Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Forums Friday: Please cover your faces. Please

Posted by on April 17th, 2020 at 2:05 pm

A bit of fog on my lenses during a ride in Forest Park early this morning.

Welcome to the first edition of Forums Friday, a new thing we’re doing to highlight notable posts from the BikePortland Forums (you should grab a log-in and join us!).

We know. It’s a bummer. Wearing a mask while riding a bike isn’t great — especially when it’s above 50-degrees. They cause glasses to fog up, they make you breathe your own warm breathe, they fill with sweat and snot, they make it impossible to eat and drink on-the-fly.

But they also might save your life or the life another person. And you should be wearing one.

As we adjust to this new normal, I felt the post from Forum member “amandaSEPDX” deserved more attention. Here’s (a slightly edited version of) what she posted:

Please cover your faces. Please

Dear Fellow Bike Portland People,

Can we talk about all the cyclists out and about not wearing face-coverings?

Look, I don’t want to breathe my own hot breath on a bike ride anymore than the rest of you all do… but my husband and I have been pretty appalled by what we’re seeing on the daily.

Maybe 2 in 100 cyclists are covering their mouths/noses.

Can we please agree to do better?

Advertisement

I get it… I really do… it’s gonna mess up your Strava time or whatever.

It’s not fun.

I do not like it either.

But cover your faces up please.

You feel fine. I know you do. I do too. But that doesn’t mean we’re not capable of putting other people in danger. In fact, when you’re still feeling ok is when you’re most likely to spread the COVID funk about. So grab a bandanna. I know you have like four laying around at least because they all come out for the naked ride!

…Not giving a shit about keeping our germs contained during a global pandemic is hypocritical, especially when cyclists are quick to cite the importance of environment, community, and health values around biking.

People are quick to think of cyclist as self-important jerks. I know we’re not. So let’s do better.

Stay safe out there,

–Amanda
SE Portland

Read and reply to Amanda’s full post in the Forums. If you want to read more about wearing masks while you ride, this NY Times article has clear and concise information.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

78
Leave a Reply

avatar
26 Comment threads
52 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
44 Comment authors
rickBillShimran GeorgeacGlowBoy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
dan
Guest
dan

Ugh. I mean…she has a point. But of course, it is really unpleasant and I can do a road ride and only come across 5 other cyclists in 2 hours. Say I had a mask in a jersey pocket and put it on when other cyclists/pedestrians are in sight, does that achieve the goal? Of course, I’d have to check my six more often than usual, but that seems like a good tradeoff to not wear a mask the whole ride.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Please show me evidence that bicycling outside solo without a mask and keeping 6 feet from other bikes and pedestrians is risky to anyone. Be careful in grocery stores and indoor places. Don’t stand next to people outside, but don’t worry too much about riding outside by yourself.

https://www.wired.com/story/are-running-or-cycling-actually-risks-for-spreading-covid-19/

https://news.yahoo.com/sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-very-quickly-new-government-tests-find-but-experts-say-pandemic-could-still-last-through-summer-200745675.html

I'll Show Up
Guest
I'll Show Up
Rich
Guest
Rich

The general guidance from authorities is that if you can’t maintain social distancing (regardless of the activity) you should wear a mask or some form of face covering. It would follow that if you are riding alone, away from others, a mask would not be necessary. If you are riding in heavily populated areas where social distancing cannot be maintained, cover your face holes.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I am pretty special and my comfort is more important to me than the health and security of others. Also I have read reports on Breitbart and Fox that claim masks don’t protect me (only others) and that the pandemic is a hoax. Those are adequate excuses tor me to ignore CDC recommendations and the Governor’s directive. /s

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Don’t like the forum’s password requirements. Had to use something I’ll have trouble remembering.

miss_me_with_that
Guest
miss_me_with_that

There is a lot of conjecture in Amanda’s post. Amanda and Amanda’s husband are entitled to feel appalled seeing people not wear masks. Your feeling is valid, sure. It is a weird time and we are not used to seeing people wear masks in our culture. Amanda is entitled to throw shade at strava users too. Sure.

But the evidence is not there that masks are doing anything during a bike ride. The CDC says it “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

It feels like a stretch to shame people for not biking with a mask if they are keeping their distance, avoiding crowds, being mindful not to spit and blow snot rockets, touch things along the ride, etc.

ERETRIA
Guest
ERETRIA

I always wear a mask on my face, I am so used to having my nose down covered I would feel weird and naked otherwise

I have to wear glasses, so coola** goggles are not an option, sad

my problem is that pedestrians are ALL OVER the place now, bobbing and weaving in and out of the roadway against the flow of traffic, which is especially dicey in protected bikelanes where I am trapped between them, the curb, and the cars parked to my immediate left. It is super bad on NW Front between 9th and 18th Ave!! sooooo sketchy and unpredictable.

