rules are made for…

well rules are made for keeping you safe.  not trying to be a nanny state, or telling you how to ride a bike, but the reason we do particular things is not to make it harder for you, but mainly so we don’t have to pull the mobile phone out of your crumpled body and call your next of kin.

there have been a number of incidents over the last couple of months that have shown a deterioration of what i thought was a pretty safe group ride.  we have always prided ourselves on the fact that we did have a ride etiquette guide and that riders were chastised if they did stupid things.  however, lately i feel that we are beginning to let things go a bit as we get more complacent.  for some of our members it is probably quite a while since they have actually looked at the ride etiquette guide.  it is sitting on the website and any new person that contacts the club is always sent a link to it and asked to have a look before they come out. 

i am not going to just list it out again, but there are a number of people that probably need a refresher.  here is the link.

there are a number of points in the guide that people need reminding of, but to me that most important one is that you are riding as a group.  this means that you do need to be concerned about the other people that are riding with you.  the ride leaders give up their time to make sure that the groups are kept together, but sometimes people seem to ignore them and keep riding.  one of the reasons why our groups are growing so much is that the rides are organised.  people know the route before hand and expect that there will be some management of the group if it is needed.  this should not have to fall to the ride leader but everyone looking out for each other.  if you are strong and want a work hard, instead of smashing the group apart on the front, go to the back and help the weaker riders.

the other point that seems to be lost on riders lately is obeying the road rules.  these are not an optional extra.  our groups DO NOT go through red lights, DO NOT go the wrong way through round abouts and traffic islands, DO NOT slide down between cars stopped at an intersection, we DO NOT cross over double white lines.  These things are not a minor infraction, they can get you killed.  as a rider and a driver, you know that as you approach an intersection, if the lights turn green, you just keep driving.  you won’t even be looking for the stupid cyclist that will risk their own life to stay with the group.  well guess what?  there are no championship points, there are no podium girls.  if you are at the back of the group and you have time to stop, then you stop.

the absolute worse case scenario happened during the main 1 ride last saturday when people went around a stopped rider to go through the red light.  now the excuse that it was unsafe to stop is crap.  the lights cycle through green to amber to red over a certain time.  you would not have been in the intersection when you got your first warning of a imminent change.  if someone in front of you has time to stop, then you have time to stop.  no excuses.

we have enough problems with cars trying to kill us when we are doing things legally.  i don’t want to be the one to let your family know that you died on one of our rides.


32 thoughts on “rules are made for…”

  1. Maybe some of the offenders should be “banished” from their normal group and ride with Transition or Main 3. Repeat offenders need to go back and have a training session with Carol in the Novice Group.

    1. I would just settle for banished, we have done our best to instill good habits in Main 3. It tends to be some of the irregular riders that tear groups apart.

  2. big thanks pete, for re-emphasising these points & for trying to embed a culture of ‘safety first’ in the club – much appreciated.

  3. @kevinwatson I think you may have missed the point. It is not about the cars, it is about you and every person that rides with the club (me included). Cars will always be there. It is in our own best interest to make sure we do not put ourselves in harms way through the actions we take eg,
    1. Crossing double lines on Burke Dr just so we can get on someones wheel for the sprint
    2. Crossing over into the inside lane when going through a round-a-bout
    3. Crossing into the inside lane on Riverside Dr trying to sprint, and to get around another group of riders, instead of just taking it easy, missing this weeks sprint and NOT putting ourselves in danger.
    That’s three things I have seen in the last two weeks, and I haven’t been on all the rides.
    It is the responsibility of all people within the group to pull others up when they see something wrong. I do it, and will continue to do it, and if you (the collective “You” not directed specifically at you Kevin) do not like me doing it, then don’t ride with me. (ie choose another club to ride with).
    Hopefully with a bit of in pack guidance, those that continue to “break” the rules will get sick of us telling them off and move on, or they will modify their behaviour and the group and club will be all the better for their participation.
    (By the way, I have been on the recieving end of the behaviour modification speech and have taken what was said onboard.)

    1. Hi Jorgy, yes sorry I agree with everything Owen wrote. I enjoy riding with the SPR group but have detected a racing element by some riders which includes taking risks and flouting road rules at all cost. Having been in an ambulance after a serious bike accident I have no intention of repeating that again.

  4. Having heard the story from the rider who had stopped at the lights, it reminded me of a Old Papas ride or the Beach Road ride in Melb. I believe the only way to stop these actions is for all the groups to re group at certain spots on the ride to stop the smashfest that happens were it becomes every man/woman for himself/herself.
    We need to determine what sort of ride we want on a Saturday morning.

