is adequate for people who are standing still, larger distance between people could be required when running, walking or cycling.

These researchers suggest that saliva particles can under some circumstances travel quite a distance past the guidelines on range for physical distancing via slipstreams, which are created when a moving person body draws in the surrounding air along behind and around them.

When someone who is riding on an e-bike or e-trike, running or walking sneezes, coughs or simply exhales, a large proportion of the saliva droplets are pulled in along behind the rider in the slipstream. Anyone who is riding or walking behind someone that moves into their slipstream is then exposed to those droplets.

Extra social distancing while riding

To limit your exposure and avoid the chance of riding through someone else’s slipstream it is recommended that you should keep at least 20m distance between you and the rider or person in front of you. 

The study suggests that when people are walking (one behind the other) a 5-meter gap is required, when running, the appropriate distance is 10-meters and when riding fast on a bike or electric bike or electric trike, then as much as 20-meters is required and recommended for additional safety. This study is preliminary, and more work needs to be done before it can be considered conclusive. This research is new and not yet peer reviewed by independent experts  and BC’s Health Officer. Nevertheless, it is worthy of our attention.

Whereas a 2-meter separation may suffice when two people are standing still, a “slipstream” effect may be activated when people are moving. Electric bikes and electric trikes tend to be ridden at a faster pace than non powered bicycles. When you buy an electric trike during this time of social distancing be aware that your bike route and riding partners may need extra consideration and planning. 

Once these decisions have been carefully and responsibly made, you may very quickly discover that riding your e-trike becomes the highlight of your day. If you must go shopping for essential supplies, plan to go on your electric trike. Rather than going from inside your house, then inside your car, take your trike instead. You’ll benefit from some much-needed fresh air and exercise and your electric trike has ample cargo carrying capacity and rack space for your groceries and other shopping.

Electric trike instead of a second car?

The other major impact of the pandemic lock-down is the financial blow that many are feeling by not being able to work or as a result of businesses closing. With a lot of uncertainty as to the duration of the economic slowdown, many are wondering how they will pay their bills and continue to live in the fashion that they are used to. With a decrease in income comes a need for prioritizing expenses. Following a house mortgage, many Canadians would list their automobiles as their next highest monthly expense. Despite gas prices being the lowest we have seen in recent times, car payments, insurance and maintenance costs still make the family car (or cars) an expensive item. While some may argue that they can’t do without their car regardless of cost the question can still be posed: What about your second car? By replacing a second car with an electric trike, the average family could save between $26,000 and $39,000 over three years. To read more about the cost savings attached to owning an eTrike, click here

The great advantage of an e-trike over a traditional bicycle or e-bike is the practicality of cargo space and stability. If you have made the decision to reduce your expenses and environmental impact by getting rid of your second car you will want to replace it with the best alternative to meet your transportation needs. You can indeed, do your weekly grocery shop on a traditional two wheel bike providing you can carry your purchases home in a backpack, adding saddle bags or by towing a trailer. It is far simpler and  more convenient to stow your shopping in the rear cargo basket of your electric trike. Remember if you live in BC and you do plan on swapping your gas powered car for an eco friendly electric trike you may qualify for the BC Scrap-it program that could see you receiving up to $850 towards your brand new electric trike through eTrikes Canada.

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