Guidance for Ride Leaders
This guidance is for Worcester St Johns Cycling Club (WSJCC) Ride Leaders who run non-competitive group club rides for its Members and guests. Each Ride Leader will have in mind the type of ride they wish to plan and lead and the abilities and experience of the Club members it might attract. Whatever the type of ride, the Ride Leader should aim to fulfil the WSJCC aim for club rides, which is for all participants to have an enjoyable experience.
This guidance will help Ride Leaders fulfil this aim. It should be read and followed in conjunction with WSJCC ‘Group Riding Guidelines’ and the “Non-Competitive Rides Generic Risk Assessment”.
Duty of Care
Ride Leaders accept responsibility for leading the group and owe the other riders a duty of care to reduce the chance of them being exposed to unacceptable risk of injury, as far as is reasonably practicable.
It is essential therefore that a Ride Leader carries out the control measures in the Club’s Generic Risk Assessment. Many of the measures are in fact the responsibility of individual riders so this will need to be communicated to riders from time to time. Attention should be paid to new members or guest riders turning up for the first time to make sure they are reasonably competent and have a suitable bike.
Ride Leaders must undertake to lead to the best of their ability and avoid creating foreseeable risk of injury. They must take reasonable steps to deal with any potential risk of injury, which they know exists or arises during a ride.
Ride Leaders are volunteers, not professional guides. WSJCC guidance makes this clear and states that it is for individual riders to take full responsibility for their actions and to also use their own judgment as to what is best for their own and the group’s safety in any particular situation, but:
As a Ride Leader you must override unsafe decisions about group actions made by others, if they occur.
A Ride Leader will have knowledge of the route they are leading, be aware and reasonably follow this guidance and be an experienced rider.
A Ride Leader will aim to make a group ride enjoyable by:
Planning a ride
Using roads with low traffic volume
Considering Scenic routes or destinations of interest
Choosing ‘Hilly’ or ‘flat’ routes
Matching the time and length of ride to daylight hours (or specify lights)
Avoid or manage hazardous junctions
Consider avoiding large urban areas unless specifically a planned feature of a ride.
Check for other events in the area for the date planned. In particular check the Club’s official event diary and note that the Club’s rules require that rides aren’t planned to clash with Club Open events unless they support the event (i.e. a ride planned to end at an open event venue so that riders can then be helpers or spectators.
Giving a Pre-Ride Briefing
Group rides tend to fall into two categories: The standard weekly club social rides and the one off special events or outings.
A special event will need a briefing communicated in advance so that club members may decide whether the ride is for them. The Ride Leader may need to check entrants’ abilities are suited to the ride in advance and may wish to limit numbers.
For standard weekly club rides a briefing on the day is usually sufficient though Ride Leaders may wish also to provide advance information, particularly in special circumstances due to say a longer route or changeable weather conditions.
In either case the briefing should
Outline route, the distance, hills, surfaces and road types to be encountered, known hazards, average speed, comfort stops, café stops, train routes and times to provide alternative ways home. Off road rides will usually require more detailed description of the terrain and the type of bikes suitable.
On The Ride
After the briefing and before setting off, the Ride Leader should:
Take a headcount check and names if necessary to comply with insurance requirements (it may be possible to prepare a list in advance) and when needed, appoint an assistant/back marker.
Making introductions for any new riders to the group.
When riding, the Ride Leader will implement the Club’s Group Riding Rules, paying particular attention to:
Keeping the group together and providing support.
Not leaving anyone behind unless agreed during the ride and then only where safe to do so.
Delivering the ride that has been briefed, facilitating regrouping (e.g. at junctions; after hills) and keeping to the planned speed, subject to:
Making adjustments to the planned ride for comfort and safety.
Always choosing a safe place to stop as a group, and in particular avoiding road junctions, bends and other physical road hazards.
Warning riders before stopping, and keeping the carriageway clear.
Assess the problem and decide whether to hold up the ride or leave the affected rider with helpers and details of the route to the next stop(s).
If unsure of the route, stop well before junction to consult map.
Check for presence of back marker at junctions. If necessary wait for slower riders beyond the junction
Equipment failures on the ride:
In the event of punctures, breakdowns etc the priority is to keep the group safe. Clear the carriageway if possible, or instruct the group to continue to a safe waiting place.
Ride Leaders are not expected to be bike mechanics and often others in the group may be able to help with mechanicals. No one should carry out any repairs or adjustments that they are not reasonably confident they can carry out successfully.
Ride Leader Position in the Group
It’s not necessary for the Ride Leader to be on the front for the entire ride. It will be the best position when there are sections of more complex route finding or junction, or areas like narrow lanes where route knowledge might help in decisions for singling out. The Leader also does not have to be the back marker though there may be times, particularly on long climbs where this is appropriate. Often the best position is in the middle. And if on front best to be the right hand side as this gives better visibility of the group behind.
Wearing of protective equipment
The Club does not require helmets to be worn though they are advised and “may reduce injury in the event of an accident”. There may be planned rides, e.g. for off road riding or visiting a bike park, where a Ride Leader requires participants to wear a suitable helmet. The Club’s guidance also advises when eye protection and mudguards are appropriate and again it may be reasonable for the Ride Leader to specify in advance that these are a requirement for a particular ride.
It is not a Club requirement for a Ride Leader to carry or administer first aid.
Club Rider Development
The Ride Leader should encourage the development of individual club members’ abilities and potential for leading rides. Sharing information about bike and riding safety in an informal, supportive and polite way is part of this. More formally, Members can be pointed to the group riding guidelines on the WSJCC website.
Ride Leader Development
It is not required that a WSJCC volunteer ride leader has formal training. Some of the Club’s leaders will have been trained and the Club may from time to time support training programmes for new leaders. Ask another Ride Leader for information.
Document Date 2017-10-13 v3.