I have given up on using any protected/wanded lanes now, since I am done being trapped/forced to breathe the runner/jogger spitty air.

Back to taking the road and slowing down cars, just like the good ol’ days!!

Greg
Guest
Greg

The study/simulation [linked above] have not been published or peer reviewed.
That said, the data there seem to match what one might reasonably think might be true, just based on common sense.

However, it’s really very theoretical. If you have 5-6 riders all riding along, drafting each other, then the risk is obviously likely to be, relatively, quite high.

If you’re mostly riding alone, but pass someone fairly quickly (with some lateral separation), and put 20-30 feet between you quickly, then I think the calculus is *very* different.

So, I think making dramatic statements about it _always_ being a terrible choice not to wear a face covering when outside riding seems a little far out on the limb. [At least *I* wouldn’t make those kinds of statements.]

I can’t control what others think and say, but it seems a bit over the top to semi-shame people for not wearing a face covering when they’re biking.

If you are in places where there are quite a number of riders, then you should probably consider riding elsewhere [IMO simply not being close to other people is far more protective than a face covering!] and if that’s not possible (say you’re commuting and no other reasonable route works) then a face covering is probably next best.

Matt B
Guest
Matt B

A 4,000 lbs steel box is still a bigger threat to me then a cyclist/jogger/pedestrian without a mask. Close, dense constant contact is the greatest risk of spreading COVID-19, so the risk of getting it passing someone outside is fairly low. My recommendation would be if you feel the risk is too great to be outside with those without a mask you are free to stay indoors. Just as I accept the risk of riding on roads with traffic, I’ll accept the risk of riding by folks without masks, and I will not be judging, because I will be one of those without a mask.

Scott
Subscriber
Scott

I have so far resisted responding to calls to ride with masks, but can’t resist any longer. I strongly believe that wearing masks while cycling or running outdoors is irrational.
I in no way deny the seriousness of this disease. I have a very strong stake in limiting the spread of infection. I am Internal Medicine hospitalist who is admitting and taking care of patients with COVID-19. I also have master’s level training in biostatistics and epidemiology. I am not claiming to be an expert in COVID-19, but I have more than layperson’s knowledge. There is a proliferation of study and scientific knowledge and it is being created faster than most can assimilate. The news is also rife with junk science and junk interpretations of basic science.

COVID-19 is spread by prolonged (30-60 minutes, to be conservative let’s say 15 minutes) exposure to some with symptoms or within 1-2 days of developing symptoms. Physical contact and close proximity conversation are the major risks. You do not get infected by transiently walking by someone. The main sources of infection are congregate living situations (such as nursing homes), household spread, and health care exposure. Even within households, the transmission rate is less than 10%, and probably less than 5%.

Under experimental conditions, droplets and aerosols can travel more than 6 feet with viral RNA detection. That doesn’t mean it is also a significant source of infection. You should take precautions when indoors. However, you are not going to become infected with transient passing of someone in the outdoors.

If you feel like you should wear a mask, you should continue to do so. However, please stop shaming others for not doing so. The science just doesn’t support it and the governor’s orders do not mandate it.

Francie
Guest
Francie

This town is full of people who are dying to tell you what to do.
You can feel their vibe from across the street. Scolds!!!

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

(Adding this line here so it will let me post because the message threading failed above)

The World Health Organization says to only wear a mask if you’re infected or are around infected people. They say to stay 3 feet away from others.

We are being advised that masks don’t help enough to warrant their use. We aren’t under order to wear them. We aren’t even under order to stay distant.

You should not be mask-shaming anybody.

Al
Guest
Al

As of today, only 4 states require wearing a mask in public: Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Without a mask I feel like I’m putting out a slow drizzle of vapor that dissipates quickly.

With my flimsy mask (it’s just a face buff) I feel that huge amounts of vapor are accumulating so that when I exhale you’ll get a super huge explosive dose of vapor (and now mucus) that’s been building up in my mask. The mask makes it harder to breathe and so you’re putting out more vapor than if you didn’t have it on.

Isn’t that worse?

Most things I’m reading say to only wear the mask when you’re around people, not when you’re just riding around. Put it on when you are at a destination.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

She sounds very authoritarian and condescending. Heading out on this beautiful day to enjoy a mask-free ride and hopefully not get steamrolled by a speeding motorist. Yay enforcement!

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Well according to experts on the internet and an informal poll conducted on a regional bicycling blog, wearing masks is for suckers.

Sigh

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

I’m curious about how we got to a place where folks are adamantly arguing WEAR A MASK WHILE BIKING IT SAVES LIVES when neither the WHO nor the CDC actually recommend that people wear masks while exercising?

