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Marshalling

danieljgreendanieljgreen Posts: 56
edited March 2011 in Amateur race
Im Marshalling a CDNW event in march, what do i need to bring and what do i need to do?
just wanted to get an idea before im acctually there doing it!

i havent ridden a race before and wanted to marshall first to get an idea of what happens in a race and what to expect for my first race the week after.

any advice would be great.

thank you
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Posts

  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Well done for marshalling, and the attitude! Clubs often struggle for marshalls, but it's the only way racing happens.

    Generally, if you're stuck on a corner (as opposed to doing any of the many other jobs needed doing to put on a race), what you do is get handed a red flag and a big fluoro bib and told to stand on a corner.

    You are not allowed to stop traffic (unless you're in Wales or Essex and have been certified to) but when you see the lead car come through - flashing lights, sign which says "lead car" on it, that's the sign that the bunch is coming through, and it's a good idea to warn any cars that are coming through your junction about the hazard. With your flag and fluoro bib, they'll almost always stop in response to your warning, but they do not have to. Be friendly with the drivers that stop, there often interested in the race tell them it will only be short - a bunch will generally go through quickly.

    Once the bunch is through, and the rest of the race convoy you can let the drivers go, do so with a cheery wave and thanks. In the unlikely event of anyone complaining or doing something bad, don't get into a fight, explain where they can find the race organiser and take a note of their registration number.

    If there's a break of any distance, you'll have another lead car after the break to trigger the action. The break especially will often shout at you and beg to know what the gap is - you'll not have a clue as you probably won't have seen the race for 20minutes, but if you do (the lead car can sometimes tell you) let them know if everything is safe on your corner.

    For people who are off the back, do you what you can, they'll often come with limited warning as they'll no longer be protected by cars. So here often all you can do is shout to the rider that it's clear to proceed. Guys who have punctured and are chasing back on are often pretty fired up, but most people who are dropped are now just riding for the training so aren't as bothered if they're delayed.

    If there's no neutral service and you can easily do it, having a multi-tool, and everything needed to repair a puncture can be useful as sometimes you'll get some poor guy 6 miles from HQ who's punctured and is in for a long walk back.

    Basically though, it's just standing on a corner and attracting the attention of cars that there's a race in progress. If you have the NEG motorbikes on your race then it's pretty dull as a motorbike tends to be a lot more imposing than a bloke with a flag.

    That's if it's a road race, if you're marshalling a CTT event, you have 1 role alone, that of pointing the riders in the correct direction. Not even advising traffic. But I've often thought that a bit odd.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Jim

    thank you for the reply.
    great advice and really helps giving me an idea of what ill be required for (quite excited).

    it is a road race, apologies i should have mentioned that.

    thank you once again.

    Dan
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Good on you for putting yourself out to marshal. It can be a thankless and dull task at times, but it is essential if we are to continue racing on public roads.

    Jim pretty much covers it above. Just one thing to bear in mind is that the bunch will take corners at speed and will often cross the white line at junctions (especially on road they turn in to). They are not officially supposed to do this, but it does and will happen - be prepared to stand much further away from the junction than you'd first think sensible.

    If you can't see the other marshall on the corner with you, some means of communicating (referee's whistles are good) is a good idea although most organisers will probably not provide more than a red flag and hi-vis jacket.

    Hope it goes well.
  • The above advice is good. The only thing I'd say is to make sure you take something warm to wear, change for a coffee, a watch and a pen and paper (in case of irate drivers complaining about dangerous riding).

    The watch is so you can estimate how long it will be before the race comes through again (6 mile loop @ 24mph would be every 15 mins). Lets you know if you have time for a bathroom break or not.

    Good on you for offering to help.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Regardless of whether you are legally entitled to stop traffic or not, I'm there to provide a safe race and will quite happily stand in front of a car to make them stop. I was riding a race a while back which went up a hill which was only single-lane wide - the dozy marshalls allowed a 4x4 down the road which created havoc, riders having to get off and squeeze by - most never saw the front of the bunch again.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Regardless of whether you are legally entitled to stop traffic or not, I'm there to provide a safe race and will quite happily stand in front of a car to make them stop. I was riding a race a while back which went up a hill which was only single-lane wide - the dozy marshalls allowed a 4x4 down the road which created havoc, riders having to get off and squeeze by - most never saw the front of the bunch again.

