Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

Where should a SAG wagon for a small group drive?

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

Where should a SAG wagon for a small group drive?

Old 12-15-20, 02:12 PM
  #1  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
Where should a SAG wagon for a small group drive?

Ok, so there is another thread about a series of events that went horribly wrong.
NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

And, another group that was hit in Kalamazoo when the driver was so impaired that there was no safe place to ride on, or even near the road. A support vehicle may or may not have created a buffer.

We don't have all the details in the Nevada incident yet, but we know that there were riders, and a SAG/Support vehicle that ended up in the middle of the group.

They were riding along a divided state highway that had a narrow, but generally rideable shoulder, and fast moving traffic lanes.

I don't think I'll make this as a poll, but leave this as a general opinion topic. Say vehicle is accompanying a tight nit group that is generally spread out over less than a mile. A large organized "Century Ride" with riders spread out over dozens of miles would be different. In Nevada, it was a 4-lane divided highway with moderate shoulders.

Around here, most of the cycling routes would be 2-lane roads and traffic in both directions, some with wide shoulders, some without.

So, some suggestions:
.
  • Drive as much on the shoulder as possible, even if that means running over rumbles, perhaps a wheel on the dirt, and occasionally dodging reflectors and signs.
  • Drive straddling the rumble strips or fog line. 1 or 2 feet of the car on the road.
  • Drive fully in a traffic lane (4 lane road, or 2 lane road).
  • Hop Scotch. Pass cyclists and park somewhere. Wait for them to catch up, and move ahead again. Or, do so from behind. No "Shield" function, although one could carry a "cyclists ahead" banner if in the rear.
.
We are all seeing the woes of driving in the middle of a group. Although at this time, we can't say whether the Nevada accident would have been worse or not if the SAG vehicle was not with the group at all.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 11:34 AM
  #2  
Notso_fastLane
Senior Member
 
Notso_fastLane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Layton, UT
Posts: 1,562

Bikes: 2011 Bent TW Elegance 2014 Carbon Strada Velomobile

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 397 Posts
The car should be behind the group, for sure. That was the only real big mistake I think this group made.

As for lane positioning. In the scenario being discussed, I'd say the car should be as far right as practical, in this case, probably straddling the rumble strips. I would have put some sort of sign on the vehicle warning that there are riders ahead and may be spread out.

In general, the SAG vehicle has two functions:
1) carrying spares, food, etc that is too heavy for the riders to carry.
2) Provide a large, visible buffer between upcoming traffic and the bike riders.

On a wider should, the car could potentially be completely in the shoulder, right of the fog line. If it's that wide (on a highway) that's what I would recommend. Hazard lights should be considered a given, with some additional indication that it isn't just a stopped/slow moving vehicle and that there are riders ahead.
Notso_fastLane is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 02:36 PM
  #3  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
That would probably be my choice. I might even drive on the rumbles or on the gravel, but it could be an awful long drive that way.

One of the points that I make about riding as far right as possible is that evasive action of overtaking vehicles can be less severe, and two cars could even move over a little to safely get past.

Straddling the fog line does have the issue that a driver coming up on the vehicle from behind at high speed may assume the vehicle is fully off the road when in fact it is not.

As a cyclist, hard to say if I would jump on a bumper for a nip of a draft. Of course they also had group drafting, so only moderate benefit from drafting behind the car. Even if drafting behind the car, I would have chosen to be off the roadway.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 02:48 PM
  #4  
OPC
°Pura Vida!
 
OPC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 295

Bikes: '92 Bianchi Eros, '05 Bianchi Virata, Electra Straight 8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
I think an additional consideration is the gap between the last rider and the SAG. A high-speed rear-end collision will push that SAG forward a considerable distance.