If those organizations start recommending that folks wear masks while exercising, I’m happy to do so, but there’s a substantial difference between the recommendations of a credible medical authority and the opinions of some random person on an internet forum.

Zach
Guest
Zach

I took the idea DIY mask-makers are using re: a wire to help the mask fit around your nose, and hacked a buff with an unfolded paper clip and some hot glue. Works like a charm – my glasses don’t fog up anymore.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Johnny Bye Carter
aren’t even under order to stay distant.You should not be mask-shaming anybody.Recommended 3

Mask shaming? If it were body shaming or slut shaming a rebuke would be in order as those are not anyone’s business, but we are discussing diminishing risk on a global pandemic, which is everyone’s business. Talk on this blog cites rationale for doing the LEAST allowable in risk reduction as if that were a virtue to be proud of. I contend that arguing justifications for doing the least to decrease the risk to the general populace, and enforcing your high risk tolerance on others is not virtuous, but shameful.

If you are going to flout Best Practices, don’t come on a public forum and disparage their use. Slink into the shadows and exhale on others in secret and silence. To join the chorus of shame victimization, I feel proponents of mask wearing, for their compliance with recommendations, tolerance of discomfort and willingness to sacrifice small personal freedoms for societal good are being shaming shamed. The mad dog looks you will get from masked strangers is shaming that bothers you. Perhaps your sensitivity to the issue is your conscience trying to tell you something.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I found a mask very usefully for frostbite protection on the coldest winter days, and some level of air pollution protection during fire season and high PM2.5 days (needs to the right kind of mask). I’m hoping a result of widespread use will result in some innovation and better mask designs that are more comfortable.

I’m also glad this will put an end to PPDs previous ridiculous campaign to ban mask wearing in public. People have a basic human right to protect themselves from frostbite, smoke, and now viruses also if they choose to. I often need to ride around downtown protests, just trying to get home from work, and don’t want to be targeting just for wearing an air pollution or cold protection mask. Its my basic human right to wear a protective mask. You can not ban appropriate protective clothing.

Specialized masks may also be the only defense against a new wave of disruptive companies that have been compiling massive picture data bases and associated data, with the hope of selling the information to private companies looking to do cheap expanded background checks. There is already one company selling this data. The problem of course is that the software is only <85% accurate. So hopefully if you want to rent an apartment you don't happen to look like someone with a bunch of evictions. Or if you want a job, hopefully you don't look like someone who has a bunch of felonies. Same thing for loans and many other things. You will never know that they rejected you become of a incorrect face id, as they won't need to disclose it. They will just come up with some other reason to reject you.

Brian C
Guest
Brian C

I’m currently nesting in place…

dan
Guest
dan

Hello, Kitty
You’re right, which is funny because for years we were admonished for writing down passwords.Recommended 2

Yeah, I mean I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Writing down forum passwords seems reasonable, but in this day of endemic identity theft, I wouldn’t write down a password that I use at a financial institution unless I kept it in such a way that I would know if it was compromised, e.g., in a safe.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I’m not convinced masks will actually keep your droplets contained very well when you’re breathing hard. I don’t think in that situation most of the air is actually being filtered by that tightly woven cloth. Remember, we’ve been warned to keep it tight around your face when you’re in a store, because it’s easy for your breath to escape out the side when you’re just walking around.

Remember, the goal is NOT to get the transmission rate to zero: we want to eventually reach herd immunity, because we don’t really know when a vaccine may be coming. The objective here is merely to reduce the transmission rate enough that the curve flattens beneath hospital capacity (which is gradually increasing in response to the crisis).

And by all accounts we have accomplished that. We’re even talking about gradually lifting some restrictions in the near future, contingent on more widespread testing at least. I don’t think we need to be talking about imposing further restrictions beyond what we’ve already done, including a demand that everyone exercising outdoors – even away from groups – wear a mask. Let’s keep a little perspective here and not let germophobia run away with this thing.

ac
Guest
ac

i’m not wearing a mask when i ride
i’m only riding for exercise at this point — if it comes to only being able to ride if a mask is worn, i will retreat to the trainer and be pretty unhappy about it.
i try not to ride in busy corridors, meaning few pedestrians or riders, tho fewer cars also makes the ride better too.

please let’s not go there on a mask requirement for exercise

and, yes, snot rockets are inevitable, but where they come out is carefully controlled to be away from others by a few hundred yards

Bill
Guest
Bill

More of the “Look at how I’m so responsible over others.” Ooh, wow, you wear a mask to venture out and look down at those who don’t. Stay the F home. The mask guideline is for people who need to be in situations where they may come in contact with others, like essential trips to the grocery store. A leisure bike ride is optional at best and you’re putting other in harm’s way, mask or not.