    How did the lead car get through?
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The lead car got through but there was a slight gap - 10 seconds to the main bunch and the marshall let the car get onto the course into the oncoming race - it was a big 4x4 pick-up and you had to duck under the wing mirrors to get past as the road was so narrow.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Don't forget that the race doesn't only consist of the riders, but also at least 2 lead cars and 2 commissaires' cars, as well as possibly service, teams and ambulance cars. So you must if you can ensure that any cars in front of the bunch can get through and not be caught (it gets annoying when riders catch and overtake the lead car and then get disqualified). Also, the chief commissaire usually sits behind the peloton and as a chief commissaire I've been really pissed off when the marshals let crs in between me and the peloton and I can't see whats happening.

    Don't worry though, you will be just fine. 99.9% of the public are most cooperative. If you just wave your flag people will generally stop so just expalin that its only a few secs delay. The odd idiot will not stop and there's nothing you can do - its not your fault, so ignore comments like that made bymontydog above about idiot marshals. I've been marshalling a top level race on a motorbike with a police escort and some idiot wouldn't wait so drove int a police motorcyclist to push him out of the way.

    If anybody complains just tell them that the race has been authorised by the police (which it has) and that the HQ is at ....... where they can contact the organiser.
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Regardless of whether you are legally entitled to stop traffic or not, I'm there to provide a safe race and will quite happily stand in front of a car to make them stop. I was riding a race a while back which went up a hill which was only single-lane wide - the dozy marshalls allowed a 4x4 down the road which created havoc, riders having to get off and squeeze by - most never saw the front of the bunch again.

    unless the marshal is CSAS qualified, there is nothing legally they can do to prevent traffic from going wherever it wishes. The only other alternative is for (non qualified) marshals to literally take the law into their own hands and risk a complaint, potential prosecution and likely withdrawal of the police permit for future events. Now who's the dozy one, eh..?

    The race is on the open road - it is up to the riders to ride safely. I've been in many races where the bunch has been split by horses, tractors and even loose cows on the road. It's just the way it is.....
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    There's a balance isn't there - do your best to stop cars disrupting the race but don't put yourself at risk and try not to provoke drivers - it's common sense really. For example if you see horse riders on the course explain politely that any minute there willl be 80 fast moving cyclists and cars with flashing lights coming past and try and get them to get off the course first - bearing in mind that you can't make them if they decide not to. You may get some stick from the odd local who decided a bike race is a major inconvenience - try and remain polite and defuse any potential complaints rather than telling them where to go - even if they deserve it.

    There should be a marshalls briefing prior to the race where you can ask a few questions - if you haven't raced then ideally they should allocate you a relatively straighforward marshalling point.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Homer JHomer J Posts: 932
    If you don't stop the cars someone could get killed. I've marshalled a fair few times and when the lead car goes through the ensuing bunch will come through thinking that it is clear and will not be looking for cars coming at them. Some of these races have very fast left and right turns at the bottom of hills. JIm you've raced at cutmill, traffic travels at 60mph along them roads, how many cyclist looks right when they are coming down for the fast left hand turns.

    FWIW - i didn't know that we can't stop the traffic, just as well the traffic does not know :wink:
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    If I was one of the first few through a junction I'd always look to see if the marshall was signalling us through if I couldn't see the junction was clear for myself - assuming the marshalls will always have stopped the traffic just isn't worth it and if you got killed because of it well there'd be nobody else to blame.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Homer J wrote:
    FWIW - i didn't know that we can't stop the traffic, just as well the traffic does not know :wink:

    I think it's important to remember that you can't stop traffic. However it's also important to remember that standing in the middle of the road with a bib and flag as a bunch goes by pretty much stops traffic... You've just got to make sure you don't have the attitude with the drivers that they have to, make sure they know they're doing you a favour.

