Requirements of Ride Leaders?

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Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Downhill » Tue May 29, 2012 12:26 am

What should be the minimum requirements of ride leaders on group rides? I would have thought:
- Setting the example
- Planning the route beforehand
- Obeying the rules of the road
- Controlling the pace
- Supervising the group
- Communicating with "tail end Charlie"
- Clearly calling / signalling any hazards / direction changes / speed changes etc well in advance
- Having appropriate first aid skills etc.
- Accounting for ride members as they join / leave the ride

What other competencies / responsibilities should go with the task?
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by BNA » Tue May 29, 2012 7:23 am

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Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby find_bruce » Tue May 29, 2012 7:23 am

Experience with herding cats :)
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Tue May 29, 2012 9:59 am

An interesting post to see on BNA. It reads like a discussion by my touring club - MBTC.

I could add to the list:
- designating regrouping points along the route
- appointing riders to station at turns and direct riders onwards
- monitoring the pace and condition of riders
- modifying the route as necessary
- 'cracking the whip'; advising riders that they may not be suited to the ride; asking gun riders to moderate their speed.
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Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby gabrielle260 » Tue May 29, 2012 11:25 am

The unstated one in your list is the interpersonal skill(s) - required to ensure the ride is an enjoyable experience for all.
Depending on the participants, the way the ride has been promoted etc, cycling coaching skills are also useful.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby familyguy » Tue May 29, 2012 2:53 pm

find_bruce wrote:Experience with herding Octopii :)


Fixed that.

At the risk of covering what others said, this is what I see as a leader specific list:
Planning the route and making it known, especially if there's new people or its a new route
Either stating the target pace for everyone to stick to, or stating the paced sectors and where its a free for all
Stating regroup or meeting points
Knowing reasonable first aid
Being nice about it

I think many of the things listed are things that everyone on a group ride should do, whether leader or follower:
Road rules, knowing and abiding by
Calling hazards, changes, stops, obstacles
Controlling your pace to the stated pace unless its a free reign
Controlling your line
Knowing where the regroups are, be prepared to give the last guy a breather rather than take off once they arrive
Knowing reasonable first aid
Being nice about things (this one is often forgotten...you're not racing just cause you're in a group of five...I'm looking at you Mr KOM jersey, struggling to hang onto the tail end of your group and shouting from the back past random people on a sunday morning :wink: ).

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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby ZepinAtor » Tue May 29, 2012 5:15 pm

Downhill wrote:What should be the minimum requirements of ride leaders on group rides?


A good public liability insurance policy & a well written/researched waiver signed by ALL the participants.

Unless of course you're all members of the same or similar clubs covered under some sort of insurance policy.

Otherwise I wouldn't lead a ride in this day & age without the above requirements.

I have organised many MTB rides in the past & always put a next to useless disclaimer in the ride description which went something like this......

Disclaimer.....If you attend this ride you do so at your own risk....Distances & elevations may vary by up to 100%.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby wulfy117 » Tue May 29, 2012 6:42 pm

Risk assessment.

A contingency plan for every common eventuality would be helpful. Managing numbers of people multiplies risks. The ride leader needs to put forethought into "what if" scenarios.

What if someone crashes?, What if someone gets lost? What there is an all in brawl within the bunch?. Maybe not the last one.

Having action plans for common scenarios should make the rider safer and enjoyable.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Tue May 29, 2012 7:16 pm

ZepinAtor wrote:
Downhill wrote:What should be the minimum requirements of ride leaders on group rides?


A good public liability insurance policy & a well written/researched waiver signed by ALL the participants.


Getting beyond the requirements of the ride leader, this is an organisational requirement. For example on a privately run ride with friends the leader would be unlikely to organise such insurance and waiver. Waivers are pretty useless anyway - if there is some degree of negligence you will be liable.

The question of insurance and liabilty is interesting regarding some organised groups which do not run as a club - no commitees, no memberships, the organisation is not incorporated, riders are 'just individuals'. All much more free and easy. But when something goes wrong the ride leader's personal assets may be up for grabs :( .

If you run group rides be sure to be a member of an incorporated club and that the ride is conducted as part of the club's activities ie. on their program.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby greyhoundtom » Wed May 30, 2012 7:36 am

With everything I have read so far in this string.........the question remains........who would be stupid enough to be a Ride Leader and knowingly take all that responsibility on themselves. :shock:

Or are those that organise group rides, such as from a LBS, not aware of the possible pitfalls or their responsibilities :?:
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Xplora » Wed May 30, 2012 1:02 pm

Waivers? What kind of ridiculous world do we live in when voluntary participants in an activity open to the public, in a public space, can hold someone responsible for their safety?

