Safety is the Number One Priority at the Brisbane Triathlon Club. Of the three disciplines, cycling is by far-and-away the most dangerous – and, unfortunately, death and major injury to cyclists is not uncommon.
As a way of augmenting the safety of our members (and the public), the Brisbane Triathlon Club has prepared a ‘Cycling risk management hierarchy’, outlined below. We require all potential participants of our club rides to be familiar with and comply with the recommendations outlined in this hierarchy.
This hierarchy follows the following ‘steps’:
- Avoid the risk (most preferred)
- Minimise the risk
- Manage the risk (least preferred)
The details of this hierarchy are provided below. The good folk at Port Macquarie Cycling Club also provide some great tips on cycling etiquette, which we also recommend all members apply at all times. If you have ANY questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact our club coach, Brad Dalrymple, or one of our session facilitators.
AVOID THE RISK
The following methods are recommended to AVOID risks to safety whilst cycling:
- Cycling on a stationary trainer is a fantastic way to maximise your personal safety AND your cycling strength and fitness.
- Not only are the majority of cycling hazards completely removed, cycling on stationary training is estimated to be approximately twice as effective as ‘road cycling’ due to a range of reasons (e.g. not waiting at traffic lights).
- ‘Ride Inside’ provide indoor cycling sessions, and we highly recommend our members train here.
- Bike shops also sell a range of ‘stationary trainers’, including the extremely popular Wahoo Kickr, which can be used in your own home.
MINIMIMSE THE RISK
There are a range of actions that we recommend to our members to MINIMISE risks to safety whilst cycling:
Make sure your bike is fully functional:
- Your bike should have appropriately functioning breaks, and be free of any defects that could have any potential to cause you to not have appropriate control or function of your bike.
- Before cycling, check your tyres for glass or other sharp debris. Most punctures happen on a ride from glass/ debris in the tyre before you actually start the ride.
- All cyclists should carry appropriate equipment to replace any punctured tyre tube.
Avoid wet roads:
- The likelihood of slips and falls significantly increase when the roads are wet.
- Brisbane Triathlon Club will cancel any planned club ride if wet roads are anticipated or likely. This will typically done no later than 8pm the day before any planned morning ride – done via our Brisbane Triathlon Club Facebook page.
Avoid ‘big bunch’ rides:
- Brisbane Triathlon Club will typically divide all planned club rides into groups no more than approximately 8 cyclists. Whilst a little anti-social, this significantly reduces many of the risks associated with cycling in a group – particularly those associated with cyclists ‘taking down’ other cyclists.
Follow the road rules:
- Remember, you have the same rights and responsibilities as all other road users.
- You MUST wear an appropriate, Australian Standards approved cycling helmet. If there’s any damage to it, replace it.
Share the road:
- While sharing the road with motorists, you must share the responsibilities.
- You must keep a minimum distance of one metre between you and other vehicles when riding through traffic.
- Ride a maximum of two abreast and, when there space is limited, single file.
- Ride defensively.
- Know what the other traffic is doing.
- Scan the road behind – shoulder check regularly.
- Be prepared to manoeuvre for safety even though bicycles have an equal right to use the road. Watch for cars entering from driveways.
- Use high visibility lights (both at the front and back of your bike) and have reflectors on your bike.
- Bright-coloured clothing can also make you more visible to motorists.
- Be predictable with all your actions and communicate.
- Let others know where you are going (e.g. hand signals, verbally)
- Use “car up” or “car back”, for example, or “slowing” if you or the riders in front of you are slowing.
- Maintain a steady, consistent line and avoid braking or changing direction suddenly.
- Maintain the same speed as the rest of the bunch without constantly surging or braking.
- Avoid weaving in and out of traffic or around parked cars.
- When coming up to lights and they are amber or red call “lights”, and to add effect call “stopping”. If very close to the intersection and they go amber call “rolling”. A long group may need to split and a responsible rider in the middle of the bunch will call “stopping” to prevent riders behind entering the intersection when red.
Point out, call, and safely avoid hazards:
- All cyclists need to point out, call and safely avoid hazards. If the cyclist in front of you has done this, you MUST do the same – to help the cyclist(s) behind you to appropriately avoid hazards.
- These include potholes, drain grates, stray animals, opening car doors, parked cars, broken glass or other dangerous debris.
- If you need to avoid an obstacle (e.g. pothole), do so smoothly – and keep the obstacle on the same side as any cyclist in front of you (so all cyclists can observe and subsequently avoid the hazard).
- Ride at least one metre from the kerb so you can safely move around road hazards.
Be careful at intersections:
- Most cycling crashes occur at intersections.
- Always proceed with care through intersections only when safe to do so.
Beware of car doors:
- ‘T-boning’ (cycling into) a car door is a major risk to cyclists.
- We recommend that cyclists ride more than a car door width away when riding beside parked cars.
- When riding beside parked cars, we also suggest looking for people inside the cars and be careful (and provide sufficient space) if you see people preparing to exist a parked car.
