Safely restarting from the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
by George Tranos
Prospective riders have been justifiably frustrated by the lack of motorcycle training available during the Coronavirus pandemic. In early March 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo closed all nonessential businesses and issued a stay-home order. This order remains in effect as of this writing (May 22, 2020). We have now restarted training (as of June 6).
Existing riders also have faced the tough decision of whether or not to ride during the pandemic. At the height of the virus infection, many motorcyclists did not want to possibly add additional stress to an already overburdened medical system or take the risk of become infected themselves. Social distancing has become the norm.
As we slowly come out of this crisis, there are guidelines for reopening businesses and easing the stay at home restrictions. Once each region meets the standards needed for reopening, more and more people will try to return to some semblance of normality.
There will be more motorcycles on the road, people will begin to travel again, restaurants will reopen (possibly only with outdoors or limited seating at first) and life as we know it will start to look familiar. The same is true with motorcycle training. Schools such as ours will reopen but there will be changes to adapt to the new normal.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has issued some interim guidelines to assist schools. We intend to follow these guidelines. We intend to do this to make our training environment as safe as possible and allow classes to begin sooner.
Simple safeguards will be enacted – we will require students to bring their own helmets and gloves with them to class. This will minimize possible contact with the virus. We will require students to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. During the riding segment, riders without full face helmets will have to use masks and we will attempt to maintain 6 feet of separation between riders when not riding.
The classroom segment will be changed and in the interim will be shorter and there will be less interaction between students than previously. Some of the group activities have been changed to individual activities and some have been eliminated entirely. Classroom size has been drastically reduced to allow social distancing.
We ask your patience and understanding during our initial reopening and during the transitional period. We will do all we can to try to keep everyone as safe as possible. There is risk in everything we do. Riding a motorcycle is a risk and we must recognize and accept the risk and do what we can to minimize it. The same is true with safeguards to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
We look forward to beginning our season and returning to help students achieve their goals. After all, our mission is to help people learn to ride and to improve their skills. Welcome to the new normal!