Although we attempt to make our group rides safer by vetting the routes with safety in mind, supplying trained Ride Leaders, and observing safe cycling rules, you are responsible for your own safety at all times.
The BCC requires compliance with all traffic stops. Please unclip at least one foot and touch it down at all stops. The only exception is when you encounter a stop on a steep hill where it may be difficult to clip back in and get started. In this case, slow down to a virtual stop while assessing any traffic approaching the intersection, and be prepared to clip out immediately if you must yield. Do not attempt a “track stand” where you remain motionless with both feet clipped in. Never shout “clear” to riders behind you. This can cause a serious accident if the situation changes rapidly before they enter the intersection. BCC Riders must always take responsibility for their own safety.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Riders should maintain a minimum following distance of one foot for each mile per hour over 10mph (3 ft at 13 mph, 5 ft at 15 mph, 9 ft at 19 mph, etc). A good rule of thumb is one bike length at 15 mph, two at 20 mph, and 3 at 25 mph. Remember, these are minimums and not necessarily safe. Maintain longer distances if you or the people around you are not experienced in group riding, the road is wet, or traffic is bad. Even at slower speeds, we encourage a following distance of at least one bicycle length. Serious accidents can be caused by low-speed cyclist to cyclist collisions, such as broken hips.
We do allow riding double where it is safe and does not impede traffic. However, keep a safe distance between you, monitor overtaking traffic closely, and watch carefully for obstacles that would require one of you to swerve.
Riding with a Group
- Be Smooth and Predictable
- No sudden accelerations or slowdowns!
- If a gap opens in front of you, try to close it gradually
- Sharp braking should be used ONLY in emergencies
- Do not move out to pass the rider in front of you without checking to be sure that you don’t have another rider in your ‘blind spot’ (coming up behind you on the left)
- Riders should verbally communicate upcoming stop signs: “SLOWING”, “STOPPING”
- If you’re getting too close to the rider ahead:
- Shift into an easier gear
- Soft pedal
- Sit up higher to catch more of the wind
- Move over slightly to catch more of the wind (but don’t overlap your front wheel with the next rider’s back wheel, and again, watch out to be sure there is not a rider coming from behind who you would be cutting off)
- Try not to coast – when the riders behind you see you coasting, they will slow down too and cause an accordion effect
- If all of the above do not slow you down enough, feather your brakes
- If you move closer to a rider in front of you in preparation for passing, complete the pass within 30 seconds. If you are passed by someone, you should drop back gradually to the at least the minimum following distance for your speed.
- It’s better to roll over minor obstacles like small holes or sticks than to make a sudden move over or slam on your brakes.
- Hand signals and verbal signals
- Right turn, left turn
- Slowing, stopping
- Pointing at obstacles and calling them out (you need to point before going by the obstacle or you are not giving the rider behind you enough warning)
- Car back
- Move over for obstacles ahead (example, “Walker up”)
- Be considerate of other riders in the group. If the entire group doesn’t make it through a stoplight before it turns red, slow down to wait up for those who didn’t make it through. This will also encourage lawful behavior, in that riders won’t feel so pressured to run a red light if they know the group is going to wait up for them.
- Let other riders know when you are passing them. Avoid passing on the right. Avoid riding with ‘overlapping wheels’.
- Watch out for squirrelly riders in the group and increase your following distance. Conversely, learn who is a “steady wheel” and try to position yourself behind those riders.
- Don’t use aerobars when in a group. You need to have good control of your bike and have your brakes within close reach.
- Be careful on hills:
- Drafting, even at lower speeds, is not recommended on hills because the different strengths of riders become more pronounced on hills.
- The front person should pedal on downhill stretches, or else everyone behind will be catching up to them too fast.
- The group may need to slow down after climbing a hill to allow slower riders to catch up.
- Standing to climb when riding in a group slows you down momentarily and can cause the rider behind you to collide. When preparing to stand, give the verbal signal: “Standing”
In Case of an Accident
Call the police IMMEDIATELY
Do not move any vehicle until the police arrive
Do not attempt to move any injured persons
Obtain the following information from all parties: name and address of all involved vehicle operators, pedestrians, and cyclists
License plate and registration numbers
Name and address of all involved insurance companies
Name and address of all witnesses
Request a thorough police investigation
Ask for a copy of the accident report
Remind your Ride Leader to fill out an accident report for the Club’s insurance company.