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Mandatory Safety Rules for Club Rides

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Mandatory Safety Rules for Club Rides

Old 06-12-16, 06:11 AM
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jwalther
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Mandatory Safety Rules for Club Rides

My local club has only one safety related requirement for club rides-everyone wears a helmet. We are considering additional rules to increase safety on our rides. Among the measures being discussed are:

1. Mandatory use of front and rear blinkys
2. Limit the number of riders in a paceline (not unusual for us to have up to a couple dozen in a double paceline).
3. Uniform paceline rotation scheme (currently at the discretion of the ride leader. Most prevalent in the club is double pull off-meaning 4 abreast for a period of time).

Any thoughts on these or other measures? What requirements, if any are imposed on your club rides? I'm a club board member, and I know this is likely to be a very controversial decision for us, and I'd like to be able bring the experiences of other clubs to to table for discussion. Thanks!
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Old 06-12-16, 06:47 AM
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While helmets are usually required by bike club insurance, any more rules will just cut down on riders, and cause arguments among members. So-----IMO more rules are not a good idea.
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Old 06-12-16, 06:58 AM
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I ride alone 99% of the time, but there are a lot of groups who ride in my area and I've noticed they tend not to use blinkies while in the group ride even when so equipped. I've always assumed that it would be very distracting to the rear riders to have a sea of blinking lights right in their eyes. Especially in evening (lower light) conditions. I'd think the enhanced visibility of the group would negate the need for blinking lights. I know it would impair my vision to have a dozen or more flashing lights in my face.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I ride alone 99% of the time, but there are a lot of groups who ride in my area and I've noticed they tend not to use blinkies while in the group ride even when so equipped. I've always assumed that it would be very distracting to the rear riders to have a sea of blinking lights right in their eyes. Especially in evening (lower light) conditions. I'd think the enhanced visibility of the group would negate the need for blinking lights. I know it would impair my vision to have a dozen or more flashing lights in my face.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jwalther View Post
..... We are considering additional rules to increase safety on our rides.
That is a very thoughtful idea... especially considering the recent crash in MI. Your heart is in the right place. But "doing something" for the mere sake of doing something can have very negative results. I'd first figure out how you can test the effect of your ideas... before just changing things for the sake of change in safety's name.

The [only] sure-fire way to eliminate all club ride injuries.... is to simply dis-ban your cycling club. No cycling club... no club ride injuries. It is a slippery slope. Maybe instead of risking injury on the roadways... your club could setup trainers in a group setting and have weekly spin classes. Then all you'd need would be Doctor's permission slips, mandatory heart monitoring, and hydration breaks. Sounds pretty safe to me!

I don't mean to sound like a smart-arse.... but cycling is a sport. I'd even add a blood sport. Injuries... some fatal injuries... are part of cycling. Mortals can not create immortality through cleaver devices and well thought out planning. Humans will get hurt. They will suffer pain, cry, have regrets, and eventually die. This is the human experience. Cycling doesn't cause this... and no amount of rules on the cycling experience will change the human experience.

Just my humble idea.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:37 AM
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If you have more rules, you have to enforce them. Who's going to do this? What happens if someone shows up without blinkies? What happens if you exceed your self-imposed paceline limit and riders go down and someone gets hurt. Do they sue the club for failure to enforce its own rules and this contributed to the injuries?

I don't know the answers to all of these. I am a board member and I do know telling riders what to do is much like herding cats. We strongly recommend a helmet, but that's the extent of our rules.
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Old 06-12-16, 12:58 PM
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In our club helmet use is mandatory but nothing else is. My personal belief is that a gear solution to increase safety will not add to safety. I believe that since we are so vulnerable on bikes a level of awareness in necessary that is beyond the level of awareness usually needed in everyday life. I do additional exercises to maintain physical fitness besides just riding the bike and similarly I believe extra awareness on the bike can be cultivated. Out club newsletter frequently has various tips from nutrition to training as well as safety. For new riders, the club as ride leaders to introduce good procedures related to safety.
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Old 06-12-16, 02:22 PM
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Other then helmets, you don't need any more rules. Many will see this as a power grab.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:02 PM
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My team requires you to wear a helmet and ride safely. Also: don't be a jerk.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:08 PM
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The club I used to ride with enforces a strict single-file policy when a motorized vehicle is approaching from behind (or even from the other direction on a two-lane road.) I would do this one better by imposing a constant single-file rule, except in the event of passing. Not only do I think single-file is critical in maintaining cyclist order and safety in a group, but it is also my strong recommendation that everyone ride as far-to-the-right as possible.
Those who feel it is their right and/or duty to ride in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic, are having a disastrous effect on road cyclists' reputation in regards to motorists.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:14 PM
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I haven't been around large group rides, but I could imagine it could be difficult for a car to pass 50 riders. So, if a large group showed up, perhaps there would be a way to split it up a bit. Rule? Or just standard for ride leaders?