I would vote for SAG straddling the rumble strips, hazard lights on, mounted with a tall flag like what off-road vehicles use in the dunes or orange triangle like used by farm vehicles, and at least six (?) car lengths back from the last rider. Honestly, I don't know what a safe distance would be. Just throwing out a number for discussion.
__________________
--Josť
'92 Bianchi Eros
'05 Bianchi Virata
'08 Electra Straight 8 Cruiser
OPC is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 04:17 PM
  #5  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,190

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 511 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
I'd say the car should be as far right as practical, in this case, probably straddling the rumble strips.
Being even partially in a travel lane sounds like a very bad idea in 75 mph traffic.
UniChris is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 04:34 PM
  #6  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
I will say that police officers tend to like to park so their vehicle extends beyond the vehicle in front of them, even into the travel lanes. Of course, they have a lot more lights than the typical SAG vehicle with hazards on.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-16-20, 04:39 PM
  #7  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
Obviously know the local laws for road travel. Some freeways have a posted minimum speed. If bicycles are allowed on the shoulders, the SAG might also be allowed on the shoulder.

Nevada has a problem that parts of Nevada have relatively few paved secondary roads, so there are a lot of high speed highways that cyclists have to contend with. That appears to be worse in the south than in the north.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 12:11 PM
  #8  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 1,184

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S, Nashbar 3sp commuter

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Liked 437 Times in 248 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Ok, so there is another thread about a series of events that went horribly wrong.
NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

And, another group that was hit in Kalamazoo when the driver was so impaired that there was no safe place to ride on, or even near the road. A support vehicle may or may not have created a buffer.

We don't have all the details in the Nevada incident yet, but we know that there were riders, and a SAG/Support vehicle that ended up in the middle of the group.

They were riding along a divided state highway that had a narrow, but generally rideable shoulder, and fast moving traffic lanes.

I don't think I'll make this as a poll, but leave this as a general opinion topic. Say vehicle is accompanying a tight nit group that is generally spread out over less than a mile. A large organized "Century Ride" with riders spread out over dozens of miles would be different. In Nevada, it was a 4-lane divided highway with moderate shoulders.

Around here, most of the cycling routes would be 2-lane roads and traffic in both directions, some with wide shoulders, some without.

So, some suggestions:
.
  • Drive as much on the shoulder as possible, even if that means running over rumbles, perhaps a wheel on the dirt, and occasionally dodging reflectors and signs.
  • Drive straddling the rumble strips or fog line. 1 or 2 feet of the car on the road.
  • Drive fully in a traffic lane (4 lane road, or 2 lane road).
  • Hop Scotch. Pass cyclists and park somewhere. Wait for them to catch up, and move ahead again. Or, do so from behind. No "Shield" function, although one could carry a "cyclists ahead" banner if in the rear.
.
We are all seeing the woes of driving in the middle of a group. Although at this time, we can't say whether the Nevada accident would have been worse or not if the SAG vehicle was not with the group at all.
SAG car should be behind the entire group, hazards on*, and completely in the lane, because that's where traffic approaching from behind expect to see a car. If the SAG occupies the lane, passing traffic will have to completely change lane to pass the group.
*Given that the SAG in this instance is traveling ~20 mph on a 75 mph highway, maybe some accessory rooftop lights mightn't be a bad idea, assuming such things are legal etc

Last edited by Litespud; 12-17-20 at 12:25 PM.
Litespud is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 01:24 PM
  #9  
Notso_fastLane
Senior Member
 
Notso_fastLane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Layton, UT
Posts: 1,562

Bikes: 2011 Bent TW Elegance 2014 Carbon Strada Velomobile

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 397 Posts
Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Being even partially in a travel lane sounds like a very bad idea in 75 mph traffic.
Oh, I agree, but it's probably the least bad of several bad options.
Notso_fastLane is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 07:02 PM
  #10  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,190

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 511 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Being even partially in a travel lane sounds like a very bad idea in 75 mph traffic.
Oh, I agree, but it's probably the least bad of several bad options.
If the cyclists can ride a narrow paved shoulder out of the travel lane where the car won't fit, then:

One better option would be for the SAG to wait pulled entirely off the roadway, and then every 15 minutes or so (or if summoned) use a travel lane at traffic speeds to catch up and then pull over again in the next safe spot.

Another if there's this kind of gravel shoulder and a sufficiently rugged vehicle would be to follow the group on that.
UniChris is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 07:19 PM
  #11  
Joe Bikerider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 546

Bikes: 1969 Peugeot PX10, 1992 Della Santa, Biria Easy Boarding 8, Linus Roadster 8

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 351 Post(s)
Liked 167 Times in 96 Posts
To me, sag means come along later and help out as needed. This arrangement was not safe at all. If you look at how races like the TDC are run there are cars ahead and then far behind the riders. If this event canít do that then itís just not safe. And why are they riding on a high speed road with rumble stripes on the shoulder anyway? In all the articles Iíve read none have mentioned the name of this event. Was there a sponsor or just a yearly event by some buddies? Sad.

