NEMBA COVID Guidance for Rides & Trail Care Sessions

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

NEMBA Guidance for Rides

Out of an abundance of caution NEMBA put a hold on large Trial Care days and Group Rides as the Covid-19 Pandemic escalated.

Currently it seems like every day one or more of the New England States change their recommendations and guidelines. Their overriding concern, of course, is safety.

As each state sets its own policies NEMBA’s policies must be flexible. Our policies must follow at least the minimum guidelines set by each state. But since these guidelines vary in their directives, we have developed some parameters that we believe support the cautious resumption of group rides and trail care sessions. You can help support the health and safety of all riders (and other trail users) by following these practices!

See state by state restrictions below.


NEMBA Recommendations for Group Rides

  • Non-household Group rides are allowed in all New England states. The permitted size of those groups varies. NEMBA recommends group sizes of 10 people or less. This is a common requirement in many riding areas. It also reduces interruptions to other trail users and helps keep groups safe and fun. But we leave it to local chapters and their ride leaders to determine what is best for them.
  • Maintaining at least 3 bike lengths between each rider ensures physical distancing, at least 30’ but more may be better. The standard 6' social distance may not ensure safety when riding behind a rider or group for long periods of time. So we recommend as many times that distance as is practicable. The exception is with family members.
  • Ride with a mask at the ready so that you can quickly put it on if you come across other trail users in an area where you can’t maintain a social distance of at least 6’. Or better yet, leave it on. A mask is primarily a courtesy to others. It is a source control measure that limits what you may spread via exhalation. It also provides some protection to you.
  • Exaggerate your courtesy to other trail users. When encountering other trail users, slow down or stop and move off the trail to provide room for people to pass and maintain social distance. This is a time when nobody should assume a “right of way”.
  • Do not linger in groups before or after rides. We will all get our “social” on when this Pandemic is over.
  • Don’t overcrowd a riding area. If a riding area is busy, try to find an alternate time or location to ride but try to stay close to home. There are still state-by-state restrictions on traveling across state lines. Observe them!
  • Respect parking regulations. Parking has become a large pain point at many riding areas. If a parking area is full, find another legal place to park.
  • We leave it to local chapters to decide what is best for their area and the comfort level of their ride leaders.
  • NEMBA requires using some method of rider registration so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. NEMBA offers Evenbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it. But Eventbrite is only an option. Many chapters just keep a record.
  • If you or your chapter would like to hold a group ride, either with or without Eventbrite, send an email to . That way you and your riders will be covered by NEMBA’s insurance.


NEMBA Recommendations for Family Rides

  • Follow all the requirements of your local governments (state, city or town) and requirements of the property where you wish to ride.
  • Best practice is to ride with members of your household.
  • Wear masks when in the presence of others and it is not possible to be at least 6’ apart.
  • If possible, choose riding areas without crowds.


NEMBA Recommendations for Trail Care Events

Since each State sets its own policy for outdoor group size, NEMBA’s policy must be flexible. But it must follow the guidelines set by that state. Since these guidelines are in some cases contradictory, we have developed some suggested parameters of our own.

Traditional Trail Care days where more than 30 people might show up in a parking lot, hang out together for instructions, grab tools and head out should be put on hold for now. As must the traditional after trailwork parking lot thank you party. We recommend:

  1. Trail Care sessions must be limited to 4-9 people.
  2. Social distancing of at least 12’ must be maintained at all times.
  3. Face coverings must be used whenever one is within 15’ of anyone else.
  4. Tools must not be shared unless they are sanitized before handoffs.
  5. For the time being, doing small projects should be the goal.
  6. Advance sign up or, events run by invitation only, may be used to put limits on the numbers.
  7. After the event, participants should leave the gathering area as soon as possible.
  8. NEMBA requires using some method of volunteer registration so that in the event of needing to track an individual’s contacts, you can provide that information. NEMBA offers Evenbrite registration, with a Covid-19 questionnaire for any individual or chapter that wishes to use it.

If you or your NEMBA chapter want to sponsor a Trail Care Event send an email to . This will ensure that your event will be covered by NEMBA’s insurance.


State by State Guidance 

Maine Covid-19 Response           Maine Bureau of Parks

Vermont Covid-19 Guidance         VT State Parks

New Hampshire Covid-19             NH State Parks

Massachusetts Covid-19               Mass DCR Guidance

Connecticut Covid Response        CT DEEP Response

Rhode Island Covid Information    RI DEM Guidance