Forum home Road cycling forum Amateur race

Being A Marshal

cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
edited June 2012 in Amateur race
What are the duties of a race marshal? Are there different roles on the day, if so what are they? As part of our club membership we are expected to volunteer for at least one event and I would like to have an idea of the responsibilities of a marshal before I do, rather than just turn up without a clue.

Posts

  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    The race organiser should tell you - it depends on where you are marshalling really. Legally you can't stop traffic but in practice most often you can - but it depends on the road layout. Basically you are there to warn the traffic there is a race approaching - or warn the race there is traffic approaching - and in practice sometimes stop the traffic to allow the race free passage - bit different if you are talking about TTs I wouldn't be stopping cars for one rider.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    There are almost certainly different roles too - you may well be in the kitchen, or helping as a finish judge, or helping sign people on. There's lots of jobs other than standing on a corner with a flag. None of the tasks are difficult, all can be enjoyable, hopefully your organiser can ensure there's a mix of experience in every job, so you can just learn on the others on your corner.

    If you live in Essex or Wales, you can become an accredited marshal where you can stop traffic, but that takes a course. And there's something to do with lollipops in central region, but I don't know how that's progressing.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Thanks Tom. So on a junction, you'd need position yourself so you can see the riders approaching and the traffic too? What if the traffic has the right of way, do marshals sometimes stop the traffic to give the riders a clear run? Surely that would P off drivers, as well as being a bit dangerous, trying to halt vehicles that are not expecting to be held up.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    With the weather the way it is Jim, the kitchen is probably the best place to be! Although I would rather be outside, learning as you say from more experienced people. Having said that, I do make a fine cuppa!
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,396
    Thanks Tom. So on a junction, you'd need position yourself so you can see the riders approaching and the traffic too? What if the traffic has the right of way, do marshals sometimes stop the traffic to give the riders a clear run? Surely that would P off drivers, as well as being a bit dangerous, trying to halt vehicles that are not expecting to be held up.

    Officially you can't stop traffic unless you are an accredited marshall in Wales or Essex as Jim mentions. However, you can 'politely request' that vehicles stop. I've never had an issue with people not stopping or getting abusive in the past prior to the NEG / accreditation days. Theoretically you are there to point the racers in the right direction and advise them of the danger so it should be the race stopping if they don't have priority. In reality that isn't going to happen! You should get plenty of advanced warning that the race is approaching to enable you to 'request' that the traffic stops in plenty of time.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Thanks Pross.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    Thanks Tom. So on a junction, you'd need position yourself so you can see the riders approaching and the traffic too? What if the traffic has the right of way, do marshals sometimes stop the traffic to give the riders a clear run? Surely that would P off drivers, as well as being a bit dangerous, trying to halt vehicles that are not expecting to be held up.

    That bunch of riders will be assuming you have stopped any traffic. So stick yer flag out and block the road with it.....
  • Simon NotleySimon Notley Posts: 1,263
    Most races these days (certainly in the busy South East) have motorbike marshalls who will handle the stopping of traffic if needed. As a volunteer all you need to do is wave your flag enthusiastically when you see the bunch coming to alert approaching vehicles that something is going on. This creates a safer environment for the motorbike marshalls and the riders alike.
  • blackhandsblackhands Posts: 950
    When marshalling road races, don't forget that the race consists of a lead car(s) riders and following cars - so immediately behind any group of riders will (hopefully) be a commissaire's car. So if you are holding up the traffic at least let the commissaire's car through. When I'm a commissaire, .I get really pissed off when marshals let the traffic go in front of me and I can't see the race
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Most race organisers put 2 people on junctions as traffic will be two-way. Whilst you can't officially stop traffic, standing in the road waving a flag means that they'll probably stop calmly and if you speak nicely, explaining the situation they'll happily wait. You do get one or two who don't want to stop and they censored , whine, moan (BMW geddit?) if they do - just smile nicely.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Yes, you can't stop traffic if they have right of way, of course, waving your flag to stop them and warn them about the big load of cyclists that are on the road is quite a friendly thing to do - and if it happens to coincide with a motorbike stopping next to you and a big load of cyclists coming around then corner then it's a happy coincidence...
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    There should be signage on all the roads that have junctions with the course saying "cycle race in progress" so it's not as if someone has stepped out in front of cars with a red flag with no warning.

    NEG marshals do a great job of parking themselves in front of traffic to let the leading cars, the riders, and the following cars by. In any case you still need to hold out your flag but do it in a way that doesn't place yourself in the middle of the road -- have yourself by the side with the flag in the middle. There are some nutter drivers out there and you don't want to endanger yourself!

    Riders in the race are instructed that they have to obey the rules of the road and if a car had right of way and a rider hit it (or it hit a rider) the rider would at least share the responsibility of the collision. In most places (Essex and Wales are the exceptions), having a cycle race permit doesn't mean all the riders get to ignore the Highway Code. In the races I do, when I'm on the front I yell "clear!" for the riders behind as a courtesy as I go through the junction. And I always look right before turning left, even in the middle of the bunch.

    Top tip if you get someone moaning about being stopped is keep them chatting as long as possible, agree that it's a pain to be delayed, yes isn't cycle racing terrible, well you know how it is the police issue the permits maybe you should file a complaint with them blah blah, before you know it the race has passed by and the moaning driver can be on his way again. :D
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I was on a corner earlier in the year, and a chap didn't want to stop, I stood in front of him, saying it would be ten secs and he would be away, but he drove towards me, so as he went passed (about 3 secs before the group were about to come through) I knocked his window in disgust, he got out and squared up to me!

    Some people are mad.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
Sign In or Register to comment.