As far as the Kalamazoo incident, if a driver can't see a group of 9 bicycles ahead of him, I don't think blinky lights would help. He just shouldn't have been on the road.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:22 PM
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One of the things I really miss here in the states is that the bike shops don't run casual weekend rides. I enjoyed getting together with others, there were usually 40-50 attendies, and riding to some point of interest, total distance was typically about. We would then have lunch, frequently a mid day nap, and then ride back in a more scatted group. They were usually about 70 -80 miles total and not focused on training. They were just fun rides.

As far as rules, the only rules were helmets.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
The club I used to ride with enforces a strict single-file policy when a motorized vehicle is approaching from behind (or even from the other direction on a two-lane road.) I would do this one better by imposing a constant single-file rule, except in the event of passing. Not only do I think single-file is critical in maintaining cyclist order and safety in a group, but it is also my strong recommendation that everyone ride as far-to-the-right as possible.
Those who feel it is their right and/or duty to ride in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic, are having a disastrous effect on road cyclists' reputation in regards to motorists.
as far right as 'possible'...uh, no.

as far right as 'practical' is the safety standard in most locales. curb-hugging is not a good riding technique.

I'd avoid riding with any group that mandated that practice.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
as far right as 'possible'...uh, no.

as far right as 'practical' is the safety standard in most locales. curb-hugging is not a good riding technique.

I'd avoid riding with any group that mandated that practice.
As far to the right as possilble Duh, no.

If it is possible, then it would also be practical, now, wouldn't it? That's just a dumb word game you're playing.

Curb "hugging"? Would you care to be more specific about what "hugging" a curb is like?
I would strongly urge everyone to keep a safe distance from all curbs (at least 18"). A pedal hitting a curb can kill you.

Those who are "afraid of punctures" and do not have enough faith in their ability to ride a clean line next to a shoulder, riding in a way to obstruct traffic, are the reason we are becoming hated. I am begging you (and those like you) to re-consider your technique.
Slow Traffic Stay Right.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:58 PM
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More rules = more dissent = more arguments. Personally, if there are more than one or two rules (i.e. wear a helmet, let the leader know if you plan to leave the ride), I'll just ride alone. And I really don't like following someone with a blinky. It's annoying and distracting.
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Old 06-12-16, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
As far to the right as possilble Duh, no.

If it is possible, then it would also be practical, now, wouldn't it? That's just a dumb word game you're playing.

Curb "hugging"? Would you care to be more specific about what "hugging" a curb is like?
I would strongly urge everyone to keep a safe distance from all curbs (at least 18"). A pedal hitting a curb can kill you.

Those who are "afraid of punctures" and do not have enough faith in their ability to ride a clean line next to a shoulder, riding in a way to obstruct traffic, are the reason we are becoming hated. I am begging you (and those like you) to re-consider your technique.
Slow Traffic Stay Right.
possible and practical are two completely different conditions. consult a dictionary if you're still confused.

it's possible to ride in the debris field near the curb, experienced riders don't do that tho.

and while we're at it, the single file rule based on oncoming traffic doesn't make any sense either.

I ride to protect myself, not win popularity contests with motorists. suggest you do the same.
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Old 06-12-16, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
As far to the right as possilble Duh, no.

If it is possible, then it would also be practical, now, wouldn't it? That's just a dumb word game you're playing.

Curb "hugging"? Would you care to be more specific about what "hugging" a curb is like?
I would strongly urge everyone to keep a safe distance from all curbs (at least 18"). A pedal hitting a curb can kill you.

Those who are "afraid of punctures" and do not have enough faith in their ability to ride a clean line next to a shoulder, riding in a way to obstruct traffic, are the reason we are becoming hated. I am begging you (and those like you) to re-consider your technique.
Slow Traffic Stay Right.
The wording for lane position in the states I have resided in is "Practicable", which implies safe (some even say "safe and practicable"). Most states also state that the requirement is waived for substandard width lanes. The general definition of a substandard width lane is one in which it is not safe for a motor vehicle to pass a cyclist while remaining fully in the lane. While that width is subject to differences of opinion, LAB puts it at 14 feet. Oregon arguably puts it wider with its requirement that motorists give cyclists room to fall in a passing vehicle's direction.

