As of 5 November 2020 England, but not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland are governed by new coronavirus restrictions.
The law relating to these restrictions is contained only within an Act of Parliament or regulations made pursuant to the authority of Parliament. You must distinguish between advice, which may be wise, and law.
For example, the government advises that we take exercise every day and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables. Good advice, I’m sure, but if you do not eat five portions of vegetables the police cannot come round and arrest you, nor can the magistrates fine you.
Therefore I concentrate on the actual regulations which are easy enough to find on the Internet.
The relevant parts to us as motorcyclists are Paragraphs five, six and seven. I have Paragraphs 5 and 6 on my phone because this information has not necessarily filtered down to beat officers, or it would seem senior police officers.
Paragraph five says that no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse, and paragraph six says what reasonable excuses are. The relevant section for us is part 6D which says that you can visit a public outdoor place for purposes of open-air recreation either alone or with one other person. Recreation does not mean exercise, and motorcycling is certainly a recreation.
However if you ride with two mates then you are in breach of these rules. The rules does mean that if, for example, you ride with your live in partner, you cannot ride with somebody outside of your household group. You cannot ride in more than a pair. There are certain other exemptions involving contact with children or taking children for exercise, but they are quite specific. If you think the circumstances might apply to you, you need to get the regulations out and look for yourself.
Part seven is the general restriction which forbids two or more persons being together in a public outdoor place.
Part nine states that you may not participate in a gathering which takes place in a public outdoor place and consists of more than two people, so, for example if you were to congregate at an unofficial bike stop you would be breaking the law. If you were to congregate in groups of more than two outside a biker’s café you would be breaking the law.
Counter service is unlawful, but the reality is that most café’s, if they wish to continue trading, will have some form of basic ordering system, even if it means you sending a text with your order as you are directly in front of the café. That complies with the law. I would therefore expect known meeting places for motorcyclists to be receiving at least some police attention.
So in short, under lockdown rules you can ride alone or with one other person. Be careful as to gathering outside cafés. Otherwise, you are free to ride and I certainly will continue riding both for work and for fun during the November 2020 lockdown.