Further comment: This event was being run halfway between an all out road race and a club ride. Very sad result but maybe a lesson. The riders would have been safer on another road with no support cars.

Last edited by Joe Bikerider; 12-17-20 at 07:28 PM.
Joe Bikerider is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 11:22 PM
  #12  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
Originally Posted by Joe Bikerider View Post
To me, sag means come along later and help out as needed. This arrangement was not safe at all. If you look at how races like the TDC are run there are cars ahead and then far behind the riders. If this event canít do that then itís just not safe. And why are they riding on a high speed road with rumble stripes on the shoulder anyway? In all the articles Iíve read none have mentioned the name of this event. Was there a sponsor or just a yearly event by some buddies? Sad.

Further comment: This event was being run halfway between an all out road race and a club ride. Very sad result but maybe a lesson. The riders would have been safer on another road with no support cars.
The Grand Tour pro bicycle races are a mess. I think there may be more cars and motorcycles on the road than bicycles. And, while not particularly mixed in the Peloton, they do drive around any leading or trailing groups of cyclists. But, those are done on closed courses with all bikes and vehicles on the road being associated with the race in one way or another.

Most of those riders are also doing thousands and thousands of miles of group training rides, and I would imagine most of the rides have some kind of group support vehicles with them. So, support vehicles have to be an issue that comes up with certain groups.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-17-20, 11:34 PM
  #13  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,190

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 511 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by Joe Bikerider View Post
And why are they riding on a high speed road with rumble stripes on the shoulder anyway?
The riders would have been safer on another road
There may not really be much choice of routing short of thinking of an entirely different ride.

I'm not sure that the danger in riding to the right of the rumble strips on that road is any greater than in other sorts of road rides. Yes, speeds are high, but the point of the rumble strips is to make crossing them a very unusual/intentional action, so absent weather issues, mechanical failures, etc there would seem very little reason for car bike conflict in between intersections.

Taking the lane on an ordinary road requires drivers to actively respond; taking the shoulder across a rumble strip merely requires that they just keep going.

with no support cars.
This seems like where things may have gone wrong

- perhaps in forgetting the slower moving or stopped vehicles get hit fairly frequently (even if the occupants may be protected enough to survive)
- perhaps in not realizing how far a car can be pushed in a collision
- perhaps in making riding decisions based on the presence of the car, that wouldn't be made without it

I also can't help but wonder if the decision to draft the car was something thought up in the moment on the ride, rather than a considered part of the original plan. And if so, if it changed the lane use strategy.

It would be interesting too, to know what traffic volume was like. If the road felt empty, that could have also impacted thinking on both sides.
UniChris is offline  
Old 12-28-20, 01:42 PM
  #14  
63rickert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,760
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 887 Post(s)
Liked 216 Times in 163 Posts
Is it legal in Nevada to drive a motor vehicle 20mph on a posted 75mph highway?

A sag wagon is there to pick up riders who can’t finish, provide water, maybe food, possibly will have spare wheels, tools, etc. What is being discussed seems to be about an escort vehicle, not a sag. Asking a sag driver to be responsible as a traffic barrier— if an event promoter asked me to do such a thing I would think they were nuts.

A sag wagon doing what sag wagons normally do will drive at normal road speed, stop ten minutes safely on shoulder, get back on road until in sight of group, then pull over again.
63rickert is offline  
Likes For 63rickert:
Old 12-28-20, 02:09 PM
  #15  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Is it legal in Nevada to drive a motor vehicle 20mph on a posted 75mph highway?
I tried to look up freeway requirements.

NYT: 5 cyclists killed near Las Vegas

As far as I can tell, most western states don't have a minimum freeway speed.

In Oregon, there has been a discussion about driving trucks on hills, and where it is best to drive.

Nevada has an issue with insufficient frontage roads (other states also have places with limited alternatives to the freeway), and thus one might anticipate slow moving heavy equipment on the freeway at times.

