Bicycle Racing on Roads - truckster
Twice recently I have witnesses bicycles doing time trials on dual carriageway trunk roads once on the notorious A14 and once on the A11. I consider these roads are not the place for cyclists with their heads bent down not even looking where they are going to. A couple of years ago one was killed when he hit the back of a stationary coach that had broken down. And there have been a couple of fatalities in this region recently. Any other form of racing would be frowned upon why should these unstable circus acts be any different.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - bogush
He was probably watching his speedo to be "on the safe side" and not do anything dangerous like hit a speed camera at an illegal speed!
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Neil
Cycle racing is set at times agreed, I believe, with local Councils and Police. Additionally, there should be marshals and sign posts warning other road users that a cycle race is in progress.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Dave
Neil wrote:
>
> Cycle racing is set at times agreed, I believe, with local
> Councils and Police. Additionally, there should be marshals
> and sign posts warning other road users that a cycle race is
> in progress.

Same goes for road rallying.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Stuart B
Dave wrote:
>
> Neil wrote:
> >
> > Cycle racing is set at times agreed, I believe, with local
> > Councils and Police. Additionally, there should be marshals
> > and sign posts warning other road users that a cycle race is
> > in progress.
>
> Same goes for road rallying.

Not quite the same, true there is an approved route which is done in consultation with RACMSA and the police plus other interested bodies. But there is not the same need for marshals, sign posts at every junction. Plus cycling finds it easy to close public roads for a competition, try and do it for a rally.

Personally I gave up road rallying years and years ago in the 70s because I was not prepared to take the risks, either as a navigator or driver, that you had to take in order to be competitive on the top events, eg at the time Motoring News Championship and local area events also. The competitive sections were "set" at a nominal 30mph average, ho ho, I think not.

One trick which was in regular duty before you had to have a compulsory observed stop at a Give way sign was the lights out tactic. Approaching a major road (which could be a red ie A road) over which the competitive section ran, you would switch out all your lights, look to see if you could see any vehicle lights on the main road, and if there were none, on everything would go again, and you would flat it over the main road. I am not proud of this, actually rather ashamed, and its the first time I have confessed this in public, but it was common practice. If you didnt do this it generally meant you dropped an extra minute at the next time control. There was a case where this trick was done by a top driver, on I believe a M News event, but I could be wrong, and he was traced by the paint mark he left on the car he nearly hit on the main road, it was that close. I dont recall the penalty he got, but some other guys burnt to death pulling the same stunt. Not clever.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Dave
Stuart B wrote:
>
> Personally I gave up road rallying years and years ago in the
> 70s because I was not prepared to take the risks, either as a
> navigator or driver, that you had to take in order to be
> competitive on the top events, eg at the time Motoring News
> Championship and local area events also. The competitive
> sections were "set" at a nominal 30mph average, ho ho, I
> think not.

I've done one RR; last year as a navigator.

It was great but I get terribly sick and couldn't really enjoy it.

Cheltenham Motor Club top blokes.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Roger Keene
Of course, the big difference between Road Rallying and cycle racing is that the cyclists are racing against one another (as in Grand Prix) but rallying involves competing individually against the clock to a set schedule.

Road rallies in this country are authorised by the RAC Motor Sports Association, as agents for the Department of Transport. The local Police do not and cannot give permission for such events, although they are given a copy of the route for comment. The usual motoring laws apply during these events, including speeding and dangerous driving and anyone caught and banned from driving would lose their competion licence.
Re: Is road rallying really racing? - Stuart B
Roger Keene wrote:
>
> Of course, the big difference between Road Rallying and cycle
> racing is that the cyclists are racing against one another
> (as in Grand Prix) but rallying involves competing
> individually against the clock to a set schedule.
>
> Road rallies in this country are authorised by the RAC Motor
> Sports Association, as agents for the Department of
> Transport. The local Police do not and cannot give
> permission for such events, although they are given a copy of
> the route for comment. The usual motoring laws apply during
> these events, including speeding and dangerous driving and
> anyone caught and banned from driving would lose their
> competion licence.

Good job we didnt ask Jonathan Woss to read that title out ;-)

Roger,
You are absolutely correct, to the letter, in what you say. I also accept that things are different in road rallying today compared to my day, BUT

If two cars are set off on the same minute at the start of a competitive, I submit that although individually they are competing against the clock, they are in fact racing each other. I know, I have done it. You try driving up Ermine Street white in Lincs at 125mph plus with somebody 10 feet behind looking to get you under braking for the 90 right slot at the Xroads in 600m! If that is not organised racing on the public highway I dont know what is. As I also said I'm not proud of it, but thats what you had to do to get in the top 10.

