Safety - Core Values

Safety is one of the most important aspects of cycling, so much so that a focus on it is part of our new club bylaws!

The focus of safety changes over time.  Only a couple of years ago, it focused almost exclusively on road safety - that is still extremely important!  Today, the focus on safety spans a number of areas sharing the stage.

Above all, we believe it is important for everyone to understand the process that our plan was created. 

GLU's Safety Policies encompass the following:

Road Safety

This should always remain a priority for any cyclist!  As a small vehicle on the road, cyclists are subject to a lot more damage when things crash into us - very simple laws of physics tell us this.  In the last year, there are more bicycles on the road than ever.   

Here are some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  You can (and should) read their discussion here.  

  1. Regardless of the season, bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  2. Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (75%) compared to rural areas (25%) in 2017.
  3. Bicyclist deaths were 8 times higher for males than females in 2017.
  4. Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.

GLU's focus on safety starts with the law and complying with it but we also add to that as a safety focused organization.  We incorporate this approach into our Code of Conduct.

Mandatory Safety Rules
  1. All GLU riders MUST wear a helmet while riding
  2. All traffic laws MUST be respected and followed
    1. This includes proper lighting and night safety!
  3. The use of cell phones or texting while riding is forbidden

GLU also strongly recommends the following:

Recommended Strongly
  1. Gloves!  These protect your hands in case of a fall 
  2. Ride Single File!  Make it easy for other vehicles to give us that 3 ft of space
  3. Signal your turns!  This is for other riders as well as vehicles
  4. Ride predictably! Don't swerve or be distracted by GPS, cue sheet, scenery, etc.  Call out passing other cyclists

Failure to heed any of these is a huge problem.  This is a recreational organization, we can't fine you for violating our rules.  But it is your responsibility as a rider to help all of us stay safe too.  GLU's policy is:

  • Violations of the Code of Conduct can become a basis for suspension from rides
  • Violations of our recommended practices will be noted and called out because we care

Other good reads on safety:

Low Light Safety

Many think of this as night riding, but low visibilty conditions can happen during the day too!

  • Poor weather (particularly heavy rain)
  • Tunnels
  • Riding into the sun when it is on the horizon (morning or night)
  • Others

Being seen is an important aspect of safety!  It's horrible to hear the phrase, "I didn't see him/her" when it comes to accidents.

GLU's approach to safety follows both the law and best practices:

  1. All riders should come equiped with lights (front and back) on all rides.
    1. For rides that are mainly in the day, these can be small, battery powered ones with limited life
    2. For serious night riding, front lights should be easily visible for 500 ft and rear lights should remain steady.
  2. Wear bright clothing!  The stealth cyclist look is not a good one.  All GLU kits will use bright colors.  This is very important in dim conditions (like rain) where reflective patches are less effective.
  3. Bring a reflective vest!  This can be any bright vest with reflective tape on it.  Buy or build!  You should have an area of refletivity about the size of 2 post cards visible from front and back, sides are advised too. 
  4. Wear reflective anklets!  These are moving and highly visible to cars during the dark.
  5. Be aware in the dark!  Ride with extra caution.  Headlights typically give a cyclist warning that something is approaching.  Use that to your advantage and get to the right as far as possible.

Reflective vests and gear are easy to find on Amazon and can be shipped to you quickly.  They change all the time, but looking for certifications such as EN-1171 or Class 2 are good points (though not completely necessary).  It's really good to have an area about size of 2 post cards in reflective material on the vest as well as bright colors (which help more in low light.

Examples:

When buying a vest, remember you wear it over clothes like rain jackets so a bit bigger is good.  Also helps it to dry out if you get a little rain.

Anklets are easily found too.

Wellness on the Bike

Everyone has a bad day on the bike where they don't feel well.  In Ultra Cycling, this is particulary of concern.  There are a few things that can really ruin your ride:

  1. Deydration
  2. Hyponatremia
  3. Gastrointestinal Issues
  4. Bonking

Our area is famous for both heat and humidity during the summer months.  We recommend:

  1. Drink frequently - at least one 22 oz bottle an hour when it is hot.  Stop more frequently if you can't carry that much water
  2. Maintain salt - this is personal.  Eat salty snacks at stops, take endurolytes or salt sticks
  3. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before you touch food
  4. Eat what you are used to on an endurance event
  5. If you eat a larger meal, don't hammer immediately - give food 30 minutes or so to digest - this is called "digestion pace"
  6. Wash or rinse the cap of your water bottle when you refill
  7. Eat lightly and frequently, if you feel a lag in energy, eat and drink something and back it off for a little while

The Coronavirus Pandemic

No discussion of safety in 2022 can be without reference to the ongoing pandemic.  

  1. Pandemic Fatigue - It's a thing!  But let's face it, it's never going to completely go away
  2. Vaccination - A critical tool - in fact, we think so much that it's mandatory in the club
  3. We highly recommend you bring a mask to wear indoors
  4. DO NOT attend the ride if you are feeling unwell.  

GLU's policy for addressing the pandemic focuses on these issues.  We care not only about liability of the club, but even more about the safety of our members and the communities that we ride in.  

Above all, we have to recognize that everyone is impacted differently by the pandemic. Thus, a wise approach will take that into account. 

  1. Minimize risk to riders and the community acknowledging that we can't eliminate it
  2. Provide flexibility to accommodate the differing risk levels
  3. Maintain consistency and transparency - ask questions if you have them
  4. Keep our riding strong but local!
Updated May 3, 2022