Safety and etiquette
Liss Cycling Club is a friendly club and as such we welcome all standards of cyclists to join us on our rides. Whilst we appreciate that we will have riders of different levels and experience, we do ask all riders to follow some basic rules when out on rides to keep every individual, and the rest of the group, safe, and to ensure each ride is as enjoyable as possible.
- All riders take part in club riding activities at their own risk.
- Ensure you have 3rd party liability insurance. We recommend British Cycling Ride, Silver or Gold membership.
- Ensure your bike is in roadworthy condition. Check tyres, brakes, gears, cleats etc. Ensure you have the necessary tools to fix any minor faults whilst out on the ride such as a puncture.
- Bring appropriate clothing such as helmet, gloves and additional layers and waterproof gear in case the conditions change on the ride. Don’t always rely on the weather forecast.
- Bring appropriate equipment such as lights and mobile phones.
- Follow the Highway Code.
- Ride predictably and smoothly with no sudden changes in pace or direction. Avoid hard braking.
- Ride 2 abreast if the road allows and there is no traffic but move back to single file where necessary to allow vehicles to pass or where the road is narrow with blind corners and hill crests.
Ensure you communicate to your fellow riders with commands such as:
– “Car up”
– “Car back”
– “Hole” (also point out potholes and road hazards)
– “Clear” at a junction (please double check)
- Pass along communication from both the back and front of the group so everybody is aware of any changes of hazards.
- Always check behind you and signal your intention to move out of or into a line of riders.
- Signal your intention to move out to avoid obstacles such as parked cars (usually by pointing your left hand to the right behind your back).
- Signal an intention to slow or stop.
- Point out potholes and other road hazards.
- Don’t overlap wheels with the rider in front.
- Allow space between riders on descents, especially when wet, has loose gravel or is narrow and twisting.
- Remember you have a duty of care to all the riders in the group so don’t take unnecessary risks which could put other riders in danger.
- In the event of adverse weather conditions club rides will be cancelled.
- Keep an eye on the Strava and Facebook pages where any ride cancellations will be posted.
- Know your limitations and choose an appropriate riding group.
- Show respect and consideration to everyone else in the group.
- Support the ride leader and comply with the instructions they give.
- Ride at the speed set by the ride leader which has been publicised on the ride posting.
- Show courtesy and respect for all other road users, giving way where necessary to vehicles, pedestrians and horses.
- If you come across a horse and rider, it’s courteous to slow down and call out a warning to them if they haven’t seen you e.g. “Bikes behind,” as well as asking if it’s ok to come past.
- Be aware of drivers stuck behind the group, be prepared to pull over on narrow roads to allow the car to pass.
Safety for all riders and other road users is paramount. As such, the most important role for the ride leader is to make their LCC group ride as safe as possible. The purpose of this section is to provide some principles to help minimise risks, and to give you a brief checklist to run through prior to each ride.
When planning a route for your ride try to choose roads you are familiar with and use Google Street View for any you don’t know well (we strongly recommend you explore new roads before leading a group down them). Take into account the weather conditions and be prepared to change the route at short notice if the forecast is not favourable e.g. swap out small roads for bigger ones if there are likely to be poor road conditions. However, try to avoid busy main roads as much as possible and exclude any dangerous junctions e.g. where a minor road crosses an ‘A’ road.
When posting your route on Strava and Facebook, remind people to sign-up on Strava in advance so you can gauge numbers and adjust ride requirements if required e.g. splitting one large group into smaller groups with designated ride leads for each. We recommend that any group of 12 or more is split into smaller groups.
As a ride lead you should position yourself at the front of the group, particularly on descents and other situations where you need to take control of how the group rides. If you are going to drop back to talk with other riders in the group, leave instructions for the people at front e.g. ‘stay at this pace.’ If feasible, appoint a sweeper for your group. This person would have a downloaded copy of the route and sit at the back of the group. Their role is to inform you of any issues at the back of the group and if the group splits, lead those riders round the route. It is helpful if your sweeper is one of the faster riders in the group so they can convey messages to the front!
The ride lead should encourage people to ride as a cohesive group as this is safer for riders and other road users, but single out when required (see next paragraph) e.g. if the road is busy. When group riding, it is okay to ride two abreast (but no more than this), however do not overlap wheels (i.e. your front wheel overlapping the rear wheel of the rider in front), pass other riders on the inside, or make any sudden movements e.g. hard braking or changing line. Be aware that standing up can quickly change your speed relative to others. Do not half-wheel – this is where there are two riders at the front and one inches ahead of the other, this results in the speed of the whole group increasing. Try to keep the pace consistent by avoiding surges and slowing.
Familiarise yourself with the latest guidance for cyclists in the Highway Code: ‘…be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups. You can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders. Be aware of drivers behind you and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when you feel it is safe to let them do so’. Adjust how the group is riding to maximise their safety and to not inconvenience other road users e.g. single out or pull over if a car is stuck behind you on a narrow road for a prolonged period, single out on very busy roads if it looks like the safer option, and when approaching bends where visibility may be an issue.
Riders should be encouraged to use the ‘prime position’ when cycling and not position themselves at the edge of the road. This removes some of the risk posed by poor road surfaces and makes people more visible to other road users. They should ride as wide as needed within their lane to deter unsafe overtaking e.g. when approaching central road furniture, position yourself towards the centre to dissuade drivers overtaking. A central lane position should also be considered on narrow roads and at junctions. Always check behind you before changing lane position.
- Give a pre-ride briefing with an overview of the intended route highlighting any known hazards e.g. tricky descents, poor road quality. Mention if there will be any café stops.
- Appoint a sweeper if the group size is appropriate and if not already appointed in advance.
- Welcome any new riders, introduce them to the group, and brief them on the use of hand signals and verbal communications e.g. car up, car back, gravel, holes, slowing, etc. Ask new riders if they are experienced at group riding and if they aren't, ask that they sit towards the back of the group (ask for ice details).
- Don't forget to do a headcount at the start and periodically during the ride to make sure you haven't lost anyone. If any riders plan to leave early, they should let the ride lead know at the start.
- Remind people that while a main part of your role is to minimise risks, they are ultimately responsible for their own safety, and that they also have a role to play in the safety of others e.g. pointing out hazards and riding sensibly.
- During the ride, remember that you have a duty of care to the riders and the public, so if you think someone may endanger themselves or others, have a quiet word. If their behaviour persists, please ask them to leave the ride.
- Lead by example and remain courteous and considerate to all road users, including fellow cyclists.
- At the end of the ride, thank people for coming along!