    The thing I have noticed in all groups that I have ridden in at SPR if one person takes off everybody chases no one will just sit up and let the rider go. The more long term riders with SPR should be the ones who control the group and by this I do not mean the group leader but four or five riders who support the leader and control the group. On the note about riders going back to help riders, there would only be a handful Mike Bonner,Dan Jacobs and of course Pete & Julian come to mind, that is not many out the group of our size.
    If you want to work hard try doing that a few times.
    Its not about what cycling club can do for you, but what you can do for cycling club.

    We are always going to have riders that just join us for the day and for whatever reason do not want to lose a wheel that we can not control. But we can control certain parts of the ride.
    What type of ride do we want?

  5. I rode with Main 3 a few weeks ago, the day before the 5 Dams, and was quite surprised by how strung out the group got. There was half a dozen riders up the front intent on having a smashfest and even when it was suggested to regroup they kept on going. This caused the whole group to try to keep up which obviously wasn’t possible.

    There are people who are riding in Main 3 because they’ve just gained the fitness and confidence to rise up from Transitional and there are others who ride Main 3 because they know the pace and want to ride at that pace.
    A large part of keeping each group safe is by keeping it together. I don’t believe Main 3 is the place to be having a smashfest off the front. If the pace of Main 3 is too slow for these riders then instead of risking the safety and enjoyment of every other rider in that group they need to step up to the next group. Not just applicable to Main 3 but to all Main groups…

    1. I had a very enjoyable ride with Main 3 led by Shane and Owen over the dreaded Holmes Rd last Saturday. We regrouped after the climbs and road together impeccably (well, almost everyone did) at a good clip all the way back to town. Fresh legs for Sunday’s race into the bargain.

  6. Following the road rules is mandatory. Maybe the next step down is to quantiify and clearly advertise the ride ethos of each group?
    Fast Group = Fast. If you get dropped then enjoy the peace and quiet or wait for Main 1.
    Main 1 = Fast but with pre-determined regroup points.
    I still think the ride etiquette of regular SPR riders is very good. We follow the road rules in almost all situations, look out for each other and will normally call out if someone looks like they’re about to do the wrong thing.
    It’s great to be regularly reminded of our obligations in following road rules and ride etiquette.

  7. Good topic. We all want to be here tomorrow – enjoying our family, friends and our cycling. Let’s look after our fellow humans. If people want to go all out with complete disregard to safety and wellbeing of our fellow cyclists, consider doing something else. I still can’t get over how many cyclists ride two-abreast on the freeway path. On Saturday I even saw someone coming up the south side of the Narrows up the twisty bit next to his mate. You would think common sense would prevail but many people do need rules spelt out – I’d love signage along the path to explain to our cerebrally deprived fellows that people could get hurt.

  8. One of the things we could think about is why some people do things on a bike that they would never deliberately do in a car. On our rides we do see some of our fellow riders going around the roundabout the wrong way (infrequently), crossing double white lines or deliberately risking it and running red lights to stay on somebodies wheel. I don’t think many of us would do that when we drive our cars but something different enters our brain when we are on the bike and we don’t want to get dropped by the bunch.
    I don’t know that we consciously accept the higher risk because I am sure if you asked people at coffee afterwards everyone would say, ‘i’d never run a red light to stay on somebodies wheel’ but in the ‘heat’ of the ride maybe our values change or maybe our decision making process becomes flawed. Truly good athletes make quality decisions irrespective of the pressure they are under. They behaviour as if they have all the time in the world.
    When we go out for a ride we don’t need to just train our hearts, lungs and legs we need to train our brain as well.

    Or as an alternative, lets get a police car to follow us around for a while. They can reinforce the road rules with a fine and three demerit points for everybody going through a red light. That would change the behaviour quickly.

    The road rules do apply to us cyclists. They are there for our safety and the safety of others. Compliance helps us go home in one piece after a ride.

  9. Russell and others (above) eloquently make some very good arguements and describe the situation quite accurately.
    This is probably the most frequently discussed topic on this forum. Unfortunately though, the problem just doesn’t seem to be resolved for anything more than a fleeting moment. The people discussing it are most likely the responsible, sensible ones who observe the crazy, selfish & dangerous behaviour of others, not participate in it themselves.
    Without wanting to sound too cynical, may I suggest the time for talking has ended and it is now time for action – by individual members of the ride groups, by the groups as a collective and by the Club ?