    But yes, if the front cars through the junction, stopping cars is pretty important!
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    jibberjim wrote:
    But yes, if the front cars through the junction, stopping cars is pretty important!

    it's also could be seen as 'wilful obstruction' under the Highways Act, which is why the CSAS scheme will need to be expanded nationally if road racing is to have any kind of future....
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Cutmill circuit in Surrey is a classic case in point - I've raced and marshalled there plenty of times and there are a couple of junctions where the only way to guarantee a safe race is to stand in the road. Generally most drivers are accommodating but you do get the occasional one that tries to 'nudge' their way through.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    There's stopping traffic and then there's stopping traffic... I used to do this for a living when I worked in the film industry (where I was legally entitled to stop traffic) and you get a feel for people who are likely to drive through you. Don't put yourself at risk by jumping out in front of their car!

    Basically this is what I do. Stand about 3 feet into the road with the flag pointing out towards the centre line. The car has to then drive straight through the flag so if it's a nutter, that's what he'll do but he won't hit you. Everyone else will stop. Once the first car (if there's more than one) has stopped, assess the person inside, make eye contact. Walk down the side of the car with your flag still out. They will roll down the window, you mention there's a bike race about to come through. They will either be annoyed or won't care. If they don't care, you're fine.

    If they are annoyed, let them rant and rave, nod politely, apologise for the delay, and most importantly keep them talking til the race has gone through. Let them give you their 2 pence on every subject under the sun as long as it keeps them there with their car stopped, waiting. Once the race and all the vehicles have gone through, step away and remove the flag and wish them a good day.

    Be assertive but not aggressive.
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    maryka wrote:
    Basically this is what I do. Stand about 3 feet into the road with the flag pointing out towards the centre line. The car has to then drive straight through the flag so if it's a nutter, that's what he'll do but he won't hit you. Everyone else will stop. Once the first car (if there's more than one) has stopped, assess the person inside, make eye contact. Walk down the side of the car with your flag still out. They will roll down the window, you mention there's a bike race about to come through. They will either be annoyed or won't care. If they don't care, you're fine.

    sorry to be censored about this Maryka, but what you are suggesting is effectively obstruction of the highway. I know it happens (I've done it myself), but this is seriously not the way forward. It only takes one motorist to register an official complaint with the police and the whole future of the event risks being put under review with the very people (the police) whose support we rely on.

    Having recently done the CSAS accreditation myself, I now feel pretty certain that within a few years, events will only get permission if the promoting club can provide CSAS marshals on every turn or crossing point. That isn't going to happen unless more forces decide to adopt the CSAS scheme, and that isn't going to happen until more clubs (or BC) start lobbying their local police commissioners for the training...
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,317
    I think more forces will adopt CSAS as their funding gets tighter and they won't want to supply officers even if the race can afford to pay for them. It's working really well in Wales, not only is it good that the marshalls can stop traffic but it is also good that the marshalls have training.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    emx wrote:
    sorry to be censored about this Maryka, but what you are suggesting is effectively obstruction of the highway.

    You've not established it's an unreasonable obstruction though - remember the offence only exists if it's unreasonable - and stopping a driver to warn them of a hazard ahead sounds eminently reasonable to me. But the courts have never been asked to judge such a question so it's not exactly decided.
    emx wrote:
    Having recently done the CSAS accreditation myself, I now feel pretty certain that within a few years, events will only get permission if the promoting club can provide CSAS marshals on every turn or crossing point.

    I really don't think the CSAS approach works, way too much bureaucracy for a task that has been done without for a long time, a change in law which empowers marshals explicitly to stop traffic for short periods consistent with an authorised event is much more practical. Requiring hundreds of people to become accredited through a course for 1 event a year, or making it so only a few marshalls have to do every event is not practical, nor necessary. I don't support the CSAS approach.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    edited February 2011
    jibberjim wrote:
    You've not established it's an unreasonable obstruction though - remember the offence only exists if it's unreasonable - and stopping a driver to warn them of a hazard ahead sounds eminently reasonable to me. But the courts have never been asked to judge such a question so it's not exactly decided.

    yeah, I'm sure the police will see it that way too......try explaining that to them after they stop the race with one lap to go.....because some bloke with a flag and a hi-viz vest over-stepped the mark...
    jibberjim wrote:
    a change in law which empowers marshals explicitly to stop traffic for short periods consistent with an authorised event is much more practical.

    you may have missed the point here - look up the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 and you will see that is exactly what CSAS enables you to do.
    jibberjim wrote:
    Requiring hundreds of people to become accredited through a course for 1 event a year, or making it so only a few marshalls have to do every event is not practical, nor necessary. I don't support the CSAS approach.

