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Ideas for safer racing

mattshropsmattshrops Posts: 1,158
edited May 2011 in Amateur race
no squabbling here please - sensible suggestions for improving safety for all of us whilst doing what is supposed to be a fun sport.
i'll repeat what ive just posted on other thread.

our club has a 1k off road floodlit circuit which is great for winter dark nights. we have training nights(some formal some not) where you can practise through and off, and riding in a tight bunch. theres a couple of tight corners so you get used to giving other riders room and respect, so that you get it in return. Also fantastic for the kids to train away from traffic.
maybe bc could look at some form of "apprenticeship" type thingy before you get a race license(for the first time)
could also be some sort of card system where you have to go back to circuit for a refresher course???

people wishing to start a row please use the mirror-thankyou :lol:
Death or Glory- Just another Story
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  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    I think it's a difficult one for BC because they have to strike a balance between safety and not creating barriers to entry in a sport that is already pretty difficult for newcomers.

    Entry level races are faster than they used to be (the commisairres at Mallory Park told one of my club mates that lap times this year are around 8 seconds faster than they were 5 years ago).

    Plus the equipment makes more of a difference than it used to, half the field in a 4th Cat race now ride machines worthly of a grand tour start - gone are the days when you could turn up on a cheap bike from Halfords and actually be competitive.

    There are already fewer races and fewer racers than before, compelling prospective riders to take a training course or pass a test might put even more off.

    Unless we're forced to race on rubber mats wearing full body armour then it will always be a dangerous sport (I have a still broken clavicle myself from a crash 10 years ago).

    Personally I'm accepting of the risks, and would rather a few broken bones in a circuit race than being whacked by a truck during a time trial on a dual carriageway.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I hear more and more people complaining at the lack of bunch skills shown by new riders.

    I think some form of accreditation would be good, like you have for track racing. The issue is never going to go away as you are always going to get people doing daft things when adrenalin kicks in but at least you could weed those out that are plain dangerous before they are even under the pressure of racing...

    I thought racing numbers were actually on the up btw, as a result I think the skills issue is going to raise it's head more and more.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Your mentioning rubber mats has reminded me of my idea for a circuit built out of that stuff they use in kids playgrounds !

    Realistically though what about some race school days - similar to those they put on for the kids/juniors - not that many riders come through the youth ranks these days so you are left to pick up what is and isn't acceptable by yourself. I remember a thread on here when someone argued that so long as you looked after your front wheel you could switch through the bunch and it was up to the person behind to look after their front wheel - to me that's just wreckless but who's right?

    Also basic stuff like banging bars and side to side contact - you don't want the first time you bang bars with another rider to be at 30mph in a bunch sprint. A lot of these crashes are caused by riders who simply aren't used to contact - I'm not saying there should be frequent contact in 3/4 races but it's going to happen and being able to handle it is important.

    SO for me voluntary race school days would be good - if they work then perhaps move on to make them compulsory before being accredited to race. Riders who have sufficient questions raised about their ability could be required to attend one - it could also be used for riders who cross white lines all the time etc and that's something commissaires often can see happening.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    NapoleonD wrote:
    I hear more and more people complaining at the lack of bunch skills shown by new riders.

    It's true that you hear about it more than ever, but is that because bad riding is on the increase? or are there just more outlets for discussion now?

    In the age of internet forums, Twitter feeds, Facebook etc. we have far more opportunity to discuss, gripe, celebrate than ever before. 15 years ago we still had a moan about bad riding but this was between 4 or 5 of us on Thursday's club night, the same conversation on Facebook can now have an audience of thousands.
  • Thick TesterThick Tester Posts: 380
    ju5t1n wrote:

    There are already fewer races and fewer racers than before, compelling prospective riders to take a training course or pass a test might put even more off.
    .

    Not up here! Had entries returned for the first time in 5 years !
    Last night I signed on to weekly crit the series i help promote last night and was pleasantly suprised to find i was the 80th rider we'd had in 3 weeks.
    We're now worrying about buying another set of numbers!

    You may think of some of my posts as pompous and outspoken, but i still stand by the points i made in this thread :

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12767362

    The way forward has to be a combination of coaching and rider commisaires.
    We've had 8 new riders taking to the road in our club colours in the last year and all have been taught on a regular chaingang.
  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    Your mentioning rubber mats has reminded me of my idea for a circuit built out of that stuff they use in kids playgrounds !
    That's exactly the stuff I was thinking about!
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    I think rather than enforcing safety tests, all club websites and the British Cycling website should have plenty of advice on safe racing and they should make it stand out so newcomers will actually read it.

