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Thread: Social distancing while cycling, running

  1. #1
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    Default Social distancing while cycling, running

    Here is an article about a Belgian/Dutch model of how far apart you need to be for effective social distancing while running or cycling. It's a lot more more than 6 ft.!

    If you prefer to read the results in the original Flemish, they can be found here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    Here is an article about a Belgian/Dutch model of how far apart you need to be for effective social distancing while running or cycling. It's a lot more more than 6 ft.!

    If you prefer to read the results in the original Flemish, they can be found here.
    The science for this is... questionable. In that it wasn't actually completed yet. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v...tually-a-study

    Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    The science for this is... questionable. In that it wasn't actually completed yet. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v...tually-a-study
    It's questionable for all kinds of reasons. But this is a time to be safe and not take any chances, innit? I mean, every time you bike you breath a molecule that was once inhaled by Julius Caesar, AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It's questionable for all kinds of reasons. But this is a time to be safe and not take any chances, innit? I mean, every time you bike you breath a molecule that was once inhaled by Julius Caesar, AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM!
    He had, at least for the time, a relatively long life and is still widely known and remembered more than 2,000 years later?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    The science for this is... questionable. In that it wasn't actually completed yet. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v...tually-a-study
    You'll note that while the article refers to the work as a "study", I called it a "model". That's because from my reading what they're reporting looks like preliminary modeling results. I spent enough years developing models and simulations for a living to know that even the best of them aren't perfect, but this was the first quantitative result I've seen on appropriate distancing for active outdoor activities so I figured it was worth posting. Whether or not the precise numbers turn out to be correct, I hope it will motivate cyclists and runners to give each other space - which I haven't universally seen happening on the trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    You'll note that while the article refers to the work as a "study", I called it a "model". That's because from my reading what they're reporting looks like preliminary modeling results. I spent enough years developing models and simulations for a living to know that even the best of them aren't perfect, but this was the first quantitative result I've seen on appropriate distancing for active outdoor activities so I figured it was worth posting. Whether or not the precise numbers turn out to be correct, I hope it will motivate cyclists and runners to give each other space - which I haven't universally seen happening on the trails.
    I agree wholeheartedly that everyone needs to give each other more space than what's been happening, and that common sense would dictate that it should be more than 6 feet when you have quick-moving subjects at play. My concern with this article is that it seems to be based on the modeler talking to a Belgian reporter, and it's a modeler who is a self-described "entrepreneur" who has no particular knowledge in the subject matter. (I think it's safe to say that taking science advice from self-described "entrepreneurs" is suboptimal.) There are no actual results yet or anything for another person to react to beyond what this one person said.

    I think a far better "study" to cite for this point that is still of the "soft/squishy" variety was the 2010 Mythbusters episode that looked at a variety of flu/cold facts. Among what they found: Droplets from a sneeze can travel upwards of 15 feet or more travelling almost 40mph.

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    I would be ok with this Medium article if it was presented as a theory and not a study. As was noted in the Vice article, this hasn't been peer reviewed and some of the comments in the Medium article about the efficacy of the simulation are really harsh and need to be resolved in a typical peer review. For the individual conducting this study, to go straight to the media without peer review or journal publishing is wholesale irresponsible. Too many people will take the simulation as fact (which it could turn out to be in the end) without any context leading to second, third order effects such as panic or poor policy development.

    This Medium article is the equivalent of a miracle cure promotion. Sure the medicine may actually work, but absent actual trials and peer review of the methods, it's little more than advertising.

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    Many summaries of this story are omitting the fact that the long distances being reported from the simulation specifically apply to following directly in someone else's slipstream (i.e. where you're constantly interacting with the same air mass that another person is vacating a few seconds previous).

    Consider the difference of the experience of walking twenty feet behind someone who is smoking, vs. passing them off the side at twenty feet. What does that tell you about atmospheric dynamics in general? Regardless of the validity of the report, there is certainly a large directional factor at play.
    Last edited by scoot; 04-10-2020 at 12:12 PM.

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    Just observe anyone vaping and watch the cloud of vapor that they have exhaled to see how far it goes. Way farther than 6ft.

    Also, I pity the fool who's standing downwind of anyone who's infected and outside yesterday/today.

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    Reader digest version: "On the basis of these results[of the simulation] 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[12 to 15 Feet], for running and slow biking it should be 10 meters[30 Feet/10 Yards] and for hard biking at least 20 meters[60 Feet/20 Yards]. 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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