This guest post was kindly contributed by Guido van Eijsden, developer of Scenic, a highly rated Motorcycle Touring app for iOS. The article was originally published here.

How is the Corona pandemic changing motorcycle riding behaviour around the world? Here are the numbers! Are we riding more or are we riding less? I looked at the number of rides that were logged in Scenic over the last 3 months and found some interesting differences between countries.

Are we getting Corona numb?

Overall, we see quite a big riding increase in Europe and North America. I wonder, as time goes by while COVID-19 keeps spreading in some countries and distancing measures are being eased in others… are we getting numb of the news, even numb of the infected cases and death toll numbers? Do we see riding as a short ‘escape’ from this, an escape from reality? Or have we waited patiently only to go all out once riding bans are lifted?

My guess is yes to both!!!! Yes we see it as an escape and yes we’ll go out en mass once riding bans are lifted.

Riding is an escape for many, even in normal times. A short ride to clear your mind or a nice weekend trip to get away from daily life. A lot of riders see motorcycle riding, ironically, as a relatively safe hobby at the moment! And for those actually living in countries where riding was banned and now allowed again, it’s obvious that you’ve taken advantage of that to the fullest. Take Belgium for example!

The numbers show that overall, last weekend, 5x as many rides were logged compared to the beginning of March.

What do you think about that? Leave a comment below!

DISCLAIMER: No real conclusions can and should be made from the data and analyses presented here. First of all the data is limited: It’s based only on the number of rides logged in the Scenic app. Secondly, we can make out trends and take an educated guess at the reason for these trends, but these remain just that: guesses! Next to coronavirus, there are many other factors that affect people going out for a ride. Think of weather and long (public holiday) weekends for example.

All graphs show the percentage of rides logged in the Scenic app in a specific weekend, relative to the average number of rides of February weekends. So, the average number of rides in Feb weekends is considered 100%.

Australia

Australia February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Australia February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Around the weekend of 21-22 March Australia was in the early stages of its outbreak compared to countries in other continents. We don’t see a significant decline in the number of rides at that point. In fact we see an increase. Only in the weekends thereafter we see a decline. Hard to tell if this is due to coronavirus. Decreasing weather conditions could also have played a part.

Europe

Riding activity differs a lot per country in Europe. Overall, from the beginning of March we see a clear increase in the number of rides, due to start of season / improving weather, but in the March 21/22 weekend we see a clear drop (This is the weekend after the week where social distancing and even lockdown measures were sharply increased by various European countries). Spain, France and UK stay steady or even decrease after this weekend, while the other “germanic” countries increased their number of rides.

It’s very hard to miss Belgium’s peak last weekend. Almost 16x more rides compared to early march.

As a whole we see Europe’s number of rides increasing during the last 3 weekends, with Netherlands, Germany and now Belgium leading the charge. This might be due to people getting over the ‘first scare’, but most definitely will also be related to Dutch and German governments not having banned riding and Belgium government lifting the riding ban last weekend.

Austria February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Austria February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Quite an increase in Austria’s number of rides in the last weeks.

Belgium February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Belgium February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Belgium levelled off a bit due to the ban. Until last weekend, when the ban was lifted. The result is overwhelming!!!

France February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

France February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Germany February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Germany February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Germany, just like the Netherlands below, has one of the strongest increases in number of rides in the last few weekends (not counting Belgium’s huge peak of last weekend). Between 8 and 9 times as much rides even. That’s quite a lot. I’m sure weather plays a role, but what kind of role does coronavirus play here? Would we see an even stronger increase without COVID-19? Or perhaps less increase?

Netherlands February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Netherlands February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Spain February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Spain February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Spain, being the European country 2nd most hit by COVID-19, has been running ahead of its fellow European countries with its containment measures. As such you can see this effect in the number of rides. In fact, since mid March, the number of rides has almost fallen to zero as Spain strengthened and maintains its lockdown procedures.

Switzerland February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Switzerland February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Switzerland is a bit more ‘neutral’ than Netherlands and Germany… still more than 4x as many logged rides in the last weekends compared to late feb. And last weekend we even saw an increase of almost 7x. Did Switzerland also ease its distancing measures? Please let me know through comments below.

United Kingdom February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

United Kingdom February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

United Kingdom shows an unexpected increase in the March 21 weekend, corrected by the following weekends showing a decreasing and steadying number of rides.

North America

United States February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

United States February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

U.S. has shown a very modest increase in the number of rides over the past few weeks. This is likely due to coronavirus measures being offset by improving weather conditions. The May 2 weekend does show a significant increase. No doubt this has something to do with a bunch of states easing their lockdown measures on May 3rd.

Canada February 29th, 2020 - May 9th, 2020

Canada February 29th, 2020 – May 9th, 2020

Canada seemed to have an initial ‘scare’ around March 14, but has since then shown a rather big increase in the number of rides. Weather undoubtedly is playing a role here.

What does it all mean?

I do this analyses pure for informative purposes! It should not be taken as an input to define your behaviour regarding COVID-19. It does not add value compared to the primary data for number of cases and number of deaths. Please don’t take any action based on this analyses. I’m not a coronavirus expert at all!

If you must take action then take the safe route. Stay inside, distance yourself, rather sooner than later. The sooner you take action (even if your government doesn’t) the better! This thing is exponential. The earlier you take action the bigger the effect will be (this goes for positive as well as negative action)!!!

Furthermore I don’t know about all government policies in all countries regarding lockdown measures and moments when they were lifted or eased. If you have additional information regarding this please feel free to comment below.

Stay safe everyone!

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