Federal Government Recognizes Bike Shops as Essential to Stay Open

April 6, 2020

For many areas of the U.S., bicycles have become the best tool to travel safely while respecting the social distancing protocols that are crucial to public health during the COVID-19 crisis.

Following a request from PeopleForBikes, the federal government has recognized that bike shops are “essential” to our nation’s transportation infrastructure as well.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) just released new guidance concerning the United States “Essential Critical Workforce Infrastructure.” The first version of this guidance said nothing about bicycles when addressing the various ways people move in this country. This guidance now explicitly recognizes “employees who repair and maintain bicycles” as part of the Transportation Sector’s Essential Critical Workforce.

CISA’s guidance serves as the foundation for the orders that state and local governments are currently imposing closing “non-essential businesses.” Some state and local orders have specifically cited this guidance.

The Federal Government’s explicit recognition of bicycle service and maintenance as critical to the U.S. transportation sector should make it significantly easier to have bicycle businesses recognized in those state and local orders that currently do not address them. It is critical to note that the federal guidance document does not change any state or local laws, unless they have specifically adopted it. The state or local government that has issued a closure order controls whether your business can stay open. However, most jurisdictions are examining, and adding to, their lists of essential businesses on a regular basis.

This crisis requires concerted action from everyone to stem the spread of COVID-19. As an activity and business that have been permitted to continue in most places, we have particular responsibilities to support this public health effort. Bike riders and businesses can do their part to promote this effort:

  1. Make sure your business is following social distancing and sanitation best practices. The Centers for Disease Control has released guidance to help businesses. Also, review applicable state and local orders. For example, your state or city may have restrictions on the number of people that may be permitted in your business at one time.
  2. Ride conservatively and don’t take unnecessary risks. There is no need to rush through an intersection, exceed the speed limit on a road or bike path, or try aggressive descents where there is an elevated chance of crashing, incurring a serious injury and putting additional strain on the health care system.
  3. Follow social distancing protocols (six feet of separation) and restrictions on gatherings. Group rides will resume in the future. Now is the time to follow the advice of public health experts and maintain our distance.

We know this is a difficult time for all bike businesses. You are best equipped to gauge the best interests of your company, your employees, your customers and your community as you decide whether your business should remain open.

Check our PeopleForBikes COVID-19 resource page for other information to help you during this difficult time.