  10. As an infrequent rider I cannot fully comment, however I do like Snuggles view

    ” might have to start a different kind of points ladder me thinks (de-merit points)” ?

    Also interesting that the South West Cycle Club have the same issues, and have commented on the post in their forum

  11. This topic is sadly, as others have said, a recurring one. So perhaps a reminder every now and then is a good thing.

    I recall clearly Vicki Delve’s (surely spelt wrong) dressing down from quite a few years ago now to a group of us who rolled through a red light to not get dropped by the group. She simply told us that if we wanted to run red lights we needed to ride with another group.

  12. True Confession Time.
    Have been reading the many posts above. And agree. Absolutely. So, what did I do yesterday morning when the Thu fast group took off from a stationary start at Curtin Ave Swanbourne & the lights changed before all had got thru – I ran the red light!. Aargh!!! How stupid. No cars close, still alive, but still really stupid.
    I felt terrible. Couldn’t believe how, despite all the above, I was still so desperate to stick with the main bunch that I ignored safety & common sense. Felt guilty enough to stop around the corner and wait for the sensible 3 riders (Alistair, Mike C and another) who also missed the change but had the decency to obey the rules, did the rest of the ride with them.
    Will accept whatever punishment the club deems fit to offer.
    Can I issue a plea, however, to minimise (not eliminate) the risk of such stupidity being repeated? At traffic lights where we know the change is quite quick (Curtin Ave, Swanbourne, crossing Leach Hwy on the way to the hills is another one that comes to mind), can the group consciously try to get everyone across? This means – bunching up close (not strung out as a long line), watching the lights, prompt take off with all riders ready to go…
    Above obviously applies only to intersections where the group is stationary…
    And I will try very very hard not to do it again..

    1. I fully agree Jim. The call of “bunch up” should be standard issue at certain lights. Most of us know which ones so lets make sure it happens.

  13. Good on you JimF for ‘fessing up recognising its the wrong thing to do. We all make mistakes, but as humble humans the trick is to learn from them and not make the same mistake again. i worry more about the people who don’t recognise they have made a mistake or done wrong as they will get struck by a car/truck/cyclist eventually.

  14. Don’t forget everyone that NOT breaking the road rules isn’t just about increasing your own, personal safety (ie getting hit by other road users).
    It’s EQUALLY about showing other road users (car drivers, truckies, professional drivers etc) respect and doing the right thing.
    Why should a frustrated, died-in-the-wool anti-cyclist road-raging car driver ever change his attitude to us if we constantly reinforce his prejudiced view that “all cyclists” should stop breaking the rules and get off the road.
    The same goes for the normally polite, considerate mother driving her kids to school – she’s going to get annoyed and frustrated by cyclists blatantly the wrong thing.
    They both see cyclists going through stop signs, red lights, wrong way up roads etc etc and it hardens their opinions against us. When the time comes to react their ingrained prejudices will influence their behaviour towards us.
    It’s a two way street and every ride is an opportunity for YOU to personally influence fellow cyclists and other road users alike.

    1. Just to expand on your comments Bill, I get concerned when I see cyclists having a go at motorists. Obviously we’re well within our rights to voice our displeasure at motorists who endanger or deliberately antagonise us, but if we really stir somebody up then I worry about what might happen during their next interaction with a cyclist.
      Most of the bogans that cause us concern will only get worse if we have a go back at them.

  15. this morning’s fast group encountered a flashing red light and bells at the train tracks after Port Beach Road. I was in the middle of the pack and called stopping loud and clear yet 4-5 guys decided it was more important to hang on to the back of the fast group than to stop for the boom gate to come down.

    you know what they say… if i can stop…

    is hanging onto the back of fast group that important or is riding in a smaller group/solo/duo that hard?

    i don’t remember who they were (as i was busy stopping) and wouldn’t call them out publicly even if i did but you know who you are. naughty naughty.

  16. @Jason N, You SHOULD call them out publicly. This is how we can change and educate them. If we don’t know who they are, the committee cannot have a word to them, or educate them. Not only that, but we all need to take the initiative and explain to those that do things wrong, what they have done wrong. We are not all angels, and we all need to be reminded sometimes.

  17. The names should be kept off this blog until the facts are verified and people are given a right of reply. Your message of education will fast be replaced by one of anger if you name and shame the wrong person….(common sense approach)

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