Walking, cycling and wheeling during Covid-19 in Scotland

During the Covid-19 outbreak, we want everyone to be able to walk, cycle and wheel safely for everyday journeys and exercise, in line with Scottish Government guidelines.


Active travel can have huge benefits for our physical and mental health, and the environment.

It can provide a safe method of travel during the outbreak and beyond.

But it’s important that we all take measures to prevent a second wave of the outbreak and show consideration to everyone. We need to:


Be safe – Look after yourself and those in your care

Be smart – Stay in your local area and plan ahead

Be kind – Look out for others, particularly more vulnerable groups


To help do this, we've teamed up with Transport Scotland, Public Health Scotland, the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland and various active travel organisations in Scotland to provide a summary of things to consider when walking, cycling and wheeling during Covid-19.

Be safe

Look after yourself and those in your care.

Walk, wheel or cycle on your own, or with people you live with.

Keep 2 metres apart from those outside your household. 

Use a face covering in line with latest government advice.

Where possible, avoid touching hard surfaces such as walls, fences and park benches.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after going out.

If cycling or using a wheelchair, wash your bike or wheelchair surfaces that may have been touched by others and clean your wheel push rims after each wheel.

When out with children, please ensure that they also keep distant from others who are not in their household where possible, and make sure they wash their hands before and after going out.


Be smart

Stay in your local area and plan ahead.

Try to visit places you know will be quiet, away from hotspots – but equally, make sure you feel comfortable and safe, particularly if walking alone.

Consider bringing things you may need –hand sanitiser, face covering, contactless payment options.

If cycling or running, stay within your ability level.

Be aware that people may be queuing outside shops, pharmacies or health centres.

Please follow signs and try to help others to maintain the 2-metre distance where you can and they cannot.

For example visually impaired and blind people, wheelchair users or people with reduced mobility, families with small children, people with babies in pushchairs.


Be kind

Be mindful of others when walking, cycling or wheeling, particularly more vulnerable groups.

Guidance for everyone

Consider exercising at less busy times of the day and avoid hotspots.

Slow down, respect others and give older people and people with poor mobility, visually impaired and people in wheelchairs priority.

Be patient with families with small children, and people with babies in pushchairs.

Be aware that some people may need to sit down.

On shared paths, keep left if possible and pass on the right.

If you have a safe place to move off the path to let others pass then be considerate, wait a moment and create the space to allow them to pass.

If wearing headphones, be aware that you may not hear people ringing a bell when passing.

On shared and non-segregated paths, please be patient and considerate of each other.

Create space to physically distance where possible, and move at an appropriate speed when passing

Be considerate of others and take litter with you.

When driving, slow down, give space and be aware that people on bikes may need to cycle out from the kerb.

Remember that people walking or running may step on to the roadway to allow others physical distancing space on the footpath.

When cycling on the road, be aware that runners or people walking may momentarily go onto the roadway so ride away from the kerb to allow others physical distancing space on the footpath.

When cycling, ring your bell or call out when approaching people and be prepared to stop if it’s difficult to pass.

Please be mindful that a bell may not be sufficient warning to pedestrians with hearing, visual or mobility impairments.

Walking, wheeling and running

Listen out for bells and calls from people on bikes. Allow people cycling to pass.

Runners, be careful to give full physical distance when passing people and be prepared to slow down if it is difficult to pass.

Please do not spit, especially where people need to wheel, as this transfers onto their wheels, gloves and hands.

Dog walkers

Keep dogs on a lead if there are likely to be other people around.

Clean up after your dog.

Consider the needs of older people and disabled people

Give extra space to disabled people including anyone using a mobility aid such as a wheelchair who may not be able to move out of your way.

Be aware that not all disabilities, including sight and hearing loss, are visible and most hearing aids only have a range of 1 metre.

This could mean that whilst you must maintain the 2m distance, people may find it more difficult than usual to understand you.

Don’t assume that everyone who is disabled should be shielding.

If in doubt, stop and ask what makes it easier to pass safely.

Be considerate and remember the changes to the physical infrastructure required for physical distancing are harder for disabled people and many people will be feeling anxious.

Please do not park on or obstruct pavements at dropped kerbs as this causes further barriers.

Be considerate and patient with people who take a little longer to pass or who need extra room due to their mobility aids (wheelchairs, mobility scooters, long canes, guide dogs, walking frames).

Remember guide dogs are not trained to physically distance and will guide along recognised routes.



With thanks to our partners

Cycling Scotland logoForth Environment Link logoLiving Streets Scotland logoPaths for all logoPublic Health Scotland logoRamblers Scotland logoScottish Canals logoTransport Scotland logoWe are Cycling UK logo