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Old 05-20-09, 12:43 PM   #1
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Race Promoters: do you have a pre race safety checklist?

One of our racers crashed at a popular local four corner crit and though no one is exactly sure what caused the rider to go down (many factors including wet off camber turns) there was a large chunk of debris on the course that was "taken out of his/her back" in hospital. This in addition to things like no communication between officials and field marshals to notify them of a crash, no hazard markers on the course (they were painting markers during a race and were continuously doing so all day), unsafe "holes" in the finishing straight, and broken glass in one corner. These deficiencies are problems which are very preventable.

Our team president was initially furious and very interested in doing everything necessary to shut down the race because negligence on the promoter/organizer's part. After chewing on it and discussing it with the race "community" we've decided to take initiative and go through the local sanctioning officials (USCF & ABR) to ensure a failsafe checklist to be completed by race organizers to not necessarily guarantee but ensure that every precaution is taken on their promoter's part to ensure safe course for competition.

So, as an promoter/organizer, do you have a "checklist"? If so, would you mind sharing it?

On ours we are considering breaking it down into pre race and race day safety items. this is not the list our team president has put together, just some things I could think of off the top of my head.

Pre race:

municipal permit for course selection
identify course dangers (holes to be filled, etc) and detail appropriate response
secure barriers for street closures
obtain bails of hay for off course obstacles
identify course dangers (holes to be filled, etc) and detail appropriate response (streets and sanitation)
notify local hospital/EMT service of event
plan for course marshals and easy communication between them
plan of action for (inevitable) crashes

race day:
hours before first race: sweep course--especially corners
brief course marshals of role & responsibility

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-20-09, 12:44 PM   #2
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race day:
- set up hay bails on any obstacles that racers could hit either in a corner or in the finishing straight
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Old 05-20-09, 01:07 PM   #3
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I would assume the USA cycling people that deal with insurance would have some input on this. I'd check with them.
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Old 05-20-09, 01:24 PM   #4
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I would be interested in what you come up with. I am in the process of making our 'emergency action plan' for our race weekend.
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Old 05-20-09, 01:29 PM   #5
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I would assume the USA cycling people that deal with insurance would have some input on this. I'd check with them.
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Old 05-20-09, 01:36 PM   #6
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Old 05-20-09, 01:55 PM   #7
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USAC has a pretty detailed checklist as part of the permit process, and for any new course I think it's common for the chief ref to check it out with the promoter before they issue the permit. I always feel silly filling out the parts of the checklist about the course when I'm getting a permit for a track event-- "intersections controlled?" check. "turns marked" check. "closed to traffic" check...
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Old 05-20-09, 05:09 PM   #8
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Some Available Resources

Greetings,

There are some good resources out there (see below). There has been talk of a comprehensive "how to put on a bike race" document from USAC over the years but I understand lawyers keep killing it. Besides the items listed below the best advice is to find a quality organizer and solicit input from them. I know of very few who aren't willing to sit down with a new organizer for free - or maybe a free lunch! It is in everyone's interest to have quality events, especially at the grass roots level.

Oregon DOT's race guidelines:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEP...s/bikerace.pdf

Washington State's Guidelines:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Publications...acingGuide.htm

UCI Road Safety Manual (more for pro events but useful):

http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI1...U2NDg&LangId=1

Chuck Hodge
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Old 05-21-09, 04:30 AM   #9
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thanks everyone! I'll look into the USAC info; and thanks Chuck for the links. Very helpful advice and resources.

Keep it coming!
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Old 05-21-09, 05:49 AM   #10
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The USAC checklist gives a good hint on what a promoter should expect to handle. In addition, an official may check the course for "safety".

However, I've found that the safest races are those where either it's a preseason/training race where people back down quicker than normal *or* the course is wicked hairy and there's only a couple usable lanes/lines through most of it.

The fear factor works well on those courses to rein in the red mist of competition. Two courses (used one year only each) had very fast, steep, short descents with a hard turn at the bottom, something you'd see in a 'cross or mtb race, not a crit. One of them actually had a brake point - you went over a level sewer grate, basically caught some air (if you braked at that point your wheels just locked up), but when you landed you absolutely had to brake to make the turn, then off the brakes and lean like mad. I felt like I was in an F1 race. No crashes except very early on when someone tried to take the turn faster than possible. The other course had a long sweeping steep downhill corner - it had to be a 20% grade or steeper. I could barely walk up the thing. Again, everyone behaved themselves, the field exploded, and no crashes.