    If your club shares the same attitude (I hope not), then you might be kissing goodbye to your events in a few years.....
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    emx wrote:
    maryka wrote:
    Basically this is what I do. Stand about 3 feet into the road with the flag pointing out towards the centre line. The car has to then drive straight through the flag so if it's a nutter, that's what he'll do but he won't hit you. Everyone else will stop. Once the first car (if there's more than one) has stopped, assess the person inside, make eye contact. Walk down the side of the car with your flag still out. They will roll down the window, you mention there's a bike race about to come through. They will either be annoyed or won't care. If they don't care, you're fine.

    sorry to be censored about this Maryka, but what you are suggesting is effectively obstruction of the highway. I know it happens (I've done it myself), but this is seriously not the way forward. It only takes one motorist to register an official complaint with the police and the whole future of the event risks being put under review with the very people (the police) whose support we rely on.

    Having recently done the CSAS accreditation myself, I now feel pretty certain that within a few years, events will only get permission if the promoting club can provide CSAS marshals on every turn or crossing point. That isn't going to happen unless more forces decide to adopt the CSAS scheme, and that isn't going to happen until more clubs (or BC) start lobbying their local police commissioners for the training...

    I agree it would be best if there were legal rights to stopping traffic -- either through a course that marshals would take (not ideal because we're already hard-up for marshals and don't need any more obstacles to stand in the way of their volunteering!) or in the way that Jim described (not likely either, not in this ridiculous nanny-state).

    What I was trying to describe was the (happy) middle ground between causing a real road obstruction by standing in the way and putting yourself in danger, and not causing enough of a distraction to make drivers slow down thus possibly endangering the bunch. The way I described means that the least amount of risk is taken by the marshal for the most amount of safety for the bunch. If a driver has a problem with that, too bad. As an organiser and commissaire I would much rather deal with a complaint that came about in this way than with an accident causing injury or death of either marshals or riders.

    Again, it's more common sense and in-the-moment judgement than anything. I would hate to see a driver lodge a complaint but I think a flag in the middle of the road without a person standing there isn't an unreasonable obstruction. I would also hate to see a bunch of cyclists get hit because the marshal was too timid and made it look like he wasn't trying to warn traffic at all (which is what TT marshals tend to do -- they are there merely to direct riders and they are supposed to ignore traffic completely, leaving it up to the rider to decide when it's safe to proceed. But the riders know and accept this in TTing, not so much in road racing).

    Fwiw, the NEG guys on motorcycles are technically not allowed to stop traffic either, but the way they park themselves in the middle of the road, big guy in a big bike, effectively creates a full obstruction for cars.
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    maryka wrote:
    Fwiw, the NEG guys on motorcycles are technically not allowed to stop traffic either,

    if they have been through the CSAS scheme - and many of them have - they can legally stop traffic.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    emx wrote:
    yeah, I'm sure the police will see it that way too......try explaining that to them after they stop the race with one lap to go.....because some bloke with a flag and a hi-viz vest over-stepped the mark...

    you may have missed the point here - look up the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 and you will see that is exactly what CSAS enables you to do.

    The sport thrives on volunteers prepared to do their bit. I guess you're not one of them.....
    So in the meantime, what do you suggest we do in Surrey for example where we don't have CSAS accreditation? How should marshals behave there?

    I suspect riders would be a lot more upset if the police stop the race with one lap to go because a car drove past a timid marshal without stopping and ran into the bunch.

    And yes, I do volunteer in the sport of cycling. Lots.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    emx wrote:
    yeah, I'm sure the police will see it that way too......try explaining that to them after they stop the race with one lap to go.....because some bloke with a flag and a hi-viz vest over-stepped the mark..

    No prosecution has ever resulted - so you're clearly overstating the case.
    jibberjim wrote:
    you may have missed the point here - look up the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act 2005 and you will see that is exactly what CSAS enables you to do.

