Group Rides – Generic Risk Assessment

 Introduction

Worcester St Johns Cycling Club (WSJCC) organise club rides to suit the varying abilities and experience of its members. WSJCC wants all participants on its rides to have an enjoyable experience. WSJCC’s website provides guidance for its Members and Ride Leaders on group riding etiquette and ride planning which in turn helps deliver safe and enjoyable riding. The WSJCC website is therefore an essential read for members and should be the first information sought and followed for safety.

As WSJCC members we must look out for one another and share information about bike and riding safety in an informal, supportive and polite way, often discussed during social bike rides. What is set out in this document is a written record of our assessment of safety and risks and the actions we take to reduce and manage these risks. Many of the things we will already do and are what might be considered as common sense and is what we already do. Nonetheless there may be information that is new and helpful to members. Importantly, in order to comply with the requirements of the club’s insurance all of these things have to be formalised into this Risk Assessment document. This will help towards protecting both our members and WSJCC as a whole. Cycle rides always have an element of risk and these may be higher than many other activities in normal life, however WSJCC seeks to protect members and the public from injury or loss as far as is reasonably practicable.

The assessment is specific to WSJCC and so does not include activities such as introducing beginners to riding. WSJCC members and guest riders are expected to be experienced riders. Inexperienced rider’s risks resulting from, for instance, using cleats and gears are not considered separately. Most of the risks are therefore best managed by actions to be taken by individual participant riders who should recognise that they have a duty of care to themselves and to others in the group. WSJCC group rides will have a volunteer Ride Leader who plans and leads the ride, but the emphasis for safety is necessarily on individual riders.

 HAZARD = something with the potential to cause harm

RISK = the chance, great or small, of coming into contact with that hazard

The Risk Assessment uses a High, Medium, Low indicator method. It’s a careful examination of what in our club ride activities presents a hazard and could cause harm to people. It then identifies ways to reduce and manage these risks. These are the control measures to be implemented by all riders on a club run. This Risk Assessment is generic, that is, it is suitable for all non-competitive WSJCC club rides. As the severity of a hazard cannot be reduced the control measures seek to reduce the likelihood of the hazard occurring. RISK

 

S = Severity L= Likelihood Risk      R = S x L
1 = Low:  

None or minor first aid injury

 

2 = Medium:

Outpatient treatment injury

 

3 = High:

Hospitalisation or fatal injury

1 = Low:

Seldom or never likely to happen

 

2 = Medium:

Reasonably likely to happen

 

3 = High:

Extremely likely to happen

1, 2 or 3 = Low.

Risk is controlled as far as reasonably practicable by most riders and leaders following most guidelines

 

4 = Medium.

Risk is controlled by all riders and leader following all guidelines.

 

6 & 9 = High.  

Do not start the ride! Further actions are required.                                                          

RISK

CONTROL MEASURES

Hazard/ possible cause Severity Likelihood Initial  risk  

Control Measures to manage risk

Severity Likelihood Residual risk
Impact with ground, falling from cycle – Rider fatigue, lack of food or drink. High Medium High Each rider must familiarise themselves with the distance, pace and severity of the ride planned prior to making their decision to attend.

To assist this decision guidance on Club’s weekly ‘standard rides’ is provided on the WSJCC website. For other rides the Ride Leader must provide advance information on the WSJCC Facebook page (or by other means). The WSJCC website sets out guidelines for this information. In addition a Ride Leader will provide an appropriate rider briefing at the starting point.

Riders have responsibility for ensuring that they carry sufficient food / drink / energy gels for duration of ride. The ride leader will plan appropriate café and refreshment stops or state that none are planned in the advance information and at the briefing.

Riders to carry money to purchase food / drink.

If during a club run you (or you observe someone) become significantly fatigued or unwell, inform the Ride Leader immediately.

High Low Low
Collision  with motor vehicle / other

road users

High Medium High All riders must follow the Highway Code at all times including obeying traffic signals and signs.

If poor visibility expected, wear bright clothing and use cycle lights.

All riders to continually assess traffic conditions, driver attitudes and take appropriate safety action such as getting off and walking; using a pedestrian crossing to cross a major road.

Should the need to stop arise e.g. through puncture, then a place must be found sufficiently off the road for group to wait safely and the bike be attended to. Consider using person(s) at strategic points to warn oncoming traffic.

Riders to use warnings and signals as set out in the WSJCC website to warn of approaching vehicles and other hazards.

High Low Low
Collision with

other rider in group

High Medium High Follow the rules set out in the WSJCC website for group riding, which are in brief summary:

• All riders to be conversant with group ride calls, hand signals and warnings and ensure that these calls are passed along the line

• Ride smoothly and consistently, be aware of those around you and do not brake without warning

• Concentrate at all times and anticipate changing road conditions

• When negotiating unforeseen road conditions (such as potholes) riders should be aware that their actions impact on others

• Ride slightly to one side of the wheel in front and with sufficient safe gap if not confident/competent to ride immediately behind the wheel in front.

·         Do not let your front wheel overlap that of the rear wheel of the bike in front

·         Ensure cycle is properly maintained

High Low Low
Impact with ground, falling from cycle due to bad road surface, gravel, ice, wet, oil or diesel spill, etc. High Medium High All riders must pay close attention to the road surface and immediate environment at all times. Abilities in a group ride will vary and it is for each individual rider to consider the conditions and take individual action such as slowing down and dismounting.

