Since mid-May, masks have been a required outdoor accessory in LA. If you leave your home, you need to have one. But do you need to wear your mask while exercising outside? Is it mandatory bicycle attire? It’s a question that’s sparked heated debate across the country.

As with all aspects of this public health crisis, misinformation seems to abound. There are limited studies available to prove the efficacy of preventative masks and treatments. However, at this time, the CDC recommends the use of face masks to curb the spread of the disease.

Is a mask necessary while biking outdoors?

At present, the city of Los Angeles does not require you to wear a mask while exercising outdoors if you maintain social distancing. Yet they ask that you bring one along in case social distancing becomes an impossibility once out and about. Are these guidelines incredibly vague? Yes, unquestionably. If you’re out biking and need to pass a pedestrian on the street, it’s rarely possible to stay six feet away. Still, the odds of transmitting the virus—or contracting the virus—in the seconds it takes to pass within the social distancing window is so small that the risk is minimal.

For some, wearing a mask is worth the extra precaution. For others, the discomfort, especially in the summer heat, is not worth the hassle. What is clear is that there is a considerable amount of shaming and blaming going on in the public over the issue of mask-wearing. Whatever stance you take, know that someone is likely going to disagree with your choice. Just make sure it is the best one for you.