    Cycling Tips has a good article on positioning which, in addition to tactical advice, has a few good safety tips:
    Remember, never ever come around a corner on the inside to try and make up positions. As the saying goes: “Inside Suicide”. Not only is it dangerous, but your popularity in the bunch will diminish very quickly if you continue doing this.

    And this one on crash prevention is good too.


    When riding in a bunch, the golden rule is DO NOT OVERLAP WHEELS. What is meant by “overlapping wheels” is that you shouldn’t ride behind someone in a position where your front wheel is ahead of his rear wheel. This gives me an excuse to use my mini-peloton to illustrate:

    overlappingWheels1.jpg

    As you can see by the red arrow, Rider X (let’s imagine he races for Total Rush) is overlapping wheels with the Rider Y (he races for O2Networks). When Rider Y suddenly pulls out to dominate the sprint in the SKCC Club Champs this Sunday, RiderX has no where to go, his front wheel will clip RiderY’s rear wheel, and RiderX will likely go down. It’s up to RiderX to be careful of the movements of those ahead of him. If you keep overlapping wheels, it’s a sure way to come down in a bunch.

    There will always be some degree of overlapping wheels when riding in a bunch, but it’s a bad position to put yourself in.

    BC should send out info like this when sending licenses out to beginners. It's all well and good to say people will learn by experience, but having some knowledge in your head before you race will reduce the risk of causing a collision.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • forward_loopforward_loop Posts: 312
    In this era of HSE, litigation, insurance requirements and blame and to keep OVERALL costs down to both cycling organisations and individuals in the long term and to STOP barriers to entry (ie only circuit races and the loss of road racing). It would see sensible to put a scheme in place to ensure that all those who race have at least an inkling as to etiquette, rules and the general expectations of other riders. Ideally there would be some sort of practical aspect to this, perhaps administered by local clubs.

    Money I suggest may be less of a barrier to entry than peoples fear of being hurt/off work etc due to others ignorance/bad riding.

    Effectively one can accept that there will be accidents – but if these accidents are increasingly caused by illegal moves, bad riding and unwillingness to learn the “art” of bike riding then this will become more of a barrier than feeling that you need a £1K frame, which I really don’t think is the case. After all – is there nothing better than beating someone on a 6.9 trek on your 10 year old Reynolds frame ?

    Historically as mentioned the 4thCat served this purpose but things move on. Using an analogy, I think when VW launched the Golf it was the smallest hatch in its range. The Golf has grown though with the generation it was launched with – through to bigger car etc etc with now at least a couple of other models in the range below (Fox Polo etc)

    4th Cat has now perhaps come to the point where the variety of rider skills, experience and power perhaps warrants some sort of pre-requisite to rolling up to the start line.

    (remember these are also road races – not just circuits).
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Accreditation is fine in principal, but who exactly is going to carry out this task. It would involve BC employing quite a large number of people to do it safely, or again relying on UNPAID volunteers who are trained by BC to do it.

    BC has a wonderful Go Ride system aimed at teaching 6-16 year olds racing etiquette, this will hopefully filter in riders with the required skills over the years. No doubt us coaches could train/educate older riders, but generally they seem to think they know better.

    One thing BC could do, and it is what the CTT do, is make riders entering events be a member of a BC affiliated club. There is alot of knowledge within the club system, and it is this knowledge that new riders need, not just a one day course. Aagain club coaches could help out with training and advice (I certainly wouldn't do it for non club members).

    You will always get idiots racing, especially worse in a bunch situation. It is fine sending out information, but riders do not read it. It happens in TT's with riders not reading a startsheet, or on a sportive with riders not even reading route information.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    SBezza wrote:
    BC has a wonderful Go Ride system aimed at teaching 6-16 year olds racing etiquette, this will hopefully filter in riders with the required skills over the years. No doubt us coaches could train/educate older riders, but generally they seem to think they know better.

    The emphasis on youth is to do with producing elite riders really though isn't it - nothing to do with the reluctance of older riders to come forward - otherwise why exclude those that would ?

    Nothing wrong with trying to produce the next Cavendish or Ben Swift but I don't think it is going to filter through to 3/4 racing as most of those kids will either be racing at higher levels or more likely pack the sport in by the time they are adults.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • dbmnkdbmnk Posts: 217
    ju5t1n wrote:
    Your mentioning rubber mats has reminded me of my idea for a circuit built out of that stuff they use in kids playgrounds !
    That's exactly the stuff I was thinking about!
    Will be very dangerous, since the best way to avoid injuries in crashes is to glide off the surface. Rubber will hold on to you and increase the probability of dislocating joints.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    SBezza wrote:
    BC has a wonderful Go Ride system aimed at teaching 6-16 year olds racing etiquette, this will hopefully filter in riders with the required skills over the years. No doubt us coaches could train/educate older riders, but generally they seem to think they know better.

