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Marshalling

So you want to be a marshal?

Well, no you don't, you've just been pushed into it to help a friend out.  Who would really want to be dumped at a road junction in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of what to do or how long you'd be there. Even worse, it's starting to rain and you've forgotten a chair, your big umbrella, lunch, a flask of tea and your mobile phone. Welcome to the world of time trial marshalling.

What you forget is down to you but what you can expect and what you will get as a Stockton Wheeler marshal is the best information and support available. What we need from you is your time and your common sense.

First, what does the organising body, Cycling Time Trials (CTT) require you to do to comply with the law and its regulations? You can find its guidelines at http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Documents but to be on the safe side I'll copy them below:


MARSHALS & CHECKERS

This Guidance Note provides advice on marshalling and checkers duties. The marshal’s duty is a responsible one. Whilst our regulations state that "the onus of keeping to the course must rest with the rider", an organiser will want to ensure that competitors, some of whom may be riding on this route for the first time, do stay on course. A well-run event will have marshals at all major junctions.

Marshals and Checkers

 1. As a marshal or checker you will be requested to wear a high visibility jacket. It is strongly recommended that signage erectors wear Hi-viz upper garments that meet either the BS EN 1150, BS EN 471 or ISO EN 20471:2013 standard. This helps riders to see you and alerts other road users that "something is happening".

 2. Ensure you know before the day of the event the precise point where you are expected to marshal, the direction from which the riders will come and the direction in which they are to go.

 3. The organiser should have advised you beforehand of the time you should be in position. Be on time. If arriving by car, make certain your vehicle is parked off the highway. Do not park on the verge of a clearway, in a private drive, or in a lay-by which is likely to be used by public transport during the event. You may be moved on or summonsed if you are parked illegally. Park with courtesy and consideration for other road users. Do not obstruct the view of riders or other road users.

 4. Stand at a point where you can be seen by approaching competitors and where you will not endanger yourself or be a hazard to other road users. Do not obstruct road signs.

 5. If you receive a complaint from a member of the public, do not get into an argument but refer them to the event organiser. Remember the public image of the sport is in your hands at such a time. Marshals only A marshal’s sole duty is to indicate clearly the route the rider is to follow. Indicate the way before the rider reaches you, by holding something visible, e.g. a CTT approved direction arrow. The rider may not be familiar with the course and is looking to you for the direction to be taken. It is illegal for you to direct, or attempt to control, other traffic in any way or to interfere with its movement on the highway.

Checkers only

A checker’s sole duty is to observe the general requirements in 1 to 5 above. You should be issued with a checking card by the event organiser on which you record the rider’s number and the time as he/she passes you. It is not sufficient to merely tick competitors on a start sheet when they have passed, as this does not indicate their sequence on the road. The card should then be returned to the event organiser as soon as possible after the event for the organiser to check that all competitors completed the full course. In the event of a query, complaint or accident, it is a very useful way of ascertaining the names of the preceding or following competitor

 

When you arrive at the race HQ you will be given a fluorescent jacket which you must wear, and a copy of the start sheet. This has a list of all the riders which you should tick off as they pass you. This ensures all the riders complete the full course and lets the organiser know if any riders are missing at the finish. You will be told of any riders who do not start the event. Copy the organiser's number into your phone as you will need to contact him if you need advice, or in the event of an emergency. Take a direction arrow or flag, to indicate the turn, if there are spares.

Your time

You could be marshalling an event over 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles  and your junction could be up to 25 miles from the HQ. The furthest at present is at Dishforth on the 50 and 100 courses. There could also be up to 120 riders being set off at one minute intervals. The math shows you could be on your point for anything up to four hours in a '100' or even longer if the start is delayed. Be prepared with whatever comfort items you require.

Your common sense

If you stick to the CTT guidelines you will be insured against third party claims for your actions as a marshal. You are there to indicate the turn to competitors. Do not try to stop the traffic to make it easier for the riders.

Here are some situations you may encounter and which will require your common sense:

·        Drivers may stop and ask you for directions or otherwise engage you in conversation. Be aware of your own safety and be alert for riders coming to your location.

·        If a rider falls at the turn it may indicate a slippery road surface- be prepared to warn following riders well in advance of the turn.

·        Riders may require first aid- you should carry a first aid kit and be confident and competent to use it.

·        Riders may be injured and require shelter in your car. Have you got a 'space blanket' or something similar?

·        Riders may have a mechanical problem with their bike. Carry a tool kit that they can use and take a bike carrier if you have one. You may be able to bring the rider and/ or his bike back to the HQ when you have finished marshalling.

·        Is there a spare seat in your car for a competitor in need of transport back to the HQ?

·        Know exactly where you are. You may have to 'phone the emergency services with your location in the event of an accident or other emergency.

·        Riders may put themselves or other road users at risk by riding dangerously. At turns this often means riding into the opposite carriageway at speed. Make a note of the rider's number and the time of the occurrence. The organiser will want to know, and may disqualify the offender.

·        Riders may go 'off course' at the turn. We do not want them on the A1 at Dishforth so take a whistle to attract their attention. It's less effort than shouting.

·        Have you got sufficient clothing, food, drink and shelter to keep you dry and safe during the event? You can't help others if you can't look after yourself.

·        Lastly you will be recompensed for your time and effort by the organiser. We offer £5 to our marshals as a small recognition of your help. Be aware that other clubs will expect you to do it for nothing- sometimes not even a  'Thank You'.

Our aim is to hold  events where all the competitors finish safely. As a marshal you can make things safer for everyone.

 If you wish to volunteer for marshalling - firstly, thank you - and secondly, the link is here.

Colin Whitfield

Chairman

Stockton Wheelers C.C.

July 2015.