I also submit that, although today organisers try all sorts of tricks to attempt to delay competitors and thus incur penalties, eg by navigational exercises, at some point in virtually any rally, in order to get to the next TC and clean the section you have to go like the bars, ten tenths!

Its calmed down a hell of a lot since my day, but then it was thinly disguised racing on the public roads, despite what anyone admitted at the time. The writing was on the wall 20 years ago.

The police do not give their approval, as I said they make comments and advice and I have never known that advice to be ignored. The fact that so few competitors actually get booked, is IMHO a pretty good statement about the tolerance of our police force. In my experience the ones that have been done have been driving like idiots anyway, and would not have got to the finish.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Cliff Pope


It's quite easy actually in West Wales. Minor roads are effectively 'closed' quite regularly, simply by weight of numbers of supporters and crowds standing round the checkpoints. When local residents here complained to the police they were told it was nothing to do with them, it is all controlled by the RAC.
Intimidating 'consultation' letters are given to locals, warning them to keep off the roads and lock up animals, children etc.
Cliff Pope
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Stuart B
Cliff Pope wrote:
>
> When local residents here complained to the
> police they were told it was nothing to do with them, it is
> all controlled by the RAC.
> Intimidating 'consultation' letters are given to locals,
> warning them to keep off the roads and lock up animals,
> children etc.

Cliff, if this is a serious comment on what actually happens then this is appalling. I know the Principality has always been different and very Pro rally when it comes to road events but the case should be as follows.

If someone complains the police should have someone already appointed in traffic as a rally coordinator. This person will have seen and made their comments on the route in advance, advice which I believe the RAC always follows. Complaints to police, RAC, local council or the organising club must always be followed up as soon as possible.

If there is a consistent problem due to complaints then an official black spot is created which is usually, but not always, a km square on the OS map which ALL rallies have to avoid. This is often also coordinated with the area associations, who sometimes have their own extra blackspots to let things cool off.

As a past RR organiser, not now as I dont agree with them, I never but never wrote an intimidating letter. Every house on and near the route got a personal visit from a member of the organising team. If someone objected and the issues could not be resolved, and sometimes they objected just for a free bottle of scotch, then usually the rally was re-routed, and if this was genuinely not possible then a non competitive or neutral section is run past their house. These were set at genuine 15mph average often below.

But then I am now, as I have said before, just old fashioned.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Dave
Stuart B wrote:

> As a past RR organiser, not now as I dont agree with them, I
> never but never wrote an intimidating letter.

Yeah, on the rally I did, 'not upsetting people' was the crucial factor!!!

They knew their sport was one long overdue for banning and really wanted to keep local people happy.

That said we didn't go near very many houses.
Re: Road racing. - Cliff Pope
Stuart -
Motor rallying

Yes, the position in Wales really is as appalling as I described. I have a letter from the Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police stating:
"The Royal Automobile Club is the agency which authorises the holding of motor rallies on public roads and not the police".

The leaflet left by the organisers states: "The Motor Club would value your assistance in ensuring that all livestock, pets and vehicles are off the road".

It would be a foolhardy person who tried to exercise his right to use the public highway - he would probably be lynched by the mob of beer can throwing supporters who are an essential feature of this traditional Welsh event.

The police only intervened in the last rally here when called out to deal with disturbances, and arrested one of the drivers for (allegedly) trying to run down a police officer.

Cycle rallies sound such quiet, well-mannered events.

Cliff Pope
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Chris
I used to race, but these old muscles and bones won't take it any more. Neil is right, these things are usually very tightly controlled, monitored and signposted. In many areas the police don't have enough officers to deal with bicycle racing, so it's dying out - despite the fact that at the last Olympics cycling was Britain's biggest success. In France they have a "rolling" road closure system whereby the roads just in front of the race are closed for ten minutes. For time trials they just close the lot for the duration and everyone stands around watching.

Incidentally the cycle clubs pay for any police presence. The risk to the cyclists is FAR greater than the risk to anyone else (see my comment about insurance in an earlier thread - my insurance covers me for road racing too), so I guess that's why it's allowed.

Chris
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Guy Lacey
My brother and I raced bicycles on the roads in the South West for many years doing Time Trial events, usually over 10 miles. The most dangerous course run on RTTC (Road Time Trials Council) I ever raced on was on the A303 at Yeovil on the Podimore section (now 50 limit) close to RNAS Yeovilton. This stretch of road has seen numerous fatalities mainly due to tourists looking across to Yeolvilton as a Harrier jump jet does manouveres but it is also at the 2 hour sleep zone from London. (This is one road where I can support the use of a speed camera although in the wrong location!)

