Role of the Race/Event Marshal
The role of the Race/Event Marshal is to assist in the safe passage of the cyclist/athlete through designated junctions/intersections and potential hazard areas. He/she is also responsible for providing (where feasible) warning to pedestrians and other road users whom may be in close proximatey to the race route. In such cases, as a minimum, direction of travel, numbers and speed should be indicated.
Under the terms of Cycling Ireland and the direction given in its Event Safety Code, the road marshal must be competent and have signed onto the event sheet to validate his/her role. Very specifically it states that a marshal does not have the role of stopping car traffic. The function of the Marshal is only to indicate direction and or hazards to the rider. Only local Police are permitted to stop traffic unless authority has been granted. The road marshal will, however, have the job of slowing down or informing local motorists of the presence of cyclists on the road. In this way, road marshals perform an essential function that ensures the safety of the event’s participants.
The marshal’s allegiance, focus and attention is always first and foremost on the cyclists approaching his or her post. The serious implications of impact must always be borne in mind. Expect the unsuspected and Please do not allow yourself to be distracted by conversation with motorists, local residents or other marshals. Cyclists need deliberate and obvious direction as they approach an intersection/junction or hazard at speed.
On occasion, the presence of the road marshal – wearing a safety vest and holding a flag will cause local motorists to slow and ask the marshal what’s going on. Ideally, this will happen, as we want drivers to be aware of cyclists on the road. The road marshal should be positive about the event while being courteous to motorists and residents alike. They must also be firm and deliberate in signals and actions. In most cases, this courtesy and confidence is rewarded with respect and tolerance from the local public. Aggressive postures and confrontation are to be avoided and must be notified on debrief
Rules of the road
Although the riders are under race conditions, no special exemption from traffic laws is given unless otherwise stated. The riders are under obligation to follow local bye laws and the Highway Code, regarding bicycles on open public roads. This means that all riders must be prepared to stop at intersections/junctions, slow down for road dangers, and or follow the direction given by appointed event marshals. Safety must always come first. Riders are responsible for individual actions at all times.
When cyclists approach an intersection/junction or danger spot, the position of the road marshal should alert them to upcoming stops or hazards. The road marshal should use wide, sweeping motions and visible gestures to alert cyclists to the upcoming hazard. Vocal cues are often lost in the rush of air past the cyclists’ ears, so hand/arm gestures are your main avenue of communication. The gestures to be used include: • Flag extended at arms – length right or left turn ahead. Wave flag up and down with forearm. • Arms and hands pushing down, palms down – slow down, danger or turn ahead
All marshals should come prepared for the likely/forecast duration of the event. A rotation may be required for longer events, but will seldomly be required at club level. Marshals should be prepared for inclement weather and should plan to be self-sustained, with regards to snack food and drinks.
Arriving at your post
Event Marshals are to be in position prior to the race commencing. Ideally enough time should be given to arrive at your appointed location and for you to do a visible check of the area for any new hazards or that the existing/known hazard has grown in risk. Time should also be allowed to perform a communications check. Should you have concern then, it is acceptable for the race to be delayed until the Event Organizer or Safety Officer has reviewed your concerns.
Race/Event Marshal Uniforms and Equipment
Race/Event Marshals are to wear a highly visible safety vest and be in possession of a race flag for their assignments. These will be available from the admin area (most likely start point). Where more than one marshal is appointed, such as a large intersection/junction, a head/primary marshal should be appointed and equipped with a whistle, which can be blown to alert all marshals in the area of an approaching rider. Each marshal point must have a means of communication, with the name and contact number logged at the race admin point. A first aid kit is desirable but not essential.
Race/Event Marshal Powers
Whilst in your role, you have the power to stop or eject any rider who is acting in a manner which may lead to him or her endangering him/herself, another competitor or other road user. Should any rider fail to comply then the details must be passed immediately to the Event Organizer/Safety Officer whom will act upon the information given. Any rider whom fails to comply may face club disciplinary action.
Formal debriefs are not planned to take place, though should any marshal feel it necessary to pass on comments for the good and benefit of the event, participants and or organizer, then such feedback will be welcomed.