• May 22, 2018

Bike Event Safety Program- Partnership with Community & Riders

Bike Event Safety Program- Partnership with Community & Riders

Bike Event Safety Program- Partnership with Community & Riders 1024 494 Bike Virginia

Bike Virginia Event Safety Program is Multi-pronged Approach

During our 31 years of operation, Bike Virginia has hosted nearly 30,000 riders from around the world. We work hard each year to make sure you have a safe and positive experience during the event.  Our organization utilizes a layered safety program which includes education, awareness, policy, and infrastructure for the best safety results possible.

Bike Event Planning

Bike Virginia’s 5 full time staff spend 14 months or more planning for a tour. During that time safety is the number one priority in route and facility selection. We employe a full time Event & Community Outreach Director, and a full time Health & Safety Coordinator. Our staff work with local EMS, Law Enforcement, Department of Transportation, and Health Department officials to consider every aspect of the event.

Our bike routes are hand selected and pre-tested before every event. During this planning process we consider factors such as traffic patterns, number of left hand turns, line of sight, lighting, road condition, upcoming road maintenance, etc…

As the event approaches, in April prior to the June event, we use a team of paid staff and volunteers to completed a Preview Ride. During this period we test every route at the same time of day and same day of week as the event to make sure we are fully aware of road conditions and traffic patterns.

During the event we use minute by minute adjustments to respond to any problems that arise on the route. In past events routes have been rerouted due to traffic, weather, construction, even during event operations. Our large staff and volunteer group work tirelessly during the event to responding to changing factors.

Signage teams place visible marking arrows the morning of the ride. During their signage process they evaluate many aspects of safety and employ a variety of signage techniques to address potential problems.

Rider Involvement- Safety Briefing and Pledge

Regardless of how much effort we put into making routes safe, using good signs on the bike routes, and planning ahead, if riders act in a way that is unsafe then it is harmful to everyone.
That’s why we have a high standard for participation for our registered participants.  We rely on the participants to be an important part of keeping the event safe.
In 2011 we instituted a highly successful safety briefing program with live-in-person safety instructors. This program combined with a Safety Pledge signed by every rider helped us drop our serious crashes to 1/3 previous levels. (We define serious crashes as requiring medical attention from scrapes to worse).
Our Safety Briefing is educational and  our Rider Safety Pledge is partnership agreement. The video contains our policies, important riding details specific to the event site, and our expectations of participants.
This program has been a resounding success. We took that program online in 2015 and now offer the opportunity for riders to take the safety briefing from the comforts of home prior to arriving at the event.
In 2018 every rider will complete the 9 minute safety briefing video and sign their Rider Safety Pledge online prior to arriving at the event.

Bike Event Safety Policies

We have stringent ride policies and have taken an aggressive position critical aspects of safe road riding in groups.

Here are some of the rules:

  1. Riding “aero bars” is not allowed the presence of other cyclists.
  2. Pace line riding is not allowed at any time.
  3. Front white blinking light and rear red blinking light required at all times (day time included).
  4. Helmets required at all times when on the bike (even around camp).
  5. Children under 12 must ride on a bike with an adult unless special access is granted in writing.

This is not a complete list of rules. Please see the Rider Manual for more information.

Community Awareness

During the months of planning Bike Virginia’s annual event we work with local organizations to create a broad reaching Share the Road campaign. We notify newspapers, radio stations, local churches, local business, and other facilities which have the most likely interaction with our bike routes. Each year over 200 letters are sent to such organizations containing the dates, times, and location information to help prepare drivers adjust to roadway impacts which might be felt due to the presence of the event.