Cycling Safety and Etiquette At this point in the season most of us are seeing real gains in our fitness and are ignoring some of the basics.
ALL OF US: from seasoned racers to novice recreational riders, benefit from brushing up on our basics. I have linked the Video's from GrandFondo Canada because they do a great job going over the key points on riding safe in a group. It is narrated by Alex Stieda, a former Canadian Pro Cyclist that rode in the 1986 TDF.
Helmets are MANDATORY.
Obey the rules of the road. Conduct yourself with the same consideration as you would expect from any other road user, particularly motorists. Aggressive behaviour and gestures by cyclists will alienate motorists and could lead to endangering other cyclists. Know and use all the basic hand signals.
- Traffic: Lead rider must take responsibility for those behind when approaching turns, intersections, transitions from multi-lane to single-lane etc.
- Traffic lights and stop signs: Do not cross an intersection, even if the traffic light is green, unless you are sure that the whole group will be able to cross safely before the light changes.
- If the group becomes split at a traffic light, the leading riders should then slow, or stop in a safe place, to allow riders to re-group.
- Crossing major highways and uncontrolled intersections: Do not act individually. Car drivers see the group as one entity and expect it to act as one.
- The rider at the front takes charge directing everyone not to cross until there is a gap in traffic large enough for the entire group to safely cross the road.
- Do not hold up following traffic: Ride single file on single-lane and busy roads where motor vehicles are frequently coming past.
- On occasion, you must "take the lane" for your own safety. This is both legal and practical (such as a narrowed construction zone).
- Your ID and emergency Contact Info Should be on you for every ride and easily accessible.
- Respect your fellow rider. Any concerns with disruptive conduct or riding etiquette that have not been resolved should be discussed with your ride coordinator or the general membership of the club.
- Be predictable, ride in a consistent manner. Do not swerve accelerate or brake unexpectedly.
- Anticipate the moves of the cyclists ahead of you. Look ahead at what is happening on the road.
- Indicate your intentions - use common hand signals.
- Indicate hazards with hand signals or your voice.
- Never half-wheel (overlap your wheel with the rider ahead). Either ride directly beside or directly behind.
- Half-wheeling is only done in an echelon which requires considerable skill and practice.
- Do not ride in or near the shoulder of the road: more debris increases chance of a puncture, + when you ride at least ½ metre out from the shoulder, you make it easier for the rider behind to follow your wheel. NOTE: this applies to all formations (single paceline, double paceline, echelon etc.)
- Strong riders should do longer pulls at the front than weak riders
- Regardless of how long the ride is, the front group rides fast. The back group drops nobody (No Drop Policy).
- When you see your fellow rider struggling, help them.
- If you are getting dropped in the fast group, make an effort to get back on
- If you see someone getting dropped and it is only temporary because of the terrain, tell the group to ease the pace so they can get back in, recover, and then contribute to the group effort.
- Wait until you are at the back of the paceline/group to reach for your water bottle/jersey pocket etc.
- Challenges and wagers between riders are natural and welcome in any group ride but not to the point where it causes the group to be strung out for kilometers. When your "sprint for the sign" is finished, allow the riders behind to re-group.
- Be self sufficient and also ready and willing to support other riders
- If you do not ride in a straight line, you will be politely asked to ride at the back of the group