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  • Bob LoCicero

COVID-19 Response: Is Motorcycling in Vermont Banned?

Governor Scott riding his motorcycle during happier times
Governor Scott riding his motorcycle during happier times

The State of Vermont has not, as of April 7th, banned motorcycle travel. The general travel limitations, which apply to all road going vehicles apply equally to motorcycles. The Governor’s order directs Vermonters to stay at home, leaving only for essential reasons, critical to health and safety.

Essential reasons to leave your home include personal safety, groceries or medicine, curbside pick-up of goods, meals or beverages, medical care, exercise, care of others and work. There is no prohibition from using your motorcycle as transportation.

The Governor has asked travelers from outside the state to self-quarantine for 14-days upon entering the state.

So should you go motorcycling?

Ultimately, this is a personal decision. It is still against the law for police to stop you without cause. You should, however, ask yourself if your trip follows the Governor’s Stay-At-Home order.

In recent posts on motorcycling forums, some have suggested that motorcycling is exercise. While this can be true, you should ask yourself if this is the best form of exercising you can practice during the ban?

In Governor Scott’s April 3rd press conference, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Julie Moore said, “It’s never been more important for Vermonters to get outside, but also to stay close to home. Anyone planning to spend time outdoors this weekend should do the following. First, stay close to home. We’re fortunate to live in a place that has outstanding outdoor recreation in nature, and much of it within walking distance.

“Now’s not the time to explore far-flung corners of Vermont, but rather to focus on backyard adventures, spend time in places that you can walk or bike to. And if you must drive to get outside, work to limit your trips to less than 10 miles."

The Governor's April 3rd Press Conference.

Vermont ski areas have outlawed uphill skinning and skiing in an effort to reduce participation in an activity that could lead to injury and require emergency response personnel to rescue a victim. Is your motorcycle ride as dangerous as skiing?

Hospitals are heavily burdened during this crisis. If you got injured you would likely end up in the emergency room and possibly require an operation and a hospital stay. Hospitals are not where you want to be during this time: staff are highly stressed and your likelihood of being exposed to COVID-19 are greater in a hospital.

This is a good time to apply common sense. My recommendation is that you not go on an extended motorcycle ride “just cuz” (just like you shouldn’t go for an extended drive in your car). You probably shouldn’t hit the motocross track, your backyard monster jump or take this moment to finally learn to wheelie.

If you are truly looking to scratch your itch to ride and get some exercise on your bike, I recommend heading to the closest paved parking lot and practice your slow speed skills (can you do a u-turn in 4 parking spaces? How about a figure 8?) You’ll be part of the solution rather than the problem and you’ll be a better rider when the ban is lifted.


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