A Group for Every Skill Level

Accidents or Injuries on Group Rides

Everyone knows there are certain risks associated with using the public road system. We should all do our best to avoid obvious traffic hazards, ride our bikes in a safe manner and keep them in a good state of repair. We encourage participants to ride within their abilities. In spite of this, a cyclist may still be injured on an OCC ride.


The tips that follow come from the OCC Ride Leader Handbook.  If something happens on a group ride, it is important to:


  • Stay calm. 
  • Try to identify the mechanism of injury (road hazard, collision, mechanical failure, exhaustion, etc.) and then act to minimize danger of further injury. 
  • Ensure that traffic is stopped or redirected to prevent further injury. 
  • Don't move the injured person. Consider the possibility of a cerebrospinal injury. Ask the injured person for his or her permission to help. Do not provide help if the injured person refuses your offer - remain nearby and offer again after a minute or two; he/she will likely consent if the injuries are severe. Note that if the injured person is or becomes unconscious this permission is deemed to have been given. 
  • Sending for help is often a judgment call. Is there profuse blood loss? Are they in obvious pain? Did they lose consciousness, even briefly? Are they having trouble breathing? If in doubt call 911. 
  • Administer first aid to the extent of your ability. 
  • Even if the injured person pops up off the road and insists there is nothing wrong, look for signs of confusion and disorientation. They may have sustained a head injury 
  • While waiting for help to arrive get the injured person's personal information (name, address, emergency contact, telephone) and medical history (allergies, medic alert, recent illnesses & operations) and write it down. Make sure a copy of this information finds its way onto the ambulance. 
  • Comfort the injured person. -When you get home notify the Recreational Ride Chair or President with details of the incident and the injured person's name(s).
None of us want to be in this situation, but things can on occasion go wrong very quickly out there.  Even when everybody is riding safely and doing everything right, unavoidable things can happen. 

Activating Traffic Lights on a Bike

How to Activate Traffic Lights on a Bike

Most traffic signals where we ride are "demand-actuated" - they only trip when the detect a vehicle. The good news is that you can activate these lights on a bike at most intersections. Here's how:

At the intersections, look for a loop of wire buried in the pavement. This is the "inductive-loop traffic detector" that detects when a vehicle is there. It can sense most conductive metals - and even on carbon fiber bikes, the wheels are good enough to be detected. The challenge is finding the "sweet spot" to position your bike on in order to trip the detector. 

If you see three lines cut into the road (or a rectangle shape with a line down the centre), simply position both wheels along that centre line. This will trip the detector and change the light. This is the most-common style of loop I see in Halton Region, which is good, as it's the easiest to trip. In the photo below, the red line indicates where to stop your bike. If there are only two lines (or a rectangle with no centre line), try positioning your bike along either the left or right line - it might take a bit more work on this style of loop detector to trip it. If there you can't see the outline of the loop (such as if the road was repaved) you'll just have to guess where the loop might be, press the crosswalk button, or contact the town/city/region to have them mark the outline.

Inductive Loop

Training the Imbalances

Too many cyclists with bulging quads still struggle with a squishy core, wobbly hips, or stiff shoulders. On the bright side, fixing those issues will make you a more efficient rider, says Darcy Norman, a trainer with Athlete's Performance in Phoenix. Stand in front of a mirror or grab an observant friend and take these tests--the same ones Norman gave every member of team HTC-Highroad last year. If you fall short on any of them, do the corrective moves on nonride days or as a warm-up on ride days. You'll come out pedaling stronger than ever.


Read more: Training the Imbalances


This week's tip deals with regrouping etiquette at stop signs, intersections or side streets.
Given some of the large groups we've had riding this spring, we have to pay attention to how we regroup to let everyone catch up.  It's important that, when coming to a stop sign or intersection and regrouping, to get as far to the right of the street as possible - even when we're out on country roads.  We need to be mindful of the cars that are out there and try our best not to block their path if we're going to be stopping for longer than 30 seconds or so.
Even regrouping where there is a side street, we need to be mindful of cars coming out of the side street or cars wanting to turn into the side street.  This includes pedestrians as well.
We don't want motorists or pedestrians getting the impression that we're not paying attention out there.  If we can get out of their way, they will be able to pass us quicker and safer, and everyone goes away feeling better.

Group Ride Guidelines and Etiquette

Cycling is a great sport. It is even better when enjoyed with others. However, when you mix people, speed and egos, trouble can be just up the road.

Road riding is fast. You are with others who may or may not be skilled in riding at speed with other riders. You are on a road where dogs, cars, people, horses, rabbits, etc. can come out of seemingly nowhere. When you obey the rules, and expect the unexpected, you increase the possibility you will come home with no chunks of flesh missing.

Ride leaders need to control the pack so everyone can have a safer ride. Almost nothing is worse than a messed up road ride. The beauty of the ride is gone, you are chasing or being chased, tempers can flare. Not a pleasant way to spend your time. On the other hand, a smooth running pack is a joy to ride in. A good ride leader and experienced riders are needed to maintain a good steady rhythm. We can all learn the rules of the pack in order to increase our safe enjoyment of a sport you can enjoy all of your life. The following guidelines and tips should be read and adhered to by all OCC group ride participants.

Read more: Group Ride Guidelines and Etiquette

Connect with the OCC


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Share the Road Coalition

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