SAFETY on VWCC CYCLES
Safety is the number one priority in Valley Wheelers
Please read guide before cycling with VWCC.
The following apply on all official Valley Wheelers CC Club Spins. The intention is that all club spins are both safe and enjoyable for all participants.
A. Club Spins / Cycle Leaders
Each official club spin has a designated cycle leader. A list of club Cycle Leaders and their contact details will be posted in the VWCC website. Routes/ starting points and leaders for each cycle are set out by the committee in consultation with club members. The leader name and contact details are circulated to all members in the days prior to the spin. If for some reason the designated leader cannot attend, he/she will arrange another leader who will make themselves known at the cycle. Duties of the leader are as follows:
- Know the route and departure time
- Be at the designated departure location in advance of departure time.
- Assess weather/road conditions, discuss with other cyclists if necessary.
- Where weather/ road/ traffic or any other conditions are deemed unsuitable and the leader deems unsafe to travel, the leader may decide to change the cycle route and/or cancel the cycle.
- Identify any new or possibly inexperienced cyclists in the group and speak to them separately in advance of the cycle. Ascertain their experience level and inform them of the common ‘calls’. Participation of Non Cycling Ireland members is strongly discouraged by the club – primarily for insurance reasons.
- Participation of Under 18’s in Adult cycles is only allowed with prior agreement of the Committee. This is primarily due to the onerous Child Protection requirements on clubs. Such requests must be made through VWCC’s Child Protection Officer
- Pre-Departure briefing of all cyclists on all aspects of the route including:
b) Known dangerous locations and associated safety actions.
c) Group size(s)
d) Proposed Pace(s),
e) Break locations,
f) Designate additional group leaders in instances where the leader requires additional assistance or there is more than one group.
- During the spin, the leader’s primary duties are to address issues relating to safety and enjoyment of the participants.
- Ensure no one gets dropped, left behind, or left out.
10. Ensure that an experienced group are left to attend with punctures or breakdowns.
11. Allow stronger cyclists get a chance to exert themselves.
12. Ensure that all participants arrive home safely.
13. Inform the Club Safety Officer (by text or call) at the end of the spin to ensure that the spin details are recorded.
B. Duties of Participants in club spins:
- Inform the cycle leader prior to departure if you intend to join the cycle at some point along the way. In the event that the route changes you can be contacted to make alternative arrangements.
- Park your vehicle in a safe place that does not inconvenience others.
- Wear Safety Helmet (compulsory). Cycling glasses and gloves are recommended.
- Be safe – Be seen – wear as much high visibility clothing as possible
- Have working front and rear lights if cycling in winter or dusk conditions.
- Ensure that your bike is fully serviced and roadworthy.
- Carry at least two spare tubes and a working pump.
- Carry snacks/ fruit suitable for the distance.
- Inform the cycle leader in advance or at some point during the cycle if you are Ill, injured or feel unfit for the proposed distance or pace. (Note: A tired cyclist can be a danger to the whole group)
10. Obey all rules of the road
11. Be respectful of motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists
12. Carry money for breaks and a fully charged phone.
13. Carry a plastic water bottle which fits in your bottle cage.
14. Respect any instruction / decision made by the cycle leader.
15. Ensure that the club’s good name is maintained throughout.
16. Wear the club colours whenever you can.
17. If you make a mistake or do something dangerous, apologise to other affected participants.
18. If part of the group plans to deviate from the designated route, ensure that this has advance approval of the leader and that another leader is designated to the departing group.
19. If you have constructive comments to make regarding safety or other aspects of club spins, please communicate to the club Safety Officer or a Committee Member.
C. The Fundamental Rules of Group Cycling.
- The Calls: Point and call the hazards. Potholes, rocks, gravel etc should be pointed out (even more important than the call) and these signals should be fed back through the pack so that the riders behind with less visibility will know where to expect the hazard. Those at the back should announce traffic where necessary and this should be relayed to the front. Common calls: ‘Car on’ Car approaching from the front of the pack, ‘Car back’ car approaching from the rear.
- Relaying verbal information – It’s important that you let everyone behind know what’s coming up. The leading cyclists have the responsibility to the cyclists behind them to warn them of hazards like potholes, loose gravel or parked cars. A call of left centre or right with a simple hand signal can help to prevent crashes or punctures.