    The emphasis on youth is to do with producing elite riders really though isn't it - nothing to do with the reluctance of older riders to come forward - otherwise why exclude those that would ?

    Nothing wrong with trying to produce the next Cavendish or Ben Swift but I don't think it is going to filter through to 3/4 racing as most of those kids will either be racing at higher levels or more likely pack the sport in by the time they are adults.

    Not all youngest that come through Go Ride will be anywhere near elite level. Go Ride is about promoting the sport to youngsters, and the aim is to get them racing safely. All sessions concentrate on racing skills across all the cycling disciplines.
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    dbmnk wrote:
    ju5t1n wrote:
    Your mentioning rubber mats has reminded me of my idea for a circuit built out of that stuff they use in kids playgrounds !
    That's exactly the stuff I was thinking about!
    Will be very dangerous, since the best way to avoid injuries in crashes is to glide off the surface. Rubber will hold on to you and increase the probability of dislocating joints.
    True, that's why helmets, knee and elbow pads etc have hard outer shells - low friction surfaces to enable sliding
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • tjhookertjhooker Posts: 12
    I don't think accreditation, licensing, etc. is the way to go for safer racing. That is going to put a lot of riders off, and will be a nightmare for volunteers to administer.

    What makes the biggest difference, IMHO, is for experienced riders in bunches to just speak up when people ride badly. If there is a young or inexperienced rider in the bunch, and you see them doing something they shouldn't, then tell them - firmly! This is why club runs are effective - there tend to be a bunch of older riders who are happy to give the kids a b****cking when they do something stupid. If new riders are getting that in club runs any more, then they need to hear it in races.

    What is not going to help is for people to keep quiet at the time and save their anger for venting on internet forums. Neither is it going to help to go off on one and put the offending rider on the defensive.

    I have heard the idea in the past that 4th cat races should have 'marshalls' riding along in the bunch - experienced riders who can ride with the bunch and take this responsibility of guiding/inducting newer racers towards good & safe riding. But until this is introduced, it is everyone's responsibility to have a quick word to those riders behaving dangerously.

    I really don't think we want to talk about banning 16 year-old kids from our sport.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    The silence in races these days if deafening! About 15-20 years ago people would always be offering guidance in amateur racing and it helped grow skills. Also there was a fair amount of chat and making friends during races. I think with the huge influx of new riders there has been less of this, some of the new breed have a very 'serious' attitude and think that everything is acceptable in racing and sod everyone else! I call it the cokehead mentality.........

    There is a difference between shouting and swearing at someone with your veins popping out and saying to someone "relax your arms a bit so you can corner smoothly" or even "I'm on your inside" to let someone know as they are moving across the road towards an apex.
  • incog24incog24 Posts: 549
    In my experience that does happen quite a lot in road races? I often end up having a chat with people anyway, it helps pass the time on flat sections!

    Personally I've never found it to be much of a problem in 3rd cat upwards races. When I was a 4th cat I just stuck in the top ten out of trouble and did my best to progress quickly! I see no real reason for adding extra work by having to run accreditation races. The BC has a hard time as it is keeping enough road races happening. Lets not distract from that until we're overflowing with events!
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 - www.fluidfin.co.uk
  • tjhookertjhooker Posts: 12
    The silence in races these days if deafening! About 15-20 years ago people would always be offering guidance in amateur racing and it helped grow skills. Also there was a fair amount of chat and making friends during races. I think with the huge influx of new riders there has been less of this, some of the new breed have a very 'serious' attitude and think that everything is acceptable in racing and sod everyone else! I call it the cokehead mentality.........

    There is a difference between shouting and swearing at someone with your veins popping out and saying to someone "relax your arms a bit so you can corner smoothly" or even "I'm on your inside" to let someone know as they are moving across the road towards an apex.

    That's right. The lower the category, the less talk there seems to be. Is this anything to do with the change of rules in last few years that means that no-one drops from 3rd down to 4th cat any more? As soon as anyone has much experience, then they'll be out of the 4ths for ever.
  • incog24incog24 Posts: 549
    How about making all 4th cat races run a neutralised section for 3 laps/10mins? It would cost nothing, it'd let people settle down better, and it'd identify if anyone couldn't ride at all before the pace heats up.

