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How would YOU make racing more safe?

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How would YOU make racing more safe?

Old 05-18-10, 05:51 AM
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carpediemracing
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How would YOU make racing more safe?

What would you say would help riders race more safely?

Although there's a comment about officials not caring (in the bicycling magazine doping thread), some actually do. NEBRA does too - to the point they "annointed" (their word) a racer to come up with something to improve rider safety.

That individual has a blank slate on how to approach this idea, the financial backing of the association for any expenses (within reason), the association website, etc.

I hate to admit it but that someone is me. I don't know what to do, but I was thinking of the following:
1. "Rules" or philosophy, i.e. how to approach racing.
2. Common mistakes/errors (FAQ so to speak). More specific than the philosophy thing. Like don't swerve out before swerving into a corner.
3. Pictures or videos of good and bad examples of riding.
4. Clinics. Or videos of clinics so clubs can hold their own.

I wanted to schedule a series of clinic meetings (6 weeks of 1-1.5 hours each) but failed to get my ass in gear. So I need to do something else (maybe combined with a later clinic).

How did you learn how to ride in a group? How did you learn what you were doing wrong? Who taught you and how?

Etc etc.

cdr
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Old 05-18-10, 05:55 AM
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I think removal of all cash prizes would make amateur racing more safe.
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Old 05-18-10, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
I think removal of all cash prizes would make amateur racing more safe.
or at least setting them at a token amount, i.e. $10 for 1st, 9$ for 2nd, 8$ for 3rd, etc.
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Old 05-18-10, 05:59 AM
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I'd rather they spent the money on a nice trophy or winner's jersey, or perhaps just reduce the entry fee by the amount of the purse.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:04 AM
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lower the fees, drop the jerseys, have a token purse, and maybe trophies.

ok.

i've posted enough about this in the past, hell i posted about it yesterday. i'm no fan of big payouts. they turn people into idiots.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:04 AM
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I used to think that, though I find now that prize money enters the equation when picking which race to do. That said, I do prefer winning jerseys....trophies are usually cheesy.

CDR more suspensions would help
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Old 05-18-10, 06:06 AM
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this is why I think they could take the 400$ purse and put it toward a real brass trophy with mahogany base or something.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:20 AM
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As a Cat 4, I'd rather have a trophy than money. But that's neither here nor there.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I used to think that, though I find now that prize money enters the equation when picking which race to do. That said, I do prefer winning jerseys....trophies are usually cheesy.

CDR more suspensions would help
Suspensions based on what ? Most disputes are "He said, she said" arguments with no real way to determine fault.

Crashes often happen in the middle of a race due to inattention, poor handling etc, and are not caused by prize money.

(Not that I have any better ideas so far)
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Old 05-18-10, 06:23 AM
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one of my biggest payouts was for 2nd place in the P/1/2/3 lou maltese memorial.

i can still remember the disappointment i felt when i heard that they weren't giving away trophies that year.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Suspensions based on what ? Most disputes are "He said, she said" arguments with no real way to determine fault.
ok
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Old 05-18-10, 06:29 AM
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How about proactive stuff?

At the NEBRA meeting the various concerns seemed to be:
"Well, open Masters shouldn't have Cat 5s in them, or Cat 5s should be separate, because the less experienced riders are so dangerous."
"Well, open Women shouldn't have Cat 4s in them, or Cat 4s should be separate, because the less experienced riders are so dangerous."
Repeat for Juniors.

I'm not saying that's the case (almost all of the crashes at Bethel this year happened in the P123s), but the feeling is that Cat 5 men and Cat 4 women are not as "pack savvy" as more experienced racers. How do you fix that? Riding clinics? Rules?

I want to have carrots and sticks. Good things and bad. Nice cop, bad cop. Etc.

I agree money brings out some of the mercenaries. So do big trophies though and jerseys (cognitive dissonance).
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Old 05-18-10, 06:37 AM
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send everyone to bike school!

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Old 05-18-10, 06:43 AM
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Is it possible that there is no way to make bike racing "safer"? It seems to me that some of the worst carnage happens in the pro races. Those guys must have all the necessary pack skills etc.

I still think taking the payouts away will reduce the stupid factor.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:49 AM
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in theory, yes.

in practice, i've seen mass pile ups occur when 40-50 year old men were sprinting for €2.
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Old 05-18-10, 06:53 AM
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For many crits it's primes and prizes that set a FAST safe pace in the 4s. This could be cash or merchandise probably, the bigger the better as far as setting a fast/safe pace in technical crits.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:27 AM
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Lack of cash doesn't reduce crashes. Florida races are low on payouts but guys will kill each other for series points.
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Old 05-18-10, 07:45 AM
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Early season clinics at crits.

Before the cat 5 race, or even part of it, have everyone roll around at controlled speeds (~20) and practice moving up and down the field while going around the course, noticing the squeezes on corners. Teach people how and when to communicate vocally and by a touch of the hip. Better yet, in order to be a USAC club you need to promote a race, make promoting a training clinic a part of the requirement as well.

In order to disseminate it to people not involved in clubs you could produce a training video. To get your license you could "require" people to watch before hitting the pay button, which will end up as a strong recommendation. I'd imagine most newbs would watch it if it was less than 5 minutes long.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:09 AM
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Guys will kill each other here for rec league softball wins. Put 30 guys together competing for something and the prizes don't matter.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Lack of cash doesn't reduce crashes. Florida races are low on payouts but guys will kill each other for series points.
Amen. Last weekend was a prime example.

