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Rider Safety

HOW TO RIDE SAFELY IN A GROUP
 
Riding in a group is more sociable, helps with motivation and offers support. Group riding allows you to 'draft' into the wind and to share the workload. But riding in a group requires much more skill and concentration than just riding a bike.

RIDE PREDICTABLY

Sudden changes in direction, behaviour or abrupt movements can surprise fellow riders and cause accidents. Keep your hands on the handlebars and near the brakes at all times. Before standing, do a head check to see how close the cyclist is behind you and do not decelerate. Sudden braking or changes in speed can cause a collision from behind, so try to keep your pace steady and your braking to a minimum. Leave a group from the rear, ensuring all riders have ridden past you.

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

Don't fixate on the wheel in front. Learn to be comfortable looking around or through the riders ahead of you. This will allow you to see things that are developing in front of the group. With a little practice you will be able to "sense" how far you are off the wheel in front of you.

DON'T PANIC IF CONTACT IS MADE

Do not panic if you brush shoulders, hands or bars with another rider.  Try to stay relaxed in your upper body to absorb any bumps. Don't brake or change direction abruptly.

BE SMOOTH WITH YOUR TURN AT THE FRONT

If you are capable, take your 'turn at the front,' and avoid surges.  A group will travel quicker when turns are completed smoothly, and it allows those riders who have just had their turn to recover as they roll to the back of the bunch.

HOLDING A WHEEL IN FRONT OF YOU 

This is an important skill to master and more difficult to maintain. Don't overlap wheels. You should try to maintain a 30cm gap between you and the wheel in front and position very slightly to one side of the wheel in front.  You will get a good draft, but if anyone slows up then you will not ride into the back of them.
 
RIDE NO MORE THAN TWO ABREAST
 
It is illegal for bicycle riders to ride more than two abreast, unless overtaking. Three wide is permissible, whilst the passing group is overtaking SINGLE file, on the right hand side. When riding two abreast you must not be more than 1.5 metres apart.

ASSUME POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES

The lead rider(s) should constantly scan the road ahead and the surrounding environment. The lead rider(s) should watch for oncoming road hazards, changes in directions and other road users ahead - and warn early. The rear rider(s) should make the group aware of any vehicles approaching from behind and if necessary, direct riders in front to go single file, to allow vehicles to pass safely.  They should give signals to alert following motorists of the group's intention to change direction. They should also inform riders ahead if it is safe to move to the right of the lane, if turning right, well in advance of the intersection.

COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

Simple verbal and non-verbal communication will keep everyone around you up to speed on your actions and of potential hazards ahead. Use clear hand signals and simple, loud words such as "slowing", "turning", "hole", "rider up", "car".
 
ADDITIONAL SAFETY REMINDERS
 
  • All participants MUST obey all traffic laws and road marshals; they exist for your own safety.
  • The police will be patrolling the route and any riders found not obeying the road rules will be subject to penalties under the Australian Road Rules
  • There will be large orange arrow signs and additional signage at all intersections on the course.
  • Ride the Bellarine is an open road event. Apart from the area through Eastern Gardens the roads are NOT closed to traffic.
  • You must wear an Australian Standards approved bicycle helmet at all times.
  • Be courteous to all other riders and any traffic you encounter
  • Ride one metre from the curb to avoid drains and gutter rubbish
  • Be aware of your surroundings; constantly scan in front, beside and behind you
  • KEEP LEFT AT ALL TIMES unless passing slower riders
  • Only pass slower riders if there is enough room for your group to do so safely
  • Warn slower riders before you pass them. Use your bell or a clear voice
  • Do not pass too closely to slower riders
  • Always pass to the right of slower riders
  • Do not overtake on the inside of a corner
  • Be predictable; always maintain a steady direction and speed
  • Hold your line; do not swerve left or right
  • Communicate warnings to those around you verbally and using hand signals
  • Do not draft/slipstream unless you are well practised at it and familiar with the riders you are riding with!
  • Do not overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the bicycle in front
  • Do not slow down without warning the riders behind you
  • Do not freewheel if you are on the front of a group, always keep pedalling
  • Only ride two (2) abreast, less than 1.5m apart, unless passing
  • Drink water before, during and after the ride
  • Learn the route; it is your responsibility to know where you are going - for course map click here!
  • Carry spares or money in case of a breakdown; tube, pump, puncture repair kit
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY
 
  1. Stop if you are involved in an accident and check the wellbeing of fallen riders and provide assistance
  2. Move fallen bikes off the road to reduce the risk to other cyclists
  3. Arrange for someone to act as a marshal to warn oncoming traffic of the accident ahead. Call for an ambulance if required
  4. Call the race director phone number on the rear of the event bib to organise assistance
  5. Stay with the fallen cyclist until the ambulance arrives
  6. Record the incident and provide details to ambulance officers when they arrive