    Thoughts?
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 - www.fluidfin.co.uk
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Herbsman wrote:
    dbmnk wrote:
    ju5t1n wrote:
    Your mentioning rubber mats has reminded me of my idea for a circuit built out of that stuff they use in kids playgrounds !
    That's exactly the stuff I was thinking about!
    Will be very dangerous, since the best way to avoid injuries in crashes is to glide off the surface. Rubber will hold on to you and increase the probability of dislocating joints.
    True, that's why helmets, knee and elbow pads etc have hard outer shells - low friction surfaces to enable sliding

    Good point - a rubber surface with a layer of sand.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    i think i big step to sorting it out is when someone rides like a muppet to just have a quiet word with them about what they are doing wrong. When i started racing there was a guy in my club who gave me a few pointers which i think helped, if you just shout and swear at someone chances are they will think your a censored and pay no attention to what you have just said. You will always get people taking extra risks and maybe riding dangerously but i think alot of those who do that know what is safe and whats not but the red mist takes over. When in a bunch it is amazing what a gentle tap on the side of someones leg can do to let the rider know your there and so they don't move over
  • forward_loopforward_loop Posts: 312
    tjhooker wrote:
    I don't think accreditation, licensing, etc. is the way to go for safer racing. That is going to put a lot of riders off, and will be a nightmare for volunteers to administer.

    What makes the biggest difference, IMHO, is for experienced riders in bunches to just speak up when people ride badly. If there is a young or inexperienced rider in the bunch, and you see them doing something they shouldn't, then tell them - firmly! This is why club runs are effective - there tend to be a bunch of older riders who are happy to give the kids a b****cking when they do something stupid. If new riders are getting that in club runs any more, then they need to hear it in races.

    What is not going to help is for people to keep quiet at the time and save their anger for venting on internet forums. Neither is it going to help to go off on one and put the offending rider on the defensive.

    I have heard the idea in the past that 4th cat races should have 'marshalls' riding along in the bunch - experienced riders who can ride with the bunch and take this responsibility of guiding/inducting newer racers towards good & safe riding. But until this is introduced, it is everyone's responsibility to have a quick word to those riders behaving dangerously.

    I really don't think we want to talk about banning 16 year-old kids from our sport.

    Yes - I have seen this in action at the local circuit - and it works. Proper briefing prior to the hour - & introduction to the 3-4 experienced guys, who "take charge". When it doesn't happen its mayhem with numerous "I'm gonna watch out for you in the carpark "type approaches !

    +1 for general speaking up - although I am pretty quiet on the premise that my 5 years experience riding in bunches isn't enough
  • sub55sub55 Posts: 1,025
    My big idea for making RR`s safer. Ban sportives.
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    incog24 wrote:
    How about making all 4th cat races run a neutralised section for 3 laps/10mins? It would cost nothing, it'd let people settle down better, and it'd identify if anyone couldn't ride at all before the pace heats up.

    Thoughts?
    Good idea.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    It's all fine and well to have words with someone (polite words) in a 4th or 3rd cat race, but when most of the field has only been riding/racing for a year or two themselves, the chances of experienced wiser voices out there to outnumber them are pretty slim.

    We're seeing this a bit in our own club in clubruns, the number of new members and new riders (albeit usually with a nice bike and reasonable level of fitness) far outnumber the old. Hard to keep people in line when 8 out of 10 riders on your ride insist on falling off the front, riding poorly in formation, etc. as they see most other people do. There simply aren't the relative numbers of more experienced members to observe and learn from. Seems hopeless after a while -- which is why I see fewer and fewer "old timers" in my club showing up for the weekly clubrun. They just can't be bothered to babysit anymore.

    Admittedly my club is in SW London where as Alan says there's no shortage of "cokehead mentality" riders who think because they can afford a nice bike they know all there is to know. And the club membership has exploded in recent years, which hasn't helped. But these problems are systemic of racing in SW London too, so it's not just us.

    I actually do think putting MORE barriers in place to make people who want to race have to demonstrate some commitment to the sport, learning the ropes, and safety is better than making it easier for people to start racing. The consequences of accidents in racing are pretty high -- serious injuries that result in loss of work time, months to recover, the risks of which don't really exist so much in other recreational sports -- that people who want to take part should be made to feel it's a privilege not a right, to be earned not automatically given.

    Not sure what the answer is...
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 9,139
    sub55 wrote:
    My big idea for making RR`s safer. Ban sportives.