Ride leader is just that. A person who guides and advises on the ride. They cannot force anyone to do anything, and they aren't liable for what happens despite that. They are volunteers trying to help the group have a good time. If they are paid for their work, then they may very well be liable and responsible, because of OHS laws, but volunteer leaders? Let the pack sort itself out, and if someone won't play nice, the pack stops and lets them leave. :!:
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Oxford » Wed May 30, 2012 1:13 pm

Xplora wrote:Waivers? What kind of ridiculous world do we live in when voluntary participants in an activity open to the public, in a public space, can hold someone responsible for their safety?

Ride leader is just that. A person who guides and advises on the ride. They cannot force anyone to do anything, and they aren't liable for what happens despite that. They are volunteers trying to help the group have a good time. If they are paid for their work, then they may very well be liable and responsible, because of OHS laws, but volunteer leaders? Let the pack sort itself out, and if someone won't play nice, the pack stops and lets them leave. :!:

unfortunately we live in modern society where someone else has to pay for mistakes. noble ideals, but unfortunately the legal system will rip those ideals to pieces. anything that looks remotely organised in this day and age is open to abuse. its why I like Zepinator will never organise a ride for general participation in an open environment like a forum (or website) unless through the club I am a member of. weight of my mind and my wallet.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Wed May 30, 2012 6:54 pm

Xplora wrote:Waivers? What kind of ridiculous world do we live in when voluntary participants in an activity open to the public, in a public space, can hold someone responsible for their safety?

Negligence is negligence, whether you paid for it or not. And whether it is on a public road or on private property.

You organise an event - you owe a duty of care towards the people who take part. That leaves you open to legal action should something go wrong, and you have contributed to the cause. You may judge the chances of this to be too small to worry about, you may think you have done everything to cover that duty of care. Then it's all fine.

The waiver makes stuff-all difference BTW as I said, but organising events through an incorporated body limits your personal liability (should the worst occur) and the organisation is more likely to have public liability cover.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Xplora » Wed May 30, 2012 8:26 pm

Wow. So essentially there is no risk of a ride happening?
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Wed May 30, 2012 8:50 pm

Xplora wrote:Wow. So essentially there is no risk of a ride happening?



il padrone wrote:You may judge the chances of this to be too small to worry about, you may think you have done everything to cover that duty of care. Then it's all fine.

I run frequent rides with my cycling club, and enjoy it very much. Back in January myself and 13 other riders did an 18 day, 1000km tour of eastern Tasmania. All had a great time. There was just one accident - my daughter took a fall on a steep descent :(

Getting back OT, we have a set of accepted requirements for ride leaders that are pretty similar to what was initially posted. We also have a requirement to obtain a list of riders' contact details together with a signature and date, agreeing to our waiver.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby GraemeL » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:36 am

So a ride leader/organiser can be held liable for anything that goes wrong? I don't think so, I think you will find that blame lays squarely with the person who was negligent. The leader has absolutely no control over the actions of others.

What about a group of friends then? John has approx 20 buddies that love to ride, there is a long weekend coming up and the weather will be sunny with light winds.

John wants to go for a ride and phones all of his friends to organise a ride on the weekend. A total of 15 of his mates and 4 of his mates friends turn up for the ride. As the ride leader/organiser, John explains where they will be riding to and the route they will take, it will be a mixture of bike paths and roads. He also has a backup plan if anyone is left behind and explains the details on what to do in the event of an emergency/accident.

They set off on the ride and everything is going great, they have been cruising along a bike path enjoying the sights for about 10k's, when one of his mates friends accidently hits a pedestrian. The pedestrian suffers a few cuts and bruising, details are exchanged and they continue on their way. While riding along a nice straight stretch some of johns mates bunch up, but one mate A misjudges the distance and clips the rear wheel of his mates friend B, they both take a spill, mate A has really bad gravel rash and mates friend B breaks his arm, both bikes suffer a fair amount of damage.

Now the pedestrian figures out he might be able to get some money out of this, who does he sue, John because he organised the ride or his mates friend because he was the one that was negligent?

Also his mates friend wants his medical bills paid and also wants his bike repaired. Who does he sue, John because he organised the ride or his mate because it was his fault they collided.

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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Oxford » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:16 am

Both as co defendants. Common situation.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby GraemeL » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:55 am

If an organiser can be held liable, then that means that anyone inviting friends or collegues out can be liable should something go wrong.

I think there are too many keyboard lawyers :wink:

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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:14 am

GraemeL wrote:So a ride leader/organiser can be held liable for anything that goes wrong? I don't think so, I think you will find that blame lays squarely with the person who was negligent. The leader has absolutely no control over the actions of others.

Not what I said.

il padrone wrote:You organise an event - you owe a duty of care towards the people who take part. That leaves you open to legal action should something go wrong, and you have contributed to the cause.



