Safer Cycling Calgary's response to COVID-19

Last updated May 5, 2021

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is a serious threat to human health. At Safer Cycling Calgary, safety is our business; not just related to bicycling, but in general. We are taking this threat seriously, and as such, some of our operations have been altered. 

First, clarification: bicycles are considered vehicles and are a form of transportation. Transportation is essential, and businesses which provide transportation or related products & services were always permitted to operate. We will respect all restrictions, recommendations and best practices in place when we re-start in spring 2021. This may include required masking for all and capacity reductions. 

As of 11:59pm Sunday May 9, all outdoor group recreation, training, sports and fitness activities - even 1-on-1 - are prohibited. While biking is a form of transportation, it is difficult to suggest that courses that do not explicitly teach cycling as transportation would be classified as transportation, therefore I have made the difficult decision to suspend all First Time, Beginner and Novice courses until these restrictions are lifted. Those who have registered for one of these courses between May 10 & May 25 have been contacted. Registration for later courses will proceed, and the situation monitored. Cancellations for later courses due to concern of COVID will be subject to our usual cancellation fees so I do recommend you hold tight. I will update registrants closer to your course date. 

Some details of our courses and of the measures we took in 2020: 
1.  Course capacities: First Time courses are 1 instructor to a maximum of 4 participants (children must have a parent/caregiver with them - this would be 1 instructor and 8 "participants"), Beginner has a maximum of 2 participants though is typically run 1:1, Intermediate and Advanced courses have a maximum of 6 participants (Kids Novice and Intermediate, including camps, require an Assistant Instructor as well). First Time courses were run at half capacity until July 2020, to allow for greater spacing. Novice courses (maximum capacity 15 participants) were suspended for 2020 and the course capacity has changed for 2021 (now maximum 6 participants). We anticipate being able to run First Time courses at regular capacity in 2021. No adjustments to Intermediate or Advanced course capacity were necessary.

2. Since we rely on local community centres for access to toilets, we were unable to run kids First Time courses early in 2020 (adults can tolerate 3 hours without a toilet). Once access to the toilets was permitted, we sprayed all touch surfaces (toilet seats, flush buttons, doors, sink taps) with bleach before and after each course. Further, we limited access to one family at a time to the building and provided hand sanitizer for use before and after. Bathrooms were stocked with soap and paper towels. This will likely continue.

3. Courses with an indoor component ran with increased physical distancing measures in place. As this component can't be skipped or made virtual for day camps, if indoor gatherings/groups are not permitted in 2021 or are restricted to fewer than our minimum, we will be unable to offer day camps. However, we already have virtual learning for Intermediate (non-day camp) and Advanced courses and will be able to offer these courses with online learning in 2021. Intermediate kids courses are currently scheduled with "classroom" learning which will be modified to online learning if restrictions require such. Modifications for those who do not have adequate internet access/technology have not yet been formulated. If permitted to run, day camps will follow all provincial requirements including mandatory masking, distancing and hand-sanitizing. 

4. Physical distancing is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future: as most of our courses are exclusively outdoors, all are on bike and some are on road, remaining 2m apart is reasonably easy and failing to do so can be dangerous for reasons that have nothing to do with a virus. However, every course has some contact between instructor(s) and participant(s)/equipment, particularly in the First Time courses. We will continue with adjustments as follows: 

- participants in First Time courses for children will continue to require a parent/caregiver on site and that adult will continue to be responsible for involvement such as adjusting helmet fit and providing "push assist;"
- participants in First Time courses for adults will be responsible for adjusting their own helmet fit and will not be provided "push assist;" 
- participants/caregivers will be provided with hand sanitizer/disinfecting wipes to use before & after using any shared equipment, such as tools; 
- instructors will complete registration of bikes through 529 Garage, as self-registration yielded few protected bikes in 2020;
- instructors will reduce contact with participants' equipment and ensure the use of hand sanitizer before and after necessary contact (such as to remove/reinstall pedals, adjust seat height, adjust brakes, Project 529 registration); 
- participants in First Time courses for children will not be provided with equipment such as balls or crayons for breaks and playground time will be staggered between groups; hand sanitizer will be used before and after visits to the playground; 
- group discussions will be modified to allow increased distance between participants and will not involve "interaction" in the form of participant demonstration;

5. Our instructors will not come to work if they are sick: this may result in some courses being cancelled or postponed: you will be offered a refund or an alternate date. We will follow provincial and municipal requirements: if you or your child are sick, or if anyone in your home is sick, do not come to a course. If you notify us in advance, we will refund your course fee (pro-rated if your course is a multi-day course). No shows will not receive a refund, as per our usual policies. We also pledge to inform you if any of the participants or the instructor of your course become sick after the fact, which we can only do if you advise us if you are one of those participants.

We take safety - and health - seriously; it's right in our name! We want to assure you that we are taking necessary precautions to reduce the spread of a dangerous virus, while also respecting our need to stay in business and provide our services to you. Now, maybe more than ever, bicycling is a very effective way to not only reduce your exposure to contagious diseases, by being able to get around without being stuck in a box with other people, but also by keeping your body healthy through exercise. Cycling has been shown, through many studies, to be excellent for improving both physical and mental health. Riding your bike to the store or around a park or your neighbourhood will ultimately be better than allowing your body and mind to become vulnerable. For those who can't work from home, and need to get to work, cycling is an effective mode of transportation with built-in physical distancing: no need to touch public surfaces, use public transportation or get in a taxi with a person you don't live with, it improves physical health and mental health as well as reducing pollution: it's a win all around. Please don't be afraid to ride a bike, unless required to stay indoors. 

Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wishing you health and great bicycling, 
Melissa Malejko, owner of Safer Cycling Calgary

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