Staying Safe During a Bicycle Race

Bicycle races are steadily growing in popularity; the number of licensed bicycle racers climbed by a whopping 48 percent between 2002 and 2008, reports Bikes Belong. It’s important for participants, race organizers, and city officials to take bicycle safety measures before and during the races, so that everyone can stay safe and enjoy the competition.

Bicycle Race Organizers Should Plan for Safety

One of the primary concerns race organizers should have is race day safety. A lot of planning is necessary to put adequate safety protocols into place to avoid an accident. Technical Director of USA Cycling, Shawn Farrell, comments, “We must offer only events that are safe. While it may be a cliché to say, ‘Safety is no accident,’ it is quite true.”

The organizers should select a good racecourse that is free from hazards, obstructions, or road construction.

According to USA Cycling, the following are a few things race planners can do to improve safety come race day:

  • clearly mark road imperfections (e.g., use paint or cones to warn riders of potholes);
  • check route every few days prior the event (to ensure that there are no new construction projects, road work, or detours);
  • avoid sending out too many riders;
  • provide training for the drivers of lead vehicles;
  • rally the race marshals and familiarize them with the entire event; and
  • plan for an entrance path for ambulances to reach riders should an accident occur.

Race Marshals Should Be Thoroughly Prepared

Race marshals are the key to making sure everyone stays safe during the actual event. They help keep all the riders on course and try to prevent any run-ins with vehicles. USA Cycling explains how vital marshals are: “For most events, the race’s marshal crew is its backbone. The coordination of marshals is so important that no race should run without someone specifically in charge of the marshals.”

To best promote safety, marshals should:

  • have proper training (they should know their station well prior to race day);
  • use proper safety equipment, including fluorescent vests, flags, and whistles;
  • have preplanned breaks (someone should cover a marshal’s station for periodic food and restroom breaks); and
  • stay alert and on the ready during their entire shifts.

Bicycle Safety Guidelines for Racers

Of course, riders have a responsibly for safety as well. They should make sure they are fully prepared for the event; inexperienced riders are more prone to accidents, particularly in a crowded, competitive race. During the race, they should keep their heads up and stay alert to any hazards, such as cracks in the road or narrow paths.

Cyclist safety also involves planning corners; slowing down and taking a turn at a manageable speed will help reduce the risk of wrecking. Also, even though the marshals are on duty trying to keep the cars off the course, riders will still need to stay alert to any vehicles that may be on the road.

Were you or your loved one injured in a bicycle accident?

Even with careful planning and bike safety measures, accidents can still occur. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike race, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. To determine your legal options, call personal injury lawyer D.J. Banovitz for a free consultation. Individuals in the Aurora area can contact our office at 303-300-5060 today.