There has been much confusion in the cycling community regarding the recent resolution released by the IATF that requires all persons to wear face shields outside their residences.
We urge the government to consider the following points before clarifying the matter of whether or not people on bikes should be required to wear face shields:
We believe that any forthcoming guidelines should be drafted on the basis of scientific evidence, and should take the specific conditions of cycling into account.
We have not found data suggesting that the use of face shields while riding a bike is an effective method of curbing transmission, but there are plenty of reasons why using face shields while cycling poses significant challenges to riding safely.
Wearing a face shield while riding adversely affects a cyclist’s ability to see, and can obscure and distort a person’s field of vision. This issue is exacerbated at night when conditions are dark or when lights are refracted in the shield and produce glare. This is also true of riding in the rain when droplets collect on the shield and make it difficult to see, or when the shield begins to fog as a result of weather conditions.
Face shields make it more difficult to breathe, and they can be hard to wear properly with a helmet or eyewear.
Some face shields are also potentially dangerous in the event of a crash, as the materials used are not designed for active wear and actually cause injury.
Given the lack of evidence supporting the use of face shields as a means of lowering transmission, and the fact that wearing a face shield while cycling poses serious risks, we call upon the government to clarify the requirement and allow cyclists to ride without the use of such shields.