Use the appropriate lane:
- Do not ride in a ‘left turn only’ lane if you are going straight through. Move into the through lane early.
- In a narrow lane, on a roundabout or in slow traffic, it may be safer to take a whole lane.
- Signal, move to the right turning lane and turn only when safe.
Keep the tunes at home:
- No earphones are permitted in any of our club rides.
- When riding alone, we recommend that you do not use earphones.
- Don’t use your phone whilst cycling.
Hold an appropriate wheel line and position:
- When on the front of the bunch, keep the bikes handlebar to handlebar. If one rider is half a wheel ahead then this is amplified through the bunch behind and disrupts the flow of the bunch. If you are paired with a half-wheeler, politely let them know!
- Whilst cycling in a bunch, maintain a 30 to 50cm gap between your front wheel and the rear wheel of the bike in front of you – and very slightly to one side. By riding to the side, this will minimise any risk of you riding into the cyclist in front if anyone should suddenly slow up. If you are not comfortable (or do not want) to ride close to the wheel in front, we recommend that you do not ride in a bunch or ride well behind the cycling bunch
- When cycling up hills, avoid following a wheel too closely. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle on a hill which can cause a sudden deceleration. This can often catch a rider who is following too closely, resulting ‘crossed wheels’ and a fall.
- Allow riders or another bunch to pass safely on your right.
- Pass other riders and groups on your left and let them know you are passing them (e.g. “passing on your right”, “bikes back”).
Time trial bikes and aero bars:
- Time trial bikes and aero bars are welcome on club rides.
- Unless you are at the front of the cycling pack (or a minimum 15 metres away from other cyclists), do not ride on your aero-bars!
No ‘ewwww’ moments:
- If you want to spit or snot, look around move out of the draft momentarily and return to the paceline when you’re done!
Have a buddy:
- Cyclists are asked to select a ‘buddy’ – another member of the cycling group. It is each buddy’s responsibility to ensure that their buddy gets home ok. So, ideally the buddies should stay within eyesight of each other at all times during the ride.
Share the Love:
- A smile and a wave go a long way if a driver has waited for a cyclist to get through a junction.
- Say hello to other cyclists on the road as you pass. We are kindred spirits, connected by our passion and shared pain.
MANAGE THE RISK
There are a range of actions that we recommend to our members to MANAGE risks to safety whilst cycling:
Triathlon Australia or Cycling Queensland Membership:
- All cyclists riding on club rides MUST be a member of either Triathlon Australia or Cycling Queensland.
Road id bracelet:
- In the highly unlikely and unfortunate event that a cyclist is not conscious, it can be extremely difficult to make contact with next of kin to let them know how or where you are (so they can suitably assist, etc). A road id bracelet (www.roadid.com) allows fellow cyclists to know who and how they can contact in such circumstances.
First aid training:
- Many of our members have first aid training (some a lot more than others !!). But, we highly recommend all cyclists receive first aid training (and be familiar with appropriate first aid methods).
- A little video evidence can go a long way to demonstrating how any accident occurs. Several of our members utilise technology such as Fly6 whilst cycling. Chat to the guys at Bicycle Riders to learn more about these products, and again we recommend that cyclists utilise these.
TIPS FOR SAFER RUNNING
Running can be a little hazardous at times too. As a way of augmenting the safety of our members (and the public), the Brisbane Triathlon Club has prepared the following ‘Safe Running Tips’, outlined below. We require all potential participants of our club runs to be familiar with and comply with the recommendations outlined in these tips.
- Keep off the roads: When there is a safe alternative (e.g. footpath), stay off the roads.
- Go Against the Flow: If possible, run against road traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
- Keep left: On shared paths, allow riders or another runners to pass safely on your right. Pass other riders and groups on your left and let them know you are passing them (e.g. “passing on your right”, “runner back”).
- Look both ways before crossing: Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle. Obey traffic signals.
- Stay Alert: Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you.
- Take care on wet surfaces: The likelihood of slips and falls significantly increase when the running surface (e.g. footpath, boardwalk) is wet.
- Be a Disco Ball: If you’re running in the dark, wear a headlamp, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing. Even if it’s not dark, be bright and snazzy. Life’s too short not to be in fluoro.
- Point out, call, and safely avoid hazards: All runners should call (for the benefit of runners behind) and safely avoid hazards.
- Keep the tunes at home: No earphones are permitted in any of our club runs.
- Have a buddy: Runners are asked to select a ‘buddy’ – another member of the running group. It is each buddy’s responsibility to ensure that their buddy gets home ok. So, ideally the buddies should stay within eyesight of each other at all times during the run.
- Road id bracelet: This allows you to identify yourself and any pertinent medical alerts In the highly unlikely and unfortunate event that a runner is not conscious (www.roadid.com).
- First aid training: Many of our members have first aid training (some a lot more than others !!). But, we highly recommend all members receive first aid training (and be familiar with appropriate first aid methods).