Safety Guidelines

Rider Safety Guidelines
The GVC has been organising cycle races in Guernsey for over 40 years and it essential that everybody fully understands how riders are expected to conduct themselves when taking part in a cycle race on the roads of Guernsey.  It is also important that the role of the marshal is clear to all so that riders know what to expect from a marshal at a junction or at the turn in the case of a time trial. 

The club committee has a responsibility to issue safety guidelines to all club members these will be reviewed periodically and updated as and when necessary.   The club will issue a copy of these guidelines to any person joins the Guernsey Velo Club and annually when existing members renew their membership.  The objective of the guidelines is to ensure that going forward the club is seen to promote safe cycle racing in Guernsey and that all club members are aware of how they contribute to the continuation of safe cycle racing.   

It is important that all riders and marshals read and fully understand the following guidelines and also the consequences of not following them. 

When racing on the open road a rider should bear in mind the following simple but very important points at all times: 

• Do not ride in a manner that may cause injury to you.
• Do not ride in a manner that may cause injury or damage to a member of the public or other road users.
• Do not ride in a manner that may bring the club into disrepute and in turn could lead to the banning of cycle racing by the local authorities.

These 3 points may seem fairly obvious and I am sure that we all consider nothing less when sat on the start line of a race, but sometimes they seem to get pushed a bit to the back or our mind during the heat of  race.  We need to remember a cyclist is extremely vulnerable and a crash helmet will offer little protection in the event of a serious road accident.  During the history of our club two members have been left with serious long term disabilities (and that is putting it mildly) following accidents involving cars, we do not want to have any more. 

Other points to consider:

• Do not cut corners and stay on your side of the road, this refers to both right hand corners and the entry and exit from left hand corners where there is a white line marking the centre of the road, apart from the safety point of view, this will be deemed to be shortening the course in a time trial and will looked on as cheating.
• Overtake other vehicles safely, this is a difficult topic to cover accurately with words but this is very much down to how a rider perceives a particular situation.  Avoid overtaking manoeuvres near to junctions, turns or corners; in the case of a road race do not overtake any vehicle if it would not be safe for the bunch to follow.  It is better to arrive at the finish a few seconds slower than arrive at hospital in an ambulance, there is always another race; you only have one life.
• Approach all junctions with a view that you may need to stop or slow down, the marshal will do their best to get you through the junction without the need for the riders to slow, but do not assume you have right of way. 
• When making a right turn, either at the turn of a time trial or at a junction, always look behind for traffic and give a clear hand signal before making the turn. 

Other more general issues to consider:

• Do not take advantage of an unusual situation in a road race to gain an advantage (i.e. a herd of cows).  This is unsporting.
• Never ride with your head down, this been the cause of several deaths in the UK in recent years. 
• When riding in a bunch always keep an eye on the wheel in front of you, the biggest cause of crashes in a bunch is wheels touching.
• Never use abusive language to other road users, apart from the fact that abusive language is never needed, you may be shouting at a sponsor, a politician, an off duty police officer etc.
• When riding in a neutralised section (e.g. Kings Mills/Talbot Valley junction).  The person at the front must not accelerate until the last rider in the bunch has negotiated the corner.  In the instance where a junction is not marshalled the junction should be considered neutral 

The Role of the Marshal

Although our race marshals do not have the power to stop traffic at a junction (only police and special constables do) historically they have done so.  It goes without saying that if a junction is marshalled correctly both riders and members of the public should avoid any incident.   

The basic rules of marshalling effectively are:

• Wear a marshalling jacket and carry a red flag
• Stand in the road at the junction in clear sight of the riders and other traffic.
• Give clear hand signals to traffic if you need to stop them, eye contact with the driver usually works.
• A clear hand signal will be the arm fully extended at shoulder height in the direction of the car or rider(s) with the palm of the hand facing the car or rider(s).  Shout instruction to the riders if required, but be aware they may not hear you.
• If a driver looks like they are not going to stop give a clear signal to the rider(s) to stop. 
• If all traffic has stopped or there is no traffic, wave the rider(s) through with a clear understanding the junction is clear. 
• After the rider has passed through the junction turn to the driver and thank them for stopping.
• If anybody questions your authority refer them to the president or the race organiser.

If riders are seen by marshals or club officials, this includes race marshals, not to be following the above guidelines then action will be taken to discipline the rider concerned.  We all need to understand that we are given permission to race on the roads but still need to ride in a sensible and safe manner; it is not our race track.  We need to ensure that our actions as individuals do not lead to the loss of racing in Guernsey if we get it wrong.