Marshalling

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danieljgreen
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Marshalling

Postby danieljgreen » Thu Feb 24, 2011 07:51 am

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

jibberjim
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Postby jibberjim » Thu Feb 24, 2011 08:30 am

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.
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danieljgreen
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Postby danieljgreen » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:41 am

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

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Bronzie
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Postby Bronzie » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:49 am

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.

racingcondor
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Postby racingcondor » Thu Feb 24, 2011 13:46 pm

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.

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Monty Dog
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Postby Monty Dog » Sat Feb 26, 2011 21:54 pm

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.
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Postby jibberjim » Sat Feb 26, 2011 21:56 pm

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?
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Monty Dog
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Postby Monty Dog » Sun Feb 27, 2011 14:56 pm

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.
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blackhands
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Postby blackhands » Sun Feb 27, 2011 15:50 pm

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.

emx
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Postby emx » Sun Feb 27, 2011 18:23 pm

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 Butcher
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Postby Tom Butcher » Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:34 pm

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.
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Homer J
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Postby Homer J » Sun Feb 27, 2011 20:32 pm

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:

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Postby Tom Butcher » Sun Feb 27, 2011 21:56 pm

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.
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jibberjim
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Postby jibberjim » Sun Feb 27, 2011 22:01 pm

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!
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emx
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Postby emx » Sun Feb 27, 2011 22:55 pm

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....

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Monty Dog
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Postby Monty Dog » Mon Feb 28, 2011 07:57 am

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.
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maryka
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Postby maryka » Mon Feb 28, 2011 13:51 pm

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.

emx
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Postby emx » Mon Feb 28, 2011 14:34 pm

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 anal 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...

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Pross
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Postby Pross » Mon Feb 28, 2011 14:37 pm

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.

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Postby jibberjim » Mon Feb 28, 2011 14:44 pm

emx wrote:sorry to be anal 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.
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