Warning calls when riding in a group
These calls are based on the guidance produced by West Surrey CTC.
Pass warning messages quickly up and down the line so that everyone follows suit.
- "Car up" or "car behind": There is a vehicle coming up behind the group.
- "Car down" or "car ