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Missed Turns

Safety Corner logo


by Eli Post


CRW promotes group rides that offer a variety of benefits including planned routes and a congenial social atmosphere. Very often, riders, who may not even know each other, find themselves riding in an impromptu group, connected by pace and enjoying the pleasure of riding together. Whether it’s an organized peloton, or just riders in close proximity, the risk of a crash between two or more riders in these circumstances is always a danger.

If a rider executes a sudden, abrupt maneuver (for example, slows or changes lane position abruptly), it can leave others with little time to react, especially when riders are close to each other. As the size of the group increases, a rider suddenly slowing can create a ripple affect, with those furthest back having the least amount of time to react. The reduced time available for riders to react presents the danger.

There are a variety of reasons why a rider in front of you might stop or slow suddenly. These include avoiding an automobile turning into the group or a pedestrian crossing the group’s path. Obviously, emergency situations require an immediate stop, and one should shout “stopping” and hope the others behind are able to react in time. Stopping quickly, however, is not always the correct solution. One common occurrence on

CRW rides is that the lead riders will see an arrow too late, realize that they missed a turn, and then stop short to go back. Over the years, this situation has caused several crashes and injuries on rides as the fast-moving group does not have time to respond to sudden braking or an abrupt change in direction. If at all possible, you should not brake abruptly, but keep moving, even if you go off route, until you can safely stop and reverse course. There are a multitude of safety rules we all have to remember, but this one ranks high if you find yourself in front of a fast moving group.

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