Communication is absolutely critical to the success of all group rides. It starts right from the beginning even before the group leaves: The rider needs to communicate which group and pace of ride they want. On the road riders need to communicate the ride formation, rotation and pace. Riders at the front need to call out road hazards and traffic situations.
The bottom line is that the quality and safety of the ride is dependent on frequent and clear communications between all the riders (not just from the experienced ones). Never assume everyone in the group knows a car is approaching or that the group is turning. Everything that can affect the group needs to be called out. If you see someone riding inappropriately ie overlapping wheels, surging off the front we all should say something. Be polite but make it known that that was not proper. We all own these rides and if someone does something dangerous it’s in everyone’s best interest to correct it. So don’t let bad habits go unaddressed. Say something before it’s too late.
We all have a responsibility to the riders around us. When we are at the front we are responsible to the riders behind to provide a smooth and steady pull and to point out hazards. When we are at the back we are responsible to call out cars coming from the back and to maintain the integrity of the group by not allowing gaps.
Bottom line: It’s your club. We all own the ride equally. Communicate please.
When being approached by an emergency vehicle (fire truck, ambulance, or police) with its lights and siren activated, we are required under the HTA to pull over our group and stop. It doesn’t matter if the emergency vehicle is approaching from the front or behind.
Act fast, but act safely and in control: when a siren is heard or lights are seen, immediately shout out to your group to pull over and stop. A siren or lights means stop now but not a panic stop, a controlled and safe stop.
How to stop a group: let’s presume your group is riding 2 abreast.
- The Ride Leader calls out to the group
“EMERGENCY STOP, GROUP STOPPING NOW”
“RIGHT LINE STOP FIRST
“LEFT LINE PASS AND STOP”
- The right line applies their brakes to reduce the speed in a controlled manner, eventually pulling over to a complete stop. Once stopped, cyclists must keep as close as possible to the right edge of the road, clear of any intersections.
- The left line completely passes the right line and once safely clear, slows in a controlled manner. Once stopped, cyclists must keep as close as possible to the right edge of the road, clear of any intersections.
- This can all happen within seconds. There is no need for panic. What is essential is that the decision to perform an “emergency stop” be made quickly, loudly and clearly so that the group has time to perform the stop safely.