All Riders to only ride at a speed at which they are competent / confident particularly on descents.

Riders at the front of a group shall communicate hazards as set out in the WSJCC website.

Note that personal protection such as helmets and gloves may reduce injury in the event of falling off but do not prevent the incident arising. WSJCC members make their own decision on what protection to utilise.

High Low Low
Impact or collision due to being blown off cycle or being blown off course – High Medium High This can be caused by wind or large vehicles passing close to riders.

Riders to increase space between themselves in windy conditions.

Ride leaders to consider cancelling rides in exceptionally high winds and to plan sheltered routes if wind is a problem.

Ride leaders to avoid major roads with high numbers of large vehicles where possible.

High Low Low
Collision with pedestrians, dogs or other cycle path users High Medium High Riders must give pedestrians priority and ride at a safe speed.

On approach to a pedestrian from behind, riders must slow and warn that bikes are passing if this is necessary.

Riders need to ride especially carefully when dogs are not on leads.

High Low Low
Collision with wildlife – stray dog, farm animals, birds, etc. High Low Low Riders at front of group to be observant of such hazards and shout warnings to the group High Low Low
Collisions with or being struck by horses High Low Low Follow rider guidelines on the WSJCC website – lead riders to warn group, group to slow, warn horse riders of approach and pass wide and slow High Low Low
Hazards listed in this document encountered during the hours of darkness High High High All riders to use road legal lighting during lighting up hours and wear bright clothing.

Rear lights should be set on a non flashing mode and low intensity to prevent distraction and ‘blinding’ of riders behind

High Low Low
Hazards described above involving new or guest riders High Medium High Any guest / new rider must introduce themselves to the Ride Leader. As not all new riders will be aware of this, all club riders and the Ride Leader should look out for new riders attending the meet point for the first time and discuss with them prior to setting off their suitability for the ride.

Club Members bringing a guest or new rider should make sure in advance that the rider is reasonably competent to take part in the ride planned. They should still introduce themselves to the Ride Leader.

High Low Low
Falling off bicycle, colliding with other riders/vehicle  due to bike malfunction and bike condition High Low Low Cycles must be legal and roadworthy. Riders to inspect their cycle prior to each ride paying particular attention to brakes, frame, steering, pedals / cleats, wheels and tyres.

Each rider to carry tools and spares appropriate to their bike. Recommended equipment is listed in the WSJCC website.

If a rider or Ride Leader has concerns about the condition of a rider’s bike before the ride commences they may consider carrying out a bike assessment.

High Low Low
Lone rider hazards (Assault, illness, injury, etc.)  –  rider stranded High Low Low Follow the WSJCC website guidelines for group riding – riders must be prepared to take care of themselves should they become stranded due for instance to bike failure or otherwise become separated from the group. This means each rider preferably carrying mobile phone, knowing the route / general area, or having a map, and knowing public transport options for getting back.

However a Ride Leader shall not leave a rider stranded unless it is safe to do so. Particular care and thought should be taken with more vulnerable riders.

High Low Low
Impact of road debris on riders eye – insects, gravel, rain, mud etc. Medium Medium Medium Each rider to consider wearing suitable eye protection to protect against insects, rain, sunlight and mud flicking up from their own bike and bikes in front.

All riders are requested to fit mudguards when it is probable that conditions will be poor – for instance during the winter months.

Low Low Low
Hypothermia or heat stroke – Poor weather conditions Medium Medium Medium Riders to assess weather conditions and dress / prepare appropriately and fit mudguards if considered necessary.

Ride Leader to look up weather forecast prior to ride and consider any ride adjustments. Ride Leader should manage changing conditions during the ride.

Medium Low Low
Known medical condition – I.e. Asthma, heart condition, sciatica etc. High Medium High Riders with a known medical condition to ensure that an accompanying rider has sufficient knowledge of the condition to ensure their safety in the event of an incident. Inform the Ride Leader of the condition if you are happy to do so. High Low Low
Riding Abroad High Medium High Trip organiser to research and communicate road and riding laws for trips abroad. Differences with UK laws may include: Riding on the right hand side, giving way/priority to the right, road signs making it compulsory to use cycle lanes, wearing of helmets. All group to remind others during rides of these rules as easy to forget on setting out each day. High Low Low
Injury from falls or contact with vegetation etc. when off road riding High Medium High Off road rides may include challenging surfaces requiring bike handling skills. Ride Leaders to describe routes fully when briefing, emphasising it is riders’ responsibility to adjust their riding accordingly and that group riding rules and signals may not be implementable off road. More space between riders required. Falls may be highly likely for some events – protective clothing will be required in these circumstances to reduce risk of injury. High Low Low

Incident Reporting:

In the event of a significant incident or significant near miss, the Ride Leader should write a report detailing the circumstances and present this to Committee. The report should be considered, account taken of any trends in incidents, and then any action required agreed and taken.  Such action might include issuing guidance, provision of training for club members and ride leaders.

Riders are encouraged to raise any issues or concerns with the Ride Leader and just as importantly to talk about things that have gone well.

All riders should carry an ICE contact number (In Case of Emergency) within their phone, saddle bag or on their person so others can use contacts if necessary.

All club members should consider their individual insurance needs and understand that the Cycling UK and/or British Cycling insurance held by WSJCC covers ride leaders not individual riders.

Document: 2017-10-26 v7