Yes, of course any liability relates to who caused any harm. My point was about a situation where, for whatever reason, you may be deemed to have caused harm and you face, let's say a $5million legal claim. Safer for your and your family's future if you are covered through an incorporated organisation, and have insurance.
Last edited by il padrone on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:19 am

GraemeL wrote:If an organiser can be held liable, then that means that anyone inviting friends or collegues out can be liable should something go wrong.

Not a lawyer, but my understanding of this is that it depends on the level of organisation and promotion in your ride with your friends. If it really is just a day out with a couple of mates, you are all individually responsible for yourselves. However if you organise an event; promote it on the web, through posters or through local newspapers; and even more so, if you collect some form of payment; this would place you in a legal position as the responsible organiser. You would then be regarded as owing a duty of care...... to some extent.

As I said, IANAL.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby GraemeL » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:37 am

il padrone wrote:
GraemeL wrote:If an organiser can be held liable, then that means that anyone inviting friends or collegues out can be liable should something go wrong.

Not a lawyer, but my understanding of this is that it depends on the level of organisation and promotion in you ride with friends. If it really is just a day out with a couple of mates, you are all individually responsible for yourselves. However if you organise an event; promote it on the web, through posters or through local newspapers; and even more so, if you collect some form of payment; this would place you in a legal position as the responsible organiser. You would then be regarded as owing a duty of care.

As I said, IANAL.


I agree with what you say about collecting monies etc, if it is a full on event then it is quite clear that the organiser could be held liable should something go wrong.

I thought we were talking about a non profit type thing.

For instance back in December, some of us here on the forum decided to organise a ride. The OP was the ride leader and he did a great job, but if one of us had an accident there is no way he would be liable, because he had no control over our actions.

In my scenario above, liability would fall to the individual that cased the accidents and would not involve to the ride leader because those events were out of his control.

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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby il padrone » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:46 am

GraemeL wrote:I thought we were talking about a non profit type thing.

Even for non-profit events there can be a legal liability. All of my club's rides are non-profit. All of your local footy club's activities are non-profit. Doesn't stop the litigious from claiming.

GraemeL wrote:For instance back in December, some of us here on the forum decided to organise a ride. The OP was the ride leader and he did a great job, but if one of us had an accident there is no way he would be liable, because he had no control over our actions.

In my scenario above, liability would fall to the individual that cased the accidents and would not involve to the ride leader because those events were out of his control.

Maybe, maybe not. If it is an open forum, where the general public can get involved and join your group that changes everything - no longer just a group of friends. If the event was promoted more widely that makes it more of an issue.

Organising to the extent that transport, accommodation or meals are pre-booked and paid for by the leader makes it even clearer that there is a level of organsation that creates a duty of care.
Last edited by il padrone on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Xplora » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:52 am

Oxford wrote:Both as co defendants. Common situation.


Yep, and that's why the fabric of our society is crumbling - and it IS - because people won't take responsibility for their actions or themselves, simple pleasures like public activities and interactions with other humans has been curtailed.

The people suing clearly don't have children - if you don't socialise a kid, they aren't truly a part of society. You CAN'T socialise them if anyone is afraid of litigation.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby high_tea » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:59 am

IANAL either, but here's a little aside:

There's the concept of assumption of risk. That's Ch2 Div 3 of the Civil Liability Act in Queensland. Not much caselaw out there, but the provision's there.

IMO it's easier to just have insurance. Who wants the hassle? I personally think the odds of a ride leader being liable are fairly slim and absent negligence on their part it's pretty close to zero. I also think I'd rather have an insurer stand in for me than have to put up with someone who wants to argue the toss.

What il padrone said is right on the money:

il padrone wrote:My point was about a situation where, for whatever reason, you may be deemed to have caused harm and you face, let's say a $5million legal claim. Safer for your and your family's future if you are covered through an incorporated organisation, and have insurance.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby high_tea » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:08 pm

Xplora wrote:
Oxford wrote:Both as co defendants. Common situation.


Yep, and that's why the fabric of our society is crumbling - and it IS - because people won't take responsibility for their actions or themselves, simple pleasures like public activities and interactions with other humans has been curtailed.

The people suing clearly don't have children - if you don't socialise a kid, they aren't truly a part of society. You CAN'T socialise them if anyone is afraid of litigation.


Negligence is founded on the principle of taking care of your neighbour. How that's hostile to socialising children, or anyone, is a mystery to me. Broaden the definition to "all litigation" and it just gets wierder. This claim is so bizarre it isn't even wrong.
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Re: Requirements of Ride Leaders?

Postby Oxford » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:40 pm

you organise a party at your home, friends come over, a friend brings a mate/girlfriend/boyfriend, they injure themselves somehow. get friendly with a lawyer and make sure your insurance is paid up, you'll probably need it. bike rides are not much different.
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