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Safe Cycling

GUIDELINES FOR SAFE CYCLING

As TAB's group rides for the 2009 season resume, here are some guidelines to keep us safe:

BEFORE THE RIDE

Wear something bright and very visible even in the daylight. Motorists may not see you if you wear drab colors that blend with the background.




Be on time. All scheduled rides depart at the scheduled time. Plan to arrive a few minutes early so you won't be rushed and can depart with the group.




Inspect your bike and equipment BEFORE the ride. Nothing detracts from the enjoyment of riding more than unnecessary breakdowns. Carry at least one spare tube, frame pump, plus necessary tools (e.g. tire levers to remove the tire from the rim and a patch kit) for emergency repairs of your bike.




All club members are required to wear a bicycle helmet on club rides. Experience has shown that a helmet is a lifesaver. This rule was added out of consideration for your fellow riders, who will be taking care of you in case of an accident. The use of gloves, eye protection, rearview mirror and carrying some form of emergency identification is recommended.




Lights are important. You should have a front white headlight and a rear red taillight. Additional reflective gear (stickers, clothing) can help others see you on the road.

DURING THE RIDE

Stay together. Groups are more social, visible and better able to handle emergencies. In the event of a breakdown or flat, at least one other member should stop until the problem is rectified. Wait at turns to be sure that everyone riding in your group makes the turn and understands the proper route. When a large group breaks up into smaller groups at different paces, be aware of who is riding in your group and make sure that they are not left behind, unless they voluntarily drop back to join a slower group. Do not leave slower riders unaccompanied unless you are sure that they have the option of riding with another group at their pace. For smaller groups, common courtesy and common sense is expected; even if you must ride at a slower than anticipated pace.




When a ride has a ride leader, the leader should designate a rider to ride clean-up (the last rider). This rider should have the capacity of helping with any situation which could arise: an accident, a lost rider, an exhausted rider, indignant motorist, equipment problems, etc. In the event the assigned ride leader does not show up, a senior member should be responsible to either be or assign a ride leader.




For everyone's safety, either signal or call out your passing, turning, slowing or stopping intentions. Point out any dangers such as glass, potholes, gravel, animals, etc. When riding in a tight pace line, use clear verbal warnings, since hand signals alone cannot always be interpreted in time to avoid danger.




All riders should be aware of traffic. When a vehicle approaches from the front, alert the other riders by calling out "car up", from the rear "car back", use "car right or car left" for a vehicle approaching from the sides. Other riders should repeat the call out alert since sound may not carry all the way up or down the pace line (especially in our area where we constantly ride in the wind)




Calling out clear at intersections ... our club does yell "clear" at intersections. However, you should always check the intersection for yourself and your own safety.




When safety permits, allow vehicles free access to pass. Ride single file, closer to the shoulder and acknowledge their presence. Understand motorist impatience and do NOTHING that might further aggravate them. You are no match for a car and any aggressive action may endanger you or other riders, then or in the future. Make eye contact with drivers at intersections. Be predictable. Be courteous.




Safety is paramount at all times. When using a pace line, ride smoothly and in a straight line. Do not pass other riders on the right side or ride in their blind spots. If you draft, learn proper drafting techniques. If you are an inexperienced group rider, learn by observing and evaluating the correct riding habits of the more experienced riders. If you are an experienced rider, be aware that others are looking to you for guidance and exhibit safe and appropriate riding behavior.

WHEN DAYLIGHT FADES

Wear bright colored clothes -- yellow, orange, and red are best. Anything reflective is also great. Stay away from black, dark blue, or dark green. It's a challenge for motorists to see us at dusk, so try to do anything you can to be visible.




Put reflectors on your helmet, bike, clothes, shoes. Most bike shops sell stick-on reflective tape for just this purpose. One package is all you'll need to help make you visible at dusk.




Use lights on your bike. We plan to finish before dark, but you never know what can happen on the road. If you get a flat or the ride is delayed for any reason, you could find yourself riding in the dark. Front lights (white) and rear lights (red) are highly recommended (and the law for riding after dusk in some states). You don't need to get expensive ones. Most bike shops can set you up with a basic set for about $15.




Bring yellow or clear lenses for your glasses. When we start out, the sun is shining, but when we finish, it's getting darker. Make sure you still have eye protection, but switch to yellow or clear lenses for better vision.

Many of us use checklists to remind us to bring a water bottle, arm warmers, the front wheel, and yes, maybe even the pedals. Please put RIDE SAFELY and come home uninjured at the top of your checklist.

4/7/09

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