Study on What a Safe Distance Is When Out Riding, Running, Walking

Makes a strong argument for open streets options and while we need to rethink narrow paths right now. Given there are essential workers, we really should have options like a pass to ride on LFP, Riverwalk, and 606 for essential workers. This isn't going away tomorrow so there's no reason Chicago can't get organized about this. 

"Out of the simulations, it appears that social distancing plays less of a role for 2 people in a low wind environment when running/walking next to each other. The droplets land behind the duo. When you are positioned diagonally behind each other the risk is also smaller to catch the droplets of the lead runner. The risk of contamination is the biggest when people are just behind each other, in each other’s slipstream.

"On the basis of these results the scientist advises that for walking the distance of people moving in the same direction in 1 line should be at least 4–5 meter, for running and slow biking it should be 10 me
ters and for hard biking at least 20 meters. Also, when passing someone it is advised to already be in different lane at a considerable distance e.g. 20 meters for biking."

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The idea seems to make sense.  I know the micro-climate created in the draft of a bike rider in front of me seems like it could be conducive to aerosol dispersal.  And I know even a bike length or two behind someone still has an impact on me, but...

The Viral ‘Study’ About Runners Spreading Coronavirus Is Not Actually a Study

Oh, you beat me to it, and the article you linked is a much better way of what I was trying to say below. 

I've seen this thing posted in a lot of places, and I think it's important to clarify that this isn't a study in the sense we normally talk about them. This hasn't been peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal. The researchers behind it are civil engineers, not virologists. They basically ran same software designed to study aerodynamics without any simulation of how expelled droplets actually behave (see for some gross details on that). 

The upshot is that this info *may* have implications on what a safe distance is to avoid inhaling a minimum infectious dose of the virus, but to leap from it to a prescription of behavior (as many articles are doing) implies a whole lot of leaps that just don't exist at this point.

That said, I think you're absolutely right that we need to have far wider paths - given the unknowns about this virus, the more space we can give anyone we don't live with, the better. I'm just worried that the hoopla over this untested model these engineers came up with is going to lead to policymakers trying to ban outdoor exercise here in the US. 

Point taken. Hopefully people will err on the side of caution, not overcrowd areas, and encourage policymakers NOT to ban outdoor exercise.

The scientists who irresponsibly released this speculation are about as qualified to opine viruses as Peter Navarro is.

As you pointed out, the software they used does not take into account the dispersion of the virus in outdoor air currents. It's like using a wrench as a hammer -- clumsy and unreliable.  

Everybody seems to want their 30 seconds of fame.


Here's another skeptical response to this "study" from Bicycling magazine.

Maybe this will fix shoaling once and for all.  As it turns out, that simulation modeling may have offered some insights, all while it may be that others had been understating the proximity risks. 

Entirely separate from that model, article and story, a different group of individuals, in this case, scientists, have conducted different research. This link isn't the end of the story either, just more information on the topic of virus spreading.

It  is all about  managing risk. No matter what we do outside of our own  living spaces, we encounter risk. We aim to reduce the risk  that we infect others and that  others infect us. Our actions matter for  us but they also matter  for  all who we encounter when  we venture out of the  door. If we want zero risk we stay home. I know  people who are doing  exactly that. I back off from  my usual thought that they are  being paranoid. No, they are  making a statement  about what risk they will tolerate. it  is very difficult  for  the individual to make the risk  assessment as their actions, as mentioned,  impact  others. We all seem to get the notion  of staying 6 feet apart when we are  standing or  slowly traversing in a  store or some other public space. Most of us have figured  out that faces and hands need to  be covered. it  is not  difficult to figure out that the  faster we  move the more  distance we need to keep  the same amount of risk. How much distance?  Hmm. That is the  tough  question. More  than  ever, we need to ride with empathy and a public consciousness. We have to take responsibility for  every person  we see. As I ride on the street or  on  a path i am watching the  traffic patterns and may  slow behind a walker  to  let the rider  in  the  oncoming lane pass us by. I will pass the walker  after that while riding briefly in  the oncoming lane.  I will try to look  away from  them rather  than  at them. I do not need to  win this encounter and whiz by in between them. I  am not wearing  a mask unless weather has me in a  balaclava. I am not sure if that will change. If I  feel I have  to wear a mask I may be telling myself that it is simply too crowded, too busy, to ride in this place at this time.  I have a mask with me in  case I have to stop, have  an  emergency,  or  need to  encounter other  humans. I  am still  wearing  gloves.  After  all, it is Chicago and it's  only April. If the  anxiety is too much, if  I don't like the risk, (and this  is  ok, we are allowed to  be fearful) I am on  the bike in the basement and thankful that  I have one there.

I'm with you David, I've been doing 27ish miles per day in the basement on the roller wheel thingy.  It's better for my legs and lungs than it is for the rear tire, but it gives my CatEye something to tally.  The heck of it is, if EVERYBODY had figured out how to stay home from about March 15th until now, this whole virus would have largely spent itself out in terms of hosts and transmission.  Sigh. 

You're right on about risk.  The heck of it is the variability of the risk taken, the harm incurred, and who is actually harmed, has a wide range of victims and perpetrators, health-wise, traffic-wise, and otherwise.    I keep my winter balaclava with me when I'm out and about.   Need it now more than I did in the winter! 


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