    I know what the CSAS entitles you to do, but it's irrelevant, for our clubs race this saturday, it would require 18 people to become accredited marshalls, for the 1 event we can get the members to do - and another different 18 people for our other road race. And instead of asking these people to give up 1 day a year, we're now asking them to give up two. If they were happy to do that, we could promote twice as many races.

    It's clear from the thousands of races run without accredited marshalls that it's not necessary to be accredited, removing the need to become accredited, and making anyone under accredited events able to do it achieves the same safe racing without having hundreds of people losing their time.

    The time of individuals already commited to the sport is irrelevant, it's the time of those people not committed to the sport that are relied on, making it even harder on those doesn't make for a safer sport.
    jibberjim wrote:
    The sport thrives on volunteers prepared to do their bit. I guess you're not one of them.....

    You have no idea what I do or don't do, but the point is it takes a lot more than 1 person to marshal a road race.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    jibberjim wrote:
    I know what the CSAS entitles you to do, but it's irrelevant, for our clubs race this saturday, it would require 18 people to become accredited marshalls, for the 1 event we can get the members to do - and another different 18 people for our other road race.

    you have 18 turns on your circuit..?? Not every single marshal needs the CSAS rating...

    By the way, of course I am overstating the case. But like Maryka says, this is now the nanny state, so we either organise an Egyptian/Libyan/Tunisian-style uprising and replace the government with something more sensible - or we adapt. Which do you think might be easier..? ;)
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    We have 3 turns on the circuit, each requiring 3 marshals, each of which might have to stop cars, for 2 races = 18 different people in theory (and about 16 in practice this year).

    From the latest BC update on road racing on open roads:
    MARSHALLING

    Issue: A race organiser's job would be much easier and police time saved if there was a clear practice established which allowed marshals to stop and slow traffic briefly in order to let a race pass.

    Update: Two potential options are being pursued. Firstly the expansion of the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) which has been successfully piloted in Essex and Wales. For this to be implemented nationwide it must overcome the current complication of requiring marshals to be employed. Both Ian Austin and the Sport & Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson have supported a relaxation of the rules in view of the ‘Big Society' agenda - this is now with Policing Minister Nick Herbert. Secondly, a sign-based solution through the Road Traffic Act and Road Traffic Regulations which would enable police to authorise marshals to use signs in road races for directions included in the race authorisation. This is currently with the DfT,and ACPO, we are hopeful of progress over the coming months.
    and
    Theresa Villiers - Chipping Barnet, Conservative - Minister of State for Transport
    "... we have identified an existing legal power that enables the police to give directions for places at which traffic must stop for the race, and for cycle race marshals to hold a sign for that purpose. It is not sorted yet, but we hope that that might provide a solution to the major concerns expressed by the cycle racing community."

    So it would seem the nanny state might seem fit to have sense after all? I'll believe it when I see it.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    maryka wrote:
    We have 3 turns on the circuit, each requiring 3 marshals, each of which might have to stop cars, for 2 races = 18 different people in theory (and about 16 in practice this year).

    Also need to stop traffic at the finish! (I know you know this :) )
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • emxemx Posts: 164
    the 'employee' issue is a nonsense, I agree. But for the record, CSAS marshals are listed as 'employees' of British Cycling...no complication at all really...

    I don't know your circuit, but I would imagine that just because you have traffic converging from three directions, does not necessarily mean you need three marshals. In theory, one CSAS marshal can stop and hold traffic coming from more than one direction, but like I say, I don't know the road layout.
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    When marshalling a junction where riders do not have right of way I used to signal to them if it was clear to procede or not. If not they were on there own if they did so. If the riders had right of way them I treated the other traffic just the same. If they ignored my warning then they were in the wrong should anything happen and I would be witness to it. Worked well enough for many years. But some legal power would be handy.
  • furragfurrag Posts: 481
    I already have my marshalling spiel:

    bicycle races are coming your way, so forget all your duties oh yeah!
    fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today, so look out for those beauties oh yeah

    Not only am I anticipating no problems in getting them to stop, but there's also the chance of making myself a few quid and cleaning up South-West Surrey in parking charges.
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