    :lol:
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The fact that people turn up at Cat 4 races these days on Pro-Tour level kit actually makes it worse - I was trying to follow a guy the other day who was riding a new top-range frame and Zipp wheels - the course was potholed so he was weaving all over the place, bunny-hopping and the like whereas in my view, you just have to keep your line and soak it up if in the middle of the bunch - if you want a nice clear view, get on the front! Anyway, he was so erratic, he was a menace to himself + others but alas, blissfully ignorant of his bad riding.
    I was once marshalling a race and some junior was so wound-up during his warm-up I thought he was going to mow me down as I crossed the track in a marshall's bib to deal with a registration issue.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    maryka wrote:
    I actually do think putting MORE barriers in place to make people who want to race have to demonstrate some commitment to the sport, learning the ropes, and safety is better than making it easier for people to start racing. The consequences of accidents in racing are pretty high -- serious injuries that result in loss of work time, months to recover, the risks of which don't really exist so much in other recreational sports -- that people who want to take part should be made to feel it's a privilege not a right, to be earned not automatically given.

    Completely agree with this. When I started racing I felt I didn't belong there just because it was too easy. All I had to do is pay some money to some people and pay some money to some other people, and there I was on the start line with no experience except a few club runs.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    Monty Dog wrote:
    The fact that people turn up at Cat 4 races these days on Pro-Tour level kit actually makes it worse - I was trying to follow a guy the other day who was riding a new top-range frame and Zipp wheels - the course was potholed so he was weaving all over the place, bunny-hopping and the like whereas in my view, you just have to keep your line and soak it up if in the middle of the bunch - if you want a nice clear view, get on the front! Anyway, he was so erratic, he was a menace to himself + others but alas, blissfully ignorant of his bad riding.
    I was once marshalling a race and some junior was so wound-up during his warm-up I thought he was going to mow me down as I crossed the track in a marshall's bib to deal with a registration issue.

    that seems stupid, if you smash into potholes you are more likely to crash and puncture, to me it makes sense if everyone dodges potholes ad points them out to other people so they can avoid them too. Which bike i rode wouldn't make me take more or less notice of potholes etc, i would still try and find the smoothest line
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Monty Dog wrote:
    The fact that people turn up at Cat 4 races these days on Pro-Tour level kit actually makes it worse - I was trying to follow a guy the other day who was riding a new top-range frame and Zipp wheels - the course was potholed so he was weaving all over the place, bunny-hopping and the like whereas in my view, you just have to keep your line and soak it up if in the middle of the bunch - if you want a nice clear view, get on the front! Anyway, he was so erratic, he was a menace to himself + others but alas, blissfully ignorant of his bad riding.
    I was once marshalling a race and some junior was so wound-up during his warm-up I thought he was going to mow me down as I crossed the track in a marshall's bib to deal with a registration issue.

    that seems stupid, if you smash into potholes you are more likely to crash and puncture, to me it makes sense if everyone dodges potholes ad points them out to other people so they can avoid them too. Which bike i rode wouldn't make me take more or less notice of potholes etc, i would still try and find the smoothest line

    Well it depends on the situation, doesn't it? If the bunch is very close together then swerving can cause crashes. Jumping the hole is the correct and most Euro option.
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Monty Dog wrote:
    The fact that people turn up at Cat 4 races these days on Pro-Tour level kit actually makes it worse - I was trying to follow a guy the other day who was riding a new top-range frame and Zipp wheels - the course was potholed so he was weaving all over the place, bunny-hopping and the like whereas in my view, you just have to keep your line and soak it up if in the middle of the bunch - if you want a nice clear view, get on the front! Anyway, he was so erratic, he was a menace to himself + others but alas, blissfully ignorant of his bad riding.
    I was once marshalling a race and some junior was so wound-up during his warm-up I thought he was going to mow me down as I crossed the track in a marshall's bib to deal with a registration issue.

    that seems stupid, if you smash into potholes you are more likely to crash and puncture, to me it makes sense if everyone dodges potholes ad points them out to other people so they can avoid them too. Which bike i rode wouldn't make me take more or less notice of potholes etc, i would still try and find the smoothest line

    Well it depends on the situation, doesn't it? If the bunch is very close together then swerving can cause crashes. Jumping the hole is the correct and most Euro option.

    yes i agree but i doubt most 3/4 races have bunches that are that close anyway which seems to be the races being talked about here, but yeah bunny hoping is the best thing to do but again i don't think many 3/4 cat riders would have the skills to bunny hop at last minute in a bunch without swerving
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