For the Nevada cyclists, there is absolutely no way I would ride a bicycle solo in the middle of a freeway lane, except for perhaps short distances carefully getting around an obstruction.

In hindsight, drafting a vehicle at 15 MPH in a traffic lane seems like a very stupid idea. I can't say if I would have done that, but I'd like to think not.

I have thought about my little Fiat 500 as a SAG Wagon. At about 4 feet wide, It would be comfortable driving at 15 MPH on the shoulder. Not much capacity for bikes and riders unless I had a trailer for it. Nonetheless, it isn't designed to take a 75 MPH hit from the rear.

Perhaps the Cinquecento Limo???
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-28-20, 06:37 PM
  #16  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,067
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1125 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 270 Times in 157 Posts
On the few occasions I've seen group rides with with escort vehicles around here, the riders and the vehicles ride in the traffic lane. The trailing car(s) leave a reasonable space between themselves and the riders. Seems to me like the best way to do it.
jon c. is offline  
Old 12-29-20, 12:30 PM
  #17  
UCantTouchThis
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 142 Post(s)
Liked 339 Times in 161 Posts
Riding a rideable shoulder?

Then WHY impede traffic? If the group didn't have the false security of a support vehicle, they may have been riding on the shoulder single file which would have saved their lives.

I've ridden with support vehicles many times and they did not shadow the riders. They pulled ahead and off the highway as mentioned by another poster earlier and kept track of the riders.

No need to impeded traffic. Also have done many mountain roads with a support vehicle that did the same and there was not one single rider abandoned in a group of 30.

I can't imagine the support vehicle straddling the shoulder on a mountain road impeding traffic doing 10 mph behind riders. That is a disaster waiting to happen.
UCantTouchThis is offline  
Old 12-30-20, 09:06 AM
  #18  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,254

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 861 Times in 487 Posts
Would it even be legal for a support vehicle to straddle the fog line? I don't know about most states, but where I live that can get you a ticket for "failure to maintain a lane of traffic."
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 12-30-20, 11:10 AM
  #19  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 5,650

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2191 Post(s)
Liked 928 Times in 697 Posts
I'd be more concerned with the qualifications of the driver than where the vehicle is. I'm sure that some organizations that sanction and/or insure such events have either something to say or maybe some say nothing. Even when they do, how well do the event promoters follow that guidance. Probably gets pretty lax till something like this happens.

And for this particular horror, most of it should be on the vehicle that hit the cyclist's and SAG vehicle.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 12-30-20, 12:11 PM
  #20  
CliffordK
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,968
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13047 Post(s)
Liked 1,730 Times in 1,309 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'd be more concerned with the qualifications of the driver than where the vehicle is. I'm sure that some organizations that sanction and/or insure such events have either something to say or maybe some say nothing. Even when they do, how well do the event promoters follow that guidance. Probably gets pretty lax till something like this happens.

And for this particular horror, most of it should be on the vehicle that hit the cyclist's and SAG vehicle.

I think there may be more scrutiny among vehicles accompanying pro cyclists.


However, I'd have to imagine with a group of a couple dozen friends, the "support vehicle" would have been driven by a spouse or coworker.

Hopefully most charity century rides at least have an associated training course for their staff including SAG drivers. Although, most tend to roam rather than accompanying a single group.

Years ago I was on a bike-a-thon which had a pilot car, and I did draft it some, but definitely not down the middle of the freeway.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-30-20, 12:24 PM
  #21  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 5,650

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2191 Post(s)
Liked 928 Times in 697 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Hopefully most charity century rides at least have an associated training course for their staff including SAG drivers. Although, most tend to roam rather than accompanying a single group.
I very much doubt they do. At least for the majority. I might believe that for the more popular charity events where big name organizers and sponsors are involved there might be something. But probably just a lecture on what to do and not do.

As for the TdF and other fully professional rides, there is some training involved for drivers and certifications required if I remember correctly. With the requirements of team support and having to move up and back in the peloton along with cars and motorcycles almost in greater numbers than the number of riders it's not surprising there will be incidents no matter how well trained drivers and cyclists are educated on the dangers.
Iride01 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.