Bike Repair as Essential Service
photo credit: Tom Conway on Unsplash
In the early morning hours of Wednesday March 25th, the Province's order to shut down non-essential business came into effect. Although there have been good precendents set in other places around the world, leaders in Toronto are always seeking made in Toronto solutions.
We wanted to make sure that bike repair was considered as an essential service. As everyone is staying at home, home delivery is now more important than ever, and cycling remains a good option to maintain physical distance if you need to get around the city. Although we were hopeful that the City would be articulating this position, we wanted to make sure this message was clear when the list of essential services was first released.
Thankfully, Martin Neale at Hoopdriver, got the ball rolling, and we were able to work with our contacts at the City, and reach out to shops around Toronto to help secure this for the weeks ahead. Here is our letter:
To: the Premier of Ontario, and the Minister of Transportation
CC: Cycle Toronto, Share the Road Cycling Coalition
We are reaching out to you on behalf of bicycle shops in Toronto. We believe that in the case of an escalated Province-wide shut-down, it is imperative that bicycle shops are included as an essential service.
First, cycling is an important way to maintain physical distance and reduce the peak traffic on our public transit systems where close contact is all but unavoidable.
Second, cycling is a critical aspect of downtown delivery service. Bicycles are used extensively by bike couriers, whose logistical role in a shut-down is essential for restaurant take-out or grocery delivery. Keeping critical delivery services operating requires that bike stores remain open and able to service bikes and replace parts.
Third, cycling is an excellent way to stay healthy and keep a healthy distance from others during this crisis. It can provide safe, outdoor exercise and relief from the confines of home. We have seen some concerns and confusion among the public as many are unsure if riding a bicycle, even on their own, violates social distancing rules. This may involve clarifying that cycling while social distancing is appropriate, but cycling when under quarantine is not.
Designating a bicycle store as an essential service is not without precedent. New York State, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area have all designated bike stores as essential services while keeping deliveries, transportation, and community health at the forefront. Following this example, we believe bicycle shops play an essential role in our city’s health. For this reason, we as store owners are committed to following World Health Organization guidelines for safety in order to keep our community, customers and staff healthy.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Batemans’ Bike Co
Fix Coffee + Bikes
Mike the Bike