Ridesharing protocol

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This protocol is a draft. It has not yet been accepted as protocol and may be incorrect or poorly cited. Please do not use this in your work until it has been accepted.

Please see #protocols on Slack to discuss this protocol further.

This page is specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our covid protocol still focuses on somewhat older science relating to droplet transmission. We are currently reviewing this. It will be updated rapidly.

When should you be ridesharing?

  • You should only consider ridesharing if there is no other way to achieve an essential task such as...
    • Providing care for someone
    • Going to work
    • Attending an essential appointment
    • Leaving an unsafe situation (eg domestic violence)
  • This list is non-exhaustive and there may be circumstances not on this list where you will need to ride share
  • You should not rideshare if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • However, when assessing the risks you should be mindful that the disease may still be transmitted by people who have no symptoms

Before your journey


  • Consider if there is any safer alternative way to carry out your task
  • Consider whether or not anyone else needs to come, in order to limit the number of passengers
  • Discuss risks and hygiene procedures with your household to check how comfortable everyone is with the potential journey
  • Discuss risks with the people you will be ridesharing with and check that you are all comfortable with each other’s understanding of hygiene procedures
  • Plan routes to be as quick as possible, while considering rest breaks for access reasons
  • Prepare journey to minimise the need to fill up petrol - consider a separate trip to petrol station before your ridesharing journey.


  • Clean frequently-handled areas of the vehicle with bleach solution, warm soapy water, or anti-microbial disinfectant, e.g.:
    • Outside/inside door/boot/trunk handles
    • Steering wheel
    • Gear stick and handbrake
    • Digital/radio controls
    • Seatbelts and seat belt fastenings
    • Window controls
  • If using bleach solution,
    • Mix 1 part bleach to 50 parts water
    • Prepare this no more than 24 hours before you use it, as the active ingredient degrades rapidly.
    • Wear gloves to protect your skin when applying
    • Air the vehicle well during and after cleaning
    • Do not apply to seats, as it may damage the fabric/leather
  • Remove rubbish such as empty drinking bottles from the car

What to take

  • Take hand sanitizer if you have any
  • Prepare face coverings:
    • use surgical masks if widely available, otherwise use tightly-woven cotton fabric
    • bring a change of mask/face covering if you have one, especially if your journey will last more than 2 hours.
  • If you may need to eat or drink on the journey, take paper towels to lay your mask on
  • Take disposable bags to store used masks and other potentially-contaminated items

During your journey

  • Put on face coverings and wash hands before entering the vehicle
  • Seat yourselves as far away from each other as possible
  • Open all windows as widely as possible. In bad weather, leave them open as far as you can, and open them fully at regular intervals.
  • Keep your faces directed towards the open windows as much as possible, especially if you feel you are going to cough or sneeze.
  • Talk only when necessary during the journey - talking will increase the number of infectious particles you may emit. [1] [2]
  • Do not use air-conditioning or heating systems which recirculate air from inside the car: this may spread infectious droplets throughout the vehicle [3]
  • For drivers - when your windows are open, maintain as much distance as possible from cyclists and pedestrians, 2m at absolute minimum
  • Considering playing music or a podcast as a form of entertainment, in lieu of prolonged conversation!
  1. Asadi et al The coronavirus pandemic and aerosols: Does COVID-19 transmit via expiratory particles?; Accessed: 2020-05-24
  2. Stadnytskyi et al The airborne lifetime of small speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission; Accessed: 2020-05-24
  3. Shen et al Airborne transmission of COVID-19: epidemiologic evidence from two outbreak investigations; Accessed: 2020-05-25