March's Safety theme:Group Riding

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Anonymous's picture

Riding Safely in a Group

Cycling with a group has a lot of advantages over riding alone. From a safety standpoint, a group is more visible to motorists than a solo rider. There is also a sense of security in knowing that if you have a problem, there are other riders who will help you out. And the variety of rides created by club members provides opportunities to explore new places. However, cyclists are often more hazardous to other cyclists than cars are. Good group riding skills can make group rides much more enjoyable and significantly less dangerous. Riding in a group also carries some responsibilities. You need to stay alert, ride predictably, and follow a few basic guidelines.


Keep a close watch far enough ahead so you can call out or point out obstacles and road hazards far enough in advance to allow yourself and those behind you to smoothly avoid the obstacles. Crashes occur when you swerve quickly to the side to avoid a hole and bump the rider beside you or the rider behind you. If you swerve quickly to avoid an obstacle, the rider following you will not have time to avoid it. Remember, if you make a quick, unexpected move, the rider behind you will be the one who crashes when your rear wheel hits his or her front wheel

Be Smooth

Use your brakes lightly and sparingly. Adjust your speed by small changes in your pedaling cadence rather than using your brakes. Avoid strong braking. If you need to stop (flat, dropped water bottle, etc.) yell STOPPING and SLOWLY move to the right side of the road, looking first, and applying your brakes very lightly.

Paceline Riding

Paceline riding is an advanced skill and is best learned in a small group and at moderate speeds. Always keep your pace and movements very smooth. Take advantage of the free SIG programs offered by the Club. Above all, never let your front wheel overlap the rear wheel of another rider. If that rider swerves and the wheels touch, you will almost certainly go down. It is extremely important to communicate when riding in a paceline since the following riders don't have a clear view of the road ahead.

Closing Words of Wisdom

Socializing with the other riders is part of the fun of group riding. But stay tuned in to what’s going on around you. Expect the unexpected and you’ll be ready for anything. Try especially hard to stay focused and safe toward the end of the ride when everyone is tired and not thinking as clearly. Have fun and help everyone else on the ride to have fun. Now get your bike ready and go riding.

Richard Ramon, NYCC Safety Committee

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"Hey Richard, how about giving attribution when you lift something from another web site?


Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)

"that's gotta smart. ;)

here's a good resource on safety:"

Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)

Thanks Richard for posting the safety tips.

Too bad, some members are more interested in commenting on your ommission of a credit than content. Does this tell us something of their cycling skills?

I'm sure you meant to credit the author ... or maybe you are the author?

Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)
there were several sentences in the posting which were identical

"and the format was similar to the other club's safety statement (which was apparently not copyrighted) That shouldn't have happened and we are not using that article in the future. However, using words like ""outrageous"", ""steal"", and even ""plagiarism"" is overreacting. Plagiarism usually involves the integrity of a written article for which someone is getting paid (or as part of their job) or connected with an academic matter.

""Steal"" connotes that there is a financial loss to one party an a financial gain by the other. The only objective of NYCC Safety Committe is to prevent accidents. In today's newspaper, there are ""outrageous"" events: deaths in Haiti & Iraq, Enron, etc. Using this same adjective for this minor event is inappropriate.

None of the members of our safety committee sought their jobs but when they were asked by the club, agreed to make a contribution of their time. Although I have some industrial safety experience, I do not consider myself an expert and I admit that we are ""feeling our way"" with this new endeavor. In the past few months we have received brickbats (& some kudos) from the board and club members, but hardly anyone has made any constructive suggestions regarding steps we can take to prevent accidents and no one has offered to help us.

Since we are not safety experts I provided committee members with relevant materials from books and articles as background and to get a general idea about bicycle safety issues but I specifically told most or all of them not to copy any of them.

I wrote (all by myself!) the prior month's safety message Had it subsequently appeared in another non profit organ, I would have been flattered and amused and might have sent them a light note requesting credit in the future. Incidentally a talk I gave to NYCC has been printed over the past three months by a New Jersey bike club."

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Peace be with you


I sincerely applaud you for your decision not to use the article. Please understand that I have no objection to any group using the unmodified article as long as proper credit is given. In this Internet age, it's all too easy to feel that anything out there is fair game. It's not.

Your mention of copyright reveals a legalistic bent. As far as I'm concerned, taking someone else's work, and passing it off as your own is just plain wrong.

You went into considerable detail regarding the words ""steal,"" ""plagiarism,"" and ""outrageous.""

Please review my posts. I never used the word steal.

As for plagiarism, here's how Webster's defines it:

plagiarism n 1: a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work 2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own.

Clearly there was more than just a similarity between the two articles. At least half of the ""memo"" posted here was word-for-word identical to the SBRA article. (I note with interest that the sections of the SBRA article dealing with sharing the road and obeying traffic regulations were not copied.)

Outrageous is a judgement call. But it seems incredible to me that in a bike club the size of NYCC, no one has the ability to write an original article on safe group riding techniques.

Ride Safe,


Anonymous's picture
george (not verified)


Webster also defines 'to lift' as:

Informal. To steal; pilfer.

And I note that you definitely used the 'lift' word...


Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)


I think ""lift"" is a less harsh word than ""steal."" That's why we have different words that are similar in meaning.

The bottom line is that one of your members was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I haven't yet heard anyone criticize that.

Do you think ""lift"" was used inappropriately in this instance? I don't.


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