Including your recomendation of 1.5' to the road edge and adding in two feet of cyclist width, a three foot buffer to a passing car and seven feet for the car, that 14 feet is looking like what you would go with as well. The question then becomes what to do when the lane is too narrow for a motorist to safely pass a cyclist.

If the price of discouraging unsafe passing by motorists is to be hated, and I think you are wrong about this, then I'm content to be hated. It became clear to me many hundreds of thousands of miles and decades ago that riding the fog line was a recipe for disaster.
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Old 06-12-16, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
While helmets are usually required by bike club insurance, any more rules will just cut down on riders, and cause arguments among members. So-----IMO more rules are not a good idea.
I don't think so. When my club got its insurance through LAB, which is pretty common, helmets were not required by the insurance. The other local club lost a huge number of members when one of the board members objected to the helmet requirement and pointed out that the insurance did not require helmets. Other riders quit in protest of the helmet requirement.

Policy requirements could have changed since I last looked, but this insurance requirement thing was always a myth. Have you checked recently?
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Old 06-12-16, 06:13 PM
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Depending on where your ride, limiting the size of your paceline or only allowing single pacelines on narrow roads may be appropriate. A double paceline with four abreast is probably illegal on public roads in most locations. ND, SD and MN both specify no more than two abreast and you must go single file if you are impeding traffic by riding abreast. Limiting the size of pacelines also limits the number of potential riders in a pileup or collision and decreases passing time for motorists.

I agree with several others, too many rules, especially those that don't genuinely improve safety, will kill your club rides, but that doesn't mean that there aren't improvements that can be made.
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Old 06-12-16, 06:44 PM
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1) wear a helmet
2) no wheel overlap
3) no aero bars in the paceline and you must have plugs at the end of your bars
4) no snot rockets or spitting until you're at the back
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Old 06-12-16, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
The club I used to ride with enforces a strict single-file policy when a motorized vehicle is approaching from behind (or even from the other direction on a two-lane road.) ....
As both a drive and a rider, I completely disagree. This might work on roads where there is room to pass a FRAP rider safely within the lane, but around here we never see that kind of lane width. Riding FRAP would just encourage unsafe passing. And create a line so long that the opportunities for a safe pass would be eliminated. We have a lot of groups riding in the area where I live and I encounter them frequently. Riding 3 abreast and taking the entire lane allows the group to be less spread out, making it possible to pass when the few limited opportunities arise. I just don't think single file group rides would be safer at all. And as a rider, I'm not relinquishing the lane unless it's safe to pass. I try not to encourage a 'squeeze' pass as it isn't safe for anyone.
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Old 06-12-16, 06:49 PM
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You asked about safety rules. It's my experience that large groups who ride in pace lines are not really interested in safety, but...
All riders need to use a mirror.
Do not ride in pace lines - or at least give the rider in front plenty of space (same logic one would use in a car, don't ride someone's bumper.)
If you're in a pace line, why do you need blinky lights? Who are they for?
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Old 06-12-16, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
The club I used to ride with enforces a strict single-file policy when a motorized vehicle is approaching from behind (or even from the other direction on a two-lane road.) I would do this one better by imposing a constant single-file rule, except in the event of passing. Not only do I think single-file is critical in maintaining cyclist order and safety in a group, but it is also my strong recommendation that everyone ride as far-to-the-right as possible.
Those who feel it is their right and/or duty to ride in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic, are having a disastrous effect on road cyclists' reputation in regards to motorists.
Single file riding can be more hazardous than a double line. One, a double line is more visible. Two, a double line of bicycles takes up ONE-HALF the length of road that a single file does and that makes passing safer as the time take to pass the bicycles is one-half that of a single file. To prevent holding up traffic the bicyclists if in a large group can break the group up into smaller groups and maintain a certain distance between those smaller groups.

Cheers
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Old 06-12-16, 10:01 PM
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No headphones
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Old 06-13-16, 03:29 PM
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The club I ride with limits group size. The Quebec highway code limits the size of groups to 15, we go a bit farther and limit the size of groups on club rides to 12. However, from experience we find that 8-10 is optimal. The groups tend to be more matched for strength and less likely to ride in an unsafe manner. It is also possible to match riders according to their riding styles. Some groups tend to be more competitive, some more cooperative. A smaller group is also more agile on the road, if we need to single out it can be done faster and communication in a smaller group is easier. We also require new members to go to an early season riding clinic where we teach them how to be safe on the road and how to be considerate of the other riders in the group. We can also assess their ability and suggest what sort of group they should ride with
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