Sweeping is optional, ditto covering holes or sewer grates. The series I promote requires sweeping because there is sand everywhere after a CT winter (and typically it snows during the 6 weeks of the series anyway). I'm shocked when I go to a summer crit and nothing's been swept, no sewer grates have been covered, etc.

I hope you can make your race work out. It's rare enough to find a club that actually promotes a race. If you must, move it, but try and keep it going.

Good luck,
cdr
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Old 05-21-09, 07:22 PM   #11
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The USAC checklist gives a good hint on what a promoter should expect to handle. In addition, an official may check the course for "safety".

However, I've found that the safest races are those where either it's a preseason/training race where people back down quicker than normal *or* the course is wicked hairy and there's only a couple usable lanes/lines through most of it.

The fear factor works well on those courses to rein in the red mist of competition. Two courses (used one year only each) had very fast, steep, short descents with a hard turn at the bottom, something you'd see in a 'cross or mtb race, not a crit. One of them actually had a brake point - you went over a level sewer grate, basically caught some air (if you braked at that point your wheels just locked up), but when you landed you absolutely had to brake to make the turn, then off the brakes and lean like mad. I felt like I was in an F1 race. No crashes except very early on when someone tried to take the turn faster than possible. The other course had a long sweeping steep downhill corner - it had to be a 20% grade or steeper. I could barely walk up the thing. Again, everyone behaved themselves, the field exploded, and no crashes.

Sweeping is optional, ditto covering holes or sewer grates. The series I promote requires sweeping because there is sand everywhere after a CT winter (and typically it snows during the 6 weeks of the series anyway). I'm shocked when I go to a summer crit and nothing's been swept, no sewer grates have been covered, etc.

I hope you can make your race work out. It's rare enough to find a club that actually promotes a race. If you must, move it, but try and keep it going.

Good luck,
cdr
yeah, I absolutely agree. That's our plan. Right now, because of the crash, they are far too defensive and are not willing to really talk to us about making the race better for of fear of admitting some negligence. At the moment, I'm not sure how to get past this but we will and that will be a net gain.
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Old 09-29-11, 08:07 AM   #12
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Hi. I was looking for a sample "emergency action plan" for a cycling event. I know that there are a lot of smart people out there who have a lot of experience and good ideas, so I searched online. And, while searching online, I came across your post on this forum that you were working on one for your event. I was wondering if you (or anyone here) ever finalized an emergency action plan for an event and if you (or anyone) are willing to share it.

If so, I would greatly appreciate it. You can email or PM me through the forum.

Thanks much.
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Old 09-29-11, 08:43 AM   #13
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I'm contemplating a race that has one straight lined with wood barriers, kind of like the ones at the Rent. I'm not sure what kind of safety precautions to take. At the Rent one guy hit the wood barrier and broke his collarbone. In my case if I tried to barrier that one straight it would make it difficult to hold the race cost-wise, although I'm looking into it.

Ultimately I don't want anyone hurt, that's my primary goal.

Hay bales (not bails ) aren't much softer - a very good friend of mine broke his collarbone (2 places) on one hay bale and his shoulder (one big fracture) on another. Ironically the collarbone break wouldn't have happened had the promoter not stacked so many of them in front of a tree - he glanced off the hay bale but shattered his collarbone doing it. He'd have missed the tree as it were.

I was thinking air filled bags but that's difficult to monitor/maintain/etc.
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Old 09-29-11, 08:44 AM   #14
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As far as safety goes if it's a significant event you should have an ambulance on standby. Most towns have a volunteer ambulance corp - for a donation they'll sit at your event instead of sitting at a Starbucks. At least one police officer too. Then the two of them take over if anything happens.
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Old 09-29-11, 08:57 AM   #15
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In addition to the race checklist, USAC also has a medical checklist that you have to fill out to get a permit. It has questions on what type of medical support you have, where the nearest hospital is, what's the transport time, is helicopter med-evac available, transport time, etc. and places to put the phone numbers of the local hospital, ambulance, and law enforcement.

