Safe Route Design

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by Bob Zogg

 

 

Designing a route for a club ride requires a very different perspective than picking a route for a small group of friends or a solo ride. Club rides will include a broad range of rider speeds and experience levels. Also, packs of riders can obscure visibility, and an obstacle that requires a cyclist to brake suddenly can quickly lead to a multi-cyclist pileup.

Whether you’re a ride leader or a ride participant, it is helpful to know what constitutes a safe route. Ride leaders, whether developing a new route or using a tried-and-true club favorite, will want to review the route carefully to ensure that it is reasonably safe. Ride participants may want to give a ride leader constructive feedback if they notice opportunities to improve a route for future rides.

Of course, “safe” is relative—no route is free of potentially dangerous spots. Keeping a few basics in mind, however, can make a route safer than it might otherwise have been.

Get off to a good start:

What to avoid:

What to minimize:

You may need to leave out a scenic stretch of road if it’s not up to club-ride standards. Nice scenery cannot compensate for a bad crash. On the other hand, sometimes a risky road becomes a safe road simply by switching the direction of travel—stay flexible and be creative. Participants will be grateful that you kept their safety in mind when you designed your route.

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