Yes it was a hellish road to race on and relied upon many marshalls and correct signage. The time triallists had to conform to the normal rules of the road including rights of way at roundabouts etc although I must admit the key to winning the event was to take as many risks as possible on the roundabouts.

I have had two friends seriously injured, one life threatening, while time trialling. One of them, head down, lungs on fire went into the back of a tractor complete with PTO shaft/3-point assembly and was nearly killed. The other went through the rear window of an Allegro - both have been scarred for life.

The reason these two were injured centres around the drivers of the vehicles not expecting a cyclist to be travelling at 30-40mph and also, the cyclist not paying enough attention to the road. Most competitors cannot stand up following a decent 10, 25 or 50 mile trial so road safety was the last thing on my mind!

The solution *has* to be decent marshalling and some degree of lane closure.
Re: Bicycle Racing on Roads - Stuart B
Guy Lacey wrote:

> This stretch of road has seen numerous fatalities mainly due
> to tourists looking across to Yeolvilton as a Harrier jump
> jet does manouveres but it is also at the 2 hour sleep zone
> from London. (This is one road where I can support the use of
> a speed camera although in the wrong location!)
>
Do hate to be difficult here but Guy can you please explain why you think a speed camera would be effective here given what you said above. Maybe I am being stupid, its been a long journey home, road works and p.....ersistently raining.

> One of them, head down, lungs on fire.....

As an aside remember a quote from a proper cyclist that if you dont cough up blood then you haven't been trying hard enough..... yikes!

> The solution *has* to be decent marshalling and some degree
> of lane closure.

Agree with the road closure bit. Not sure about the fault being due to drivers not realising the speed a *following* cyclists can get up to. (Accidentally clipped that bit out, sorry, no undo command) Though generally agree that folks just dont appreciate how fast you can go on a bike, even a lardass like me.

regards,
S
Let me clarify! - Guy Lacey
Regarding the speed camera, I understand my confusion (!) but;

The A303 is dual carriageway then single then dual then single. It is easy to drive along at 80-90mph quite safely and then "forget" your speed when hitting the single carriageway sections. Some sections of the A303 are no more than country A-roads but carry *huge* volumes of traffic. This particular section has seen really grim accidents that b*gger up holiday journeys for thousands of people when the A303 gets closed for a Bank Holiday afternoon.

Regarding the speed of cyclists;

The tractor, in the example given, pulled out thinking the cyclist was doing 15mph when, in fact he was probably doing 2-3x the speed of the tractor. Most decent time triallists will *average* 30mph over 10 or 25 miles and can hit 50-60mph in places where gradient and wind allow! Unfortunately Dave Lacey was never a *decent* time triallist due to the purchase of a Puch moped aged 16!

Hope I have clarified my point!

Ta.

Guy
Cycling risks. - David Woollard
Early teens and a mate and I were mucking about in the village when he decided on a good wheeze. He'd see how far he could cycle up the road with his eyes closed. The flaw in the experiment was he hadn't thought through what would signal the end of "how far".

It was actually his front teeth being knocked out hitting the gutter just above the doors on the rear of his uncle's parked A35 van.

Ouch!
Re: Ta muchly - Stuart B
Thanks Guy, crystal clear.
Road racing. - David Woollard
We live on a long straight main road.

Most weekend we get these guys like you say.

Skin tight colourful gear, high tech machines, racing on the road without a care or regulation. Down they go one minute, back again soon after.

They even wear flash helmets these days.













Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha??? Don't ask me, they all look the same.

David
Re: Is road rallying really racing? - Brian
Sorry to be pedantic, but how do you leave a paint mark on a car that you "nearly hit"?
Re: Is road rallying really racing? - Stuart B
Brian wrote:
>
> Sorry to be pedantic, but how do you leave a paint mark on a
> car that you "nearly hit"?

OK Brian, I am sure you know what I meant.

To give you a precise answer what actually happened was that the driver of the car on the main road reported to the police that he was almost hit by a white Escort which flew across very close in front of him. As you can appreciate there were a lot of white Escorts competing in those days. I believe the police found a white paint trace on the front of this guys car which they subsequently proved came from an Escort. Thus it was likely they did actually hit, (;-) but not enough to do any panel damage. Again I am led to understand that the police then checked every white Escort competing on the event and pinned it down, however that was done, on one crew, it turned out to be one of the leading runners. Bet there were quite a few worried drivers though.

Hope that has cleared up your question, as the Civil Aviation Authority would say a near miss. Though presumably a near miss in English is actually a collision, so that gets us no closer finding a term to describe this incident.

Over to you sir!
 

Value my car