For the events I was doing at the track the procedure was pretty simple:
- send EMT to the injured rider. If it's warmup and the EMT isn't there yet, I go or one of the co-promoters goes.
- if the rider is seriously injured, someone keeps them from moving til EMT gets there-- we usually have enough medical professionals around that even if the paid EMT isn't there yet, there's a medical professional of some flavor there.
- call 911 and give them details.
- go to the infield phone and call site security to tell them we ordered the ambulance and have them lead the ambulance to the velodrome
- clear the track. this is the hardest part, as some people aren't as good as others at getting down quickly and safely, and we've had pileups on the apron in front of where riders were down. and occasionally slides in the corners when people were trying to slow down and get off.
- one person goes with a few "first report of occurrence" reports and fills them in as well as possible while the EMTs work. Additional information is copied later from the releases as well. They then go up and pull the releases for any riders in the crash and make photocopies of the occurrence reports and releases to keep, and put the originals (the reports and the releases) in a package to give to the chief ref.
- leave it to the paramedics/EMTs/ambulance people to get the person to the hospital.
For big events there's an ambulance on standby outside the building, but they usually roll a second one to pick up the injured person because the event can't restart without an ambulance on standby. If it's critical they just roll and delay the event and wait for a replacement.

In a road race it will be a little more complicated, as you'll need communication over distances, but it's the same idea. if necessary, you would stop the race (keeping track of breaks) in front of where the incident is and then restart after if possible. I've been in a crit where they stopped the race because someone who lived inside the circuit needed an ambulance-- they stopped the break and the field, let the ambulance through, and restarted with the same time gap as before.

Also, if you go over to the Furnace Creek 508 site and find the "race magazine" download it has a bunch of articles and maps and stuff, but it also has "what to do in an emergency" based on where you are on the course. It's a very long road course and doesn't have cell coverage in many areas. The magazine provides details of transport service and nearest hospitals for each different section of the course.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:08 AM   #16
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I'm contemplating a race that has one straight lined with wood barriers, kind of like the ones at the Rent. I'm not sure what kind of safety precautions to take. At the Rent one guy hit the wood barrier and broke his collarbone. In my case if I tried to barrier that one straight it would make it difficult to hold the race cost-wise, although I'm looking into it.

Ultimately I don't want anyone hurt, that's my primary goal.

Hay bales (not bails ) aren't much softer - a very good friend of mine broke his collarbone (2 places) on one hay bale and his shoulder (one big fracture) on another. Ironically the collarbone break wouldn't have happened had the promoter not stacked so many of them in front of a tree - he glanced off the hay bale but shattered his collarbone doing it. He'd have missed the tree as it were.

I was thinking air filled bags but that's difficult to monitor/maintain/etc.
I'm not sure what kind of existing wood barriers you're talking about (can you post a link?), but can you add snow fencing along the inside? It won't stop people so much as keep them from hitting anything head on as they slide along the edge. I don't put on road events, but continuous snow fencing seems like a better idea than metal barriers that have feet sticking out (and also have ends that you can run into if you displace one).

air bags would be nice but probably hard to implement-- ideally they'd probably have little pumps to keep them full, and be deliberately leaky so they'd deflate "slowly" on impact. Probably available around here from a hollywood rental company for stunt work, and maybe near NYC for you.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:15 AM   #17
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- one person goes with a few "first report of occurrence" reports and fills them in as well as possible while the EMTs work. Additional information is copied later from the releases as well. They then go up and pull the releases for any riders in the crash and make photocopies of the occurrence reports and releases to keep, and put the originals (the reports and the releases) in a package to give to the chief ref.
One more thing on this-- it can feel kind of crummy to show up at a crash and be the person who isn't helping but is doing paperwork, but the first report of occurrence is the first step in the rider being able to access the accident insurance that's provided as part of a USAC event entry. It's important that it get filled out and filed, and in a serious incident get faxed to the insurance company, especially if the rider isn't insured or is underinsured. A lot of people race without much or any insurance, and the USAC policy can help a lot. When I've been the CR, I've faxed the form over right after the race, and when I'm promoter I push on the CR to make sure the form gets in at least before business opens on monday if not the date of the incident.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:32 AM   #18
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existing wood barriers you're talking about (can you post a link?)
I'm riding past similar wood barriers.

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Old 09-29-11, 09:35 AM   #19
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ouch. those would hurt.

