The French Sports Ministry said Thursday that cyclists will have to follow a new 10 Meter Rule and stay at least 10 meters from one another while riding once stay-at-home orders are lifted 11 May.

The measures are designed to prevent a surge of new COVID19 cases.

French guidelines urge people to maintain public social distancing of at least one meter, but a study that went viral on social media in April suggests this is not enough for packs of cyclists. The study indicated that fast-moving air currents generated by cyclists riding in a group could quickly and easily distribute COVID19 particles over many other cyclists in the group.

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed, but the French Sports Ministry does not need more data and wants “a minimum distance of 10 meters between all cyclists while riding.”

On 11 May, French cyclists may gather in groups of 10 or less, but they must follow the new 10 Meter Rule while riding, effectively making group rides obsolete for training or socializing.

The 10 Meter Rule also makes it difficult to hold gran fondos, cyclosportives or even the Tour de France until the order is lifted.

Currently there is no expiration date for the order.

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