Cycle club racing rules

All cycle clubs have their own set of rules depending on the nature of the sessions, races and disciplines of cycling covered. However, British Cycling stipulate best practice guidelines to ensure that all riders in cycle club races, sessions and activities are aware of the dangers of racing, and how best to mitigate them.

The most important aspect of cycle club racing is to maintain your own health and safety. Unless they provide equipment for you to use, most clubs will operate on the basis that the rider is responsible for their own bike. This means it must be maintained with working brakes and be fit for riding on roads.

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Highly visible clothing should be worn when riding on roads, as well as items that are appropriate for weather and riding conditions. For clubs which are affiliated with British Cycling, all kits must be checked over before being ordered, to ensure they comply with British Cycling terms.

Bikes should also be fitted with reflectors and lights if needed for evening riding. A helmet should always be worn when riding to minimise the impact of incidents on the roads. All clubs should have a procedure for reporting accidents and this should be done as soon as one occurs. Emergency procedures should also be communicated to all members of the club, and there should be a procedure so that no member is left unaccompanied during a race or activity.

Races and sessions on public highways and off-road should only include riders of 12 years or older and of a competent level. There should always be a designated member of the team to look after riders between 12 and 18 years of age and a parental consent form must be obtained. For individual coaching sessions, the minimum age to receive individual training is usually 14-16 years old by a qualified coach who has the necessary first aid training.

When riding on public highways and off-road routes, the Highway Code and Countryside Code should always be observed for the safety of riders and other road users. In addition, there should be a predetermined start time and route; knowledge of which should be carefully communicated to each member in the race or session.

The important things to remember when riding on roads are to ensure you always stop at red lights and try to keep within a narrow column of riders. Check for traffic whenever you are about to overtake another rider, and let drivers pass you on narrow country roads. In addition, be respectful of other street 'traffic' such as pedestrians, particularly the disabled and elderly, as well as joggers and horse-riders.

Many races may well have sweepers who will stay with the group and assist with any mechanical problems. However, it is always advisable to carry a small puncture kit with you in case of having to make repairs.

Copyright 2009