Rather than bales in front of them along the direction of travel, I'd put bales inside them, stood off a foot or so if possible, and run snow fencing inside that, using the bales as fenceposts. the idea would be that the riders wouldn't hit bales directly but more glancing, and they could tip back, or sliding along the snow fence. Probably not ideal, but probably better than hitting a post. Just random thoughts on barriers...
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Old 09-29-11, 09:35 AM   #20
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One more thing on this-- it can feel kind of crummy to show up at a crash and be the person who isn't helping but is doing paperwork, but the first report of occurrence is the first step in the rider being able to access the accident insurance that's provided as part of a USAC event entry. It's important that it get filled out and filed, and in a serious incident get faxed to the insurance company, especially if the rider isn't insured or is underinsured. A lot of people race without much or any insurance, and the USAC policy can help a lot. When I've been the CR, I've faxed the form over right after the race, and when I'm promoter I push on the CR to make sure the form gets in at least before business opens on monday if not the date of the incident.
This is important.

For promoters/registration folks - It's absolutely critical to have people sign the waiver and to put an emergency contact/number down.

If a rider gets knocked unconscious or semi-conscious, you need to have this kind of info around. Otherwise you have an incoherent head injured racer on your hands, some car in the parking lot, and you're twiddling your thumbs.

Finally, if a Junior is racing and they are not 18 yet, a parent/guardian has to sign the waiver. It's a big deal to be the guardian, so it's okay for a teammate/friend to sign but that means that they are open for any lawsuits etc.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:37 AM   #21
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ouch. those would hurt.

Rather than bales in front of them along the direction of travel, I'd put bales inside them, stood off a foot or so if possible, and run snow fencing inside that, using the bales as fenceposts. the idea would be that the riders wouldn't hit bales directly but more glancing, and they could tip back, or sliding along the snow fence. Probably not ideal, but probably better than hitting a post. Just random thoughts on barriers...
I was thinking the same thing, a bale at each post, then snow fencing to the bale, all under significant tension. But this would cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. I'm going to ask the town if they have resources available to do this kind of stuff. The venue I'm thinking of has events held all the time, many of them pay-for-entry, so they have this stuff up often. I just need to coincide the race with an event where all this stuff is up.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:51 AM   #22
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yeah, if you can combine it with something else that needs the same thing in a two-day event that would be ideal. The time and labor seems worse than the money-- is it that expensive to rent the fencing and bales? I've never had to deal with that for track stuff...
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Old 09-29-11, 09:57 AM   #23
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Finally, if a Junior is racing and they are not 18 yet, a parent/guardian has to sign the waiver. It's a big deal to be the guardian, so it's okay for a teammate/friend to sign but that means that they are open for any lawsuits etc.
We had a bunch of under 18 riders show up with the Guatemalan national team for a few months-- they had their act together enough to have letters assigning authority to sign to the coaches. Stuff like that is nice to see when you're at reg...

If you look through the list of suspended riders, the two leading causes of suspension are bounced checks (reg or license) and failure to sign a release. The number of suspensions related to doping or other incidents is tiny in comparison to those two.
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Old 09-29-11, 11:36 AM   #24
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The time and labor seems worse than the money-- is it that expensive to rent the fencing and bales? I've never had to deal with that for track stuff...
I'm not sure how much it would cost. For example I work for a place that sells bales of straw and hay (and the town's landscaping folks would appreciate it if I only used weed-seed-free straw), so I could borrow them for a day. We even have 100' of snow fencing so I could get more. But to do 1000' or so, that would be some bucks, and with posts every 20 feet? or so...

This would be a one day thing and I haven't done a one day. I rely on a multi week series to even out any weather issues; a one day will get killed if it rains.
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Old 09-29-11, 12:06 PM   #25
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I'm not sure how much it would cost. For example I work for a place that sells bales of straw and hay (and the town's landscaping folks would appreciate it if I only used weed-seed-free straw), so I could borrow them for a day. We even have 100' of snow fencing so I could get more. But to do 1000' or so, that would be some bucks, and with posts every 20 feet? or so...

This would be a one day thing and I haven't done a one day. I rely on a multi week series to even out any weather issues; a one day will get killed if it rains.
Yeah, 1000' could add up fast, especially if you have to do both sides of the street. If you could essentially force pre-reg it would help mitigate the weather (though then you'd have to scrape a lot of people up in the rain, and probably need the bales and fencing for sure). Tying it to another event could help a lot.
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