Monday, May 12, 2008

Safety Tips

Must Haves: Helmet, Water Bottles, Spare tube and pump, Medical identification inside of helmet

Signals: A few signals help the people in the back of the pack avoid potholes and road rash. They generally can't see it until it's too late. A point with your hand is generally enough to warn the other riders. Call out if it is something particularly nasty. Something short and understandable (like "hole") is best. A few other calls that are standard in the club:

  • "Tracks" - Railroad tracks

  • "Glass" - Broken glass in the path

  • "Car right/left" - A car is coming from that direction

  • "Car back/up" - A car is coming from the rear (or front)

  • "On your left/right" I am close at your side or intend to pass on your right (or left)

  • Intersections: Sometimes the whole pack can't make it through an intersection. The bikers that make it through in the first wave should try to slow up a bit to let the second wave catch up before picking up the pace. Don't take unnecessary chances to avoid getting dropped. The group should wait for you.

Stay to the right: Stay to the right of the road unless you are riding double or are passing. This will allow others to pass on your left without going into the lane of oncoming traffic. This is particularly important on the hills where the pack breaks up. Stay out of the lane of oncoming traffic. Cars travel fast and can appear suddenly. Try not to pass on the right. If you must, give an "on your right" signal.

Dealing with cars: Share the road - We have an obligation to ride in a manner that keeps conflicts to a minimum. The vast majority of the drivers are considerate of bikers. Ride in a manner that you would like to see when you overtake a group of bikers.

Communication: Avoid shouting at motorists or using nonstandard hand signals.

Riding double: Riding two abreast is okay only when the traffic is light and can be seen well in advance. But be prepared to single up quickly to allow any traffic to pass. The rider on the left should drop behind the rider on the right. The line of riders on the right will have to spread out to allow room for the riders moving in. This means the riders in the front must speed up and the riders in the rear slow up.

Stay in your lane: Stay out of the lane of the oncoming traffic at all times. Cars approach too fast for safety and drivers do not expect a rider in their lane. Avoid riding three abreast for this reason. It places the rider on the left too close to the oncoming traffic.

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