No two people are going to have the same abilities (talking skill or more precicely the ability to change bad habits or misconceptions), but I would include mandatory clinics for new racers that stress pack handling skills i.e. what you don't do.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:19 AM
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I'm not sure you can make racing any safer. The only suggestions I can think of is something along the lines of widespread and well attended clinics that teach cornering, pack skills, and basic racing etiquette to the Cat 5s and put out more officials around the course (crit) or traveling with the pack (RR) to enforce things like centerline and straight line sprinting and back up those enforcements with relegations.

For instance, due to some relegations and lots of warnings in the last few years, OBRA races now have a very low incidence of yellow line violations in our road races. Last weekend I had the officials car come up along side me simply for riding the yellow line too much. I wasn't even in violation; I got a warning even though I was only threatening to go over the yellow. One of my first road races, one of the guys got frustrated with not being able to get to the front, so he attacked over the yellow from way in the back. He went off the front, immediately the official car went up around us, and next we saw of him he was off his bike standing by the side of the road waiting for us to pass so he could turn around and head back to the start.

But I suspect the real answer is:
1) There will always be some level of risk. Any time you have humans (and especially males) competing for some prize in any arena, you will get injuries. There are weekly races at the velodrome and a car race track here; two of the safest venues you can possibly imagine. But they both produce more than their fair share of bad crashes across all categories, from the Cat 5s to the 1/2/3s to even the woman's races.

2) You can put on all the clinics you want and load the Cat 5s up with mock races and experience requirements like they do at the velodrome, but the fact of the matter is that the real way to keep risks at a minimum in the lower Cats is to grow the sport both at the amateur and the domestic pro levels so that even the noobs know, at least in theory, about what is going on. When you are at the point when little kids are imitating the pros they see on TV in their neighborhood streets, everyone grows up kind of knowing what's going on. Not that that's going to happen anytime soon in the US, but it can't hurt for bike racing to connect more to the general community and get it out in front of the non-racer crowds more often.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:21 AM
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It seems that if NEBRA or anyone else is serious about this, the first thing to do would be to collect some data about what really makes races more dangerous than necessary and then try to come up with fixes to those issues.

Is it inexperienced riders?
Maybe, but there are plenty of crashes in all categories up to pro.

Is it lack of bike handling skills?
Maybe, but some of the best riders I know get into crashes regularly in races.

Is it the payout?
Maybe, but people would probably sprint just as hard for 15th place without money involved.

Collect the data however you want to start-video, rider interviews, review of number and severity of crashes and where they happened, etc. Evaluate, see if you can come up with patterns, work on solutions from there.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:24 AM
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I don't see much in the way of solutions except for suspensions for willfully or excessively dangerous riding; as a bunch of people have pointed out, reducing or eliminating purses isn't necessarily going to chill people out.

There needs to be some clear rules in place and a system to prevent abuse in order to appropriately punish dangerous riding without penalizing innocent mistakes. For example, if a rider has a bobble in a Cat 5 or Cat 4 race and momentarily swings wide, and another rider freaks out and crashes, I wouldn't consider that a suspendable offense on the part of the bobbler. Bike racing does have some inherent risk, and being prepared to deal with errors in handling should come with the territory.

The idea is to get the guys who ride like the one who took CDR out, not to punish Cat 5s and Cat 4s for being Cat 5s and 4s. But how to do that, I don't really know.

EDIT: What I'm saying is that lack of handling skills per se should not be a suspendable offense. It's crazy to punish novices for being novices. Mistakes happen. Bike racing involves risk. It's willful contribution to increased risk that should not be tolerated.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:26 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
What would you say would help riders race more safely?

Although there's a comment about officials not caring (in the bicycling magazine doping thread), some actually do. NEBRA does too - to the point they "annointed" (their word) a racer to come up with something to improve rider safety.

That individual has a blank slate on how to approach this idea, the financial backing of the association for any expenses (within reason), the association website, etc.

I hate to admit it but that someone is me. I don't know what to do, but I was thinking of the following:
1. "Rules" or philosophy, i.e. how to approach racing.
2. Common mistakes/errors (FAQ so to speak). More specific than the philosophy thing. Like don't swerve out before swerving into a corner.
3. Pictures or videos of good and bad examples of riding.
4. Clinics. Or videos of clinics so clubs can hold their own.

I wanted to schedule a series of clinic meetings (6 weeks of 1-1.5 hours each) but failed to get my ass in gear. So I need to do something else (maybe combined with a later clinic).

How did you learn how to ride in a group? How did you learn what you were doing wrong? Who taught you and how?

Etc etc.

cdr
-license requirement of completing annual # of clinics that = your license. i.e. cat 5 does 5 clinics annually or license is suspended. cat 1 does 1/yr. kind of silly sounding but I know cat 1s who got there on horsepower and scare the shet out of alot of folks with goofy riding/handling habits, alternatively, cat 1s and 2s required to mentor at a clinic as a license requirement.

-team requirement to host a clinic annually, either open to outside or intraclub.

-teams that permit categories 3->5 requirement to have mentor program where a 1 or 2 is assigned a 3->5 to mentor on race. formalize and document it.

lots of details to work out, but imo, those would be great steps to at least making racers more competent. i'm informally mentoring a jr. and a cat 3 on my team right now, and i've learned as much as i've taught, or maybe "re-remembered" some things.

keeping in mind that crashes happen in the pro tour, so no matter what is formalized, crashes including silly and severe ones will continue to happen, but possibly some would be mitigated.

i rarely if ever know the payout of a race, and frankly, have never gave a bigger effort for the coin at the end. maybe that's skewed because i'm pushing 40 and have gainful employment.
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Old 05-18-10, 08:28 AM
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And for crits, I have no idea why it's not part of the tradition, but a neutral lap, like in mass start racing on the track, would perhaps let everyone get settled and in racing mode before the race takes off.
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