- Brakes – The biggest hazard in group riding is people stopping quickly and unexpectedly. More accidents and mass pile-ups are caused by people panicking and grabbing a handful of brake than anything else. If you stop suddenly, the person behind is just going to run into you, and a collision is likely to bring down other riders as well. If something happens in front, look for ways to avoid it while maintaining speed.
- Sitting on a wheel – this is a valuable lesson. It is here that you get the most protection from windbreak. If there is a rider on your wheel then you have an obligation not to leave any gap open with the rider in front of you. Keep terms short when up front 2-4 min max keep to the rules of the road and treat other road users with respect.
- Don’t be a lazybones – once you get a bit stronger you are obliged to get off the back of the bunch and make your way to the front and do your bit. If you don’t ‘go through’ it messes up the rhythm of the group. Missing turns and cruising at the back all day is a quick way to lose other riders’ respect.
- No Tri–Bars – If you have tri-bars please do not use them on our group cycles.
Some ‘Unwritten Rules’ of Group Cycling are written below!
- The cyclist on the front left-hand side dictates the pace.
- When you hit a hill, maintain your effort level, not your speed.
- Be aware that everything you do has a knock-on effect on everyone behind and beside you.
- You are responsible for the safety of everyone around you as you are for your own wellbeing.
- Don’t half – wheel (cycle ahead of the person beside you). When you are cycling at the front, keep the pace consistent and matched to your riding partner.
- When you come through for your turn and move over to the recovering line, do so smoothly and close to the rider you are taking over from. Don’t leave them with a massive gap.
- Don’t leave gaps. Full stop.
- If you are struggling to close a gap, wave the rider behind you through.
- Do your fair share of work at the front. Forget any nonsense about saving yourself on a club training run. If you are hanging and can’t take a turn, stay back rather than disrupt the rhythm of those who are working.
- If you are feeling strong and someone else is suffering, give them a shove on the back to help them back onto a wheel. Keeping gaps closed will ensure the group stays together and you’ll maintain the pace better. Try to keep struggling participants in the inside line protected by the group.
- Don’t nail yourself trying to do super-hard turns if the pace is above what you are capable of or you know you are tiring. If you start to get dropped, the group will have to slow down to look after you.
- If someone is makes mistakes, tell them discreetly. Don’t shout at them in the heat of the moment. If it’s you being given constructive criticism, then try to learn from it. Any comments which you consider out of order should not be taken personally but should be reported to the cycle leader or committee member.
D. General Cycling and Safety Issues
Try to wear the club jerseys on all club training and organised cycles, when possible. The committee would also like members to observe the following safety rules:
- Single file on narrow roads – Call made by Cycle/Group leader.
- Do not wave on traffic behind you. In the event of an accident you may be responsible.
- Cycling without hands is a big ‘no-no’.
- Never more than two side by side.
- Always obey traffic light signals and road signs.
- Never ‘take a chance’.
- Never assume that a motorist or other road sees you even if you can see them.
- Always call obstacles so as to warn cyclists behind.
- Always call when you are slowing down and/or stopping
- Always call that you are passing a fellow cyclist.
- Never pass a cyclist or vehicle on the inside, always pass on your right
- Salute/ acknowledge other cyclists on the road.
E. In the event of an Accident or Near Miss:
- In the event of a ‘Near Miss’ do not get involved in an argument with other cyclists or road users even if they are unsafe or dangerous. Record their vehicle details and description and report to the local Cycle Leader, Safety Officer and Garda Station if necessary.
- If there is an accident ensure that other cyclists control passing traffic so as to avoid a further accident.
- Contact Doctor / Gardai / Ambulance as appropriate.
- Take photos of the accident scene/ vehicles etc.
- Record all witnesses to the accident.
- Call a relative/friend of the injured cyclist if necessary. If the injured cyclist seems ok, be vigilant to ensure that they are not in shock which may affect them later in the cycle. Report any concerns to the cycle / group leader.
- Never let an injured cyclist to find their own way home.
- Ensure that the Cycle Leader and Club Safety Officer are made aware of any accident or incident on the day it occurs.
Valley Wheelers CC Safety Officer, Larry O’Donovan
Approved by VWCC Committee. March 2014