We will not be cancelling this weekend’s challenging 77km Ridewiser 3SideRide over the Dandenongs because of rain, but this doesn’t actually mean it’s all ‘safe’ riding out there for all 20 St Kilda Cycling Club members on Saturday morning… it just means that one of the ‘cycling event deal-breakers’ from the Ridewiser Road Ride book on cycling safety is alleviated.
I speak from a lot of experience running road rides for over a decade now for all different levels of rider, on different terrains, in different weather, and traffic conditions, over vastly different distances (30km up to 300km).
The cold truth is, rainfall is only one of the three big elements considered and often ‘poor conditions’ are actually equally important with respect to wanting high quality viz for motorists – rather than just concerning riders’ bike-handling skills. The 3 main ‘interacting’ factors that can lead to considering an event change for a road ride are:-
* Rider ability screening (low level skills, mixed skill levels)
* Critical road course features (corners, traffic, road quality)
* Poor weather conditions (wet surface, temperature, visibility)
However, a much more interesting flip-side of the weather element in deciding to cancel, postpone or ramp up safety announcements, focus on skill-drills etc is about really good weather and rider attitudes.
(I’m sorry to all of the world’s budding new ride leaders for cracking the simple safety checks theory, you won’t like to know this but it’s very very true)
Fine weather actually often presents some of the worst crashes by cyclists on perfectly good roads with reasonable bike-handling skills because people tend to take more risks when they’re having fun and feeling confident, they relax too much, don’t concentrate so hard and get distracted. So putting things into perspective, wet weather can be safer, there are always ‘hidden’ risks on the roads to look out for, and sometimes over-excitement is not a safe attitude when riding your bicycle!
Rob Crowe OAM Road Cycling Safety Australia
Stronger Smarter Safer Faster