Ideas from club members about how to improve safety on club rides:
Basic safety precautions
- Wear a helmet.
- Taking a first aid training course can be helpful for everyone. Knowing what to do (and not to do) can help reduce stress and a be lifesaver, literally.
Details of where to do a first aid course in the region?
Learning to ride in a group
- I like what Feynman had to say about the decision making that lead to the shuttle disaster. When playing Russian roulette, the fact that the first shot got off safely is little comfort for the next
- This article from the nytimes may also be interesting—though not directly relevant to cycling: For nature cannot be fooled, especially some of the group dynamics and communication and peer pressure stuff.
Cycling is for the most part very safe but the more people ride in a group and the higher the speed, the ore the risk of accidents goes up. As I always stress before a ride, the person in the front needs to signal obstacles, dangers and stops to the people behind as their vision is limited. That said the people in front can be in a situation where they quickly have to stop or swerve to avoid sudden situations without having the time to signal to the people behind. This means that even if you are not in the front of the group you need to be aware what goes on in front of you. That mean being attentive and not staring at you computer/phone all the time.
Be aware of the how your bike/you handles. Are you aware of the stopping distance for your bike at different speeds, what cornering speed are you comfortable with? The more you are aware of your bike and your own limitations, the easier it is to make sure that you do not go beyond the limits where the risk of accident goes up exponentially.
We know all about passive safety: wear your protections, keep your bike technically fit, etc. But what about active safety: Are we fit? Are we riding (even slightly) above our capacities? What are our capacities for today? Did we detect that we are already (a tiny bit) tired? Am I still safe for the rest of the group? Is the complete group aware of the fact that some of the riders do not know too much about mutual safety? Can each and every one of the group halt safely in case something goes terribly wrong? (As you know, energy goes with the square of speed and going downhill, potential and kinetic energy add).
VCC used to have technical training an evening per week: how to ride in a group under different conditions, how to control/manage your bike until the last millisecond before the eventual accident (yes, you can still do a lot of things before you crash), how to detect your own fatigue and errors and those of others, how to look constantly for a way to avoid the accident. People responsible for the group can follow extra courses, there are plenty. I would recommend these courses to all members. And practice.
- Who ran the VCC technical training?
- Details about these extra courses?
Emergency contact information
Currently emergency information is collected for members only and is available only to the members of the committee.
The simplest solution is that everyone should carry important information with them on the ride:
I have always a laminated (small) document with my money (that’s where police &co search first) with my name, date of birth, blood type, address, tel.# of my wife, medication, insurance# and (for when I ride my motorcycle) my license plates.
- How to ensure that everyone knows to do this, now and in the future?
- Personal liability insurance and health insurance is the individual responsibility of everyone on the ride.
- The club has a complementary health insurance which will pay the difference between what your normal health insurance covers and the cost of your treatment. (I think you must be a signed-up club member to benefit?)
- There is no insurance cover for damage to equipment: damage to bike, helmet, GPS, phone, clothing, etc. is all at your own expense.
- Consider taking out a comprehensive cycle insurance policy such as that offered by the Féderation Française du Vélo (includes civil responsibility, legal protection, repatriation after an accident, participation in competitons, covers up to three bikes, no excess if you need to replace your helmet).
If an accident happens
Someone from the group should always accompany the injured person to hospital (or home). In the shock after an accident it’s difficult to assess the extent of someone’s injuries. If someone leaves the ride after an accident, they should not go home alone.