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From the Feds: Bike repair is essential

Update: This webinar was held on March 31st and can be viewed through GotoWebinar on-demand or Youtube.

Download a “While you Wait” flyer to display for customers

Since states and local jurisdictions began recommending or ordering non-essential businesses to close, there has been confusion in some places whether bike shops were officially “essential” businesses that could stay open. The League had been advising bike advocates that federal guidance which indicated “employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers” should cover bike shops. But a specific call out in the guidance would help make our case more clearly. So I asked them on Twitter. And the League emailed our request. And on March 28, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency updated its guidance on the essential workforce to include:

  • “Employees supporting personal and commercial transportation services – including taxis, delivery services, vehicle rental services, bicycle maintenance and car-sharing services, and transportation network providers;” and
  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, bicycles, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.”

Last week, many states issued stay at home orders that closed non-essential businesses for the time being. In the vast majority of states, bike shops and bicycle repair businesses were specifically listed as what we know them to be: essential. In several states, and by some local orders, bike shops were not specifically listed as essential and there has been confusion about whether they are allowed to operate.

At the League of American Bicyclists, we know bicycling is essential and bicycle repair is an essential service to support bicycling. Communities are seeing surges in cycling as people look for safe and healthy ways to remain active while social distancing, and  as people look for low cost ways to get around. It is important that people can have safe and working bicycles during this time.

We had a great group of speakers including:

  • Pete Piccolo from Bicycle Colorado, who successfully amended their state’s order to say the bicycle repair is essential.
  • Galen Mook from MassBike, who is currently working to bring additional clarity to Massachusetts’s order, but has already clarified that local communities can deem bicycle repair as essential.
  • Representatives from bicycle retailer Landry’s Bicycles, who have been working to stay open and provide essential services to those who use bicycles as transportation.
  • PeopleForBikes who are working with the bicycle industry on this and other issues. They have an excellent spreadsheet of state orders affecting bicycling and numerous resources on industry efforts.

We hope that this webinar helps advocates in states that have not yet issued stay at home orders and places where it may not be clear whether bicycle repair is an essential business.

The League hopes that you are safe and doing well in this time of crisis. If you are able to, please support your local bike shop and other people, organizations, and businesses that are important to you and your community during this time.

Bicycle shops may be interested in joining discussions on the National Bicycle Dealer’s Association forum and QBP’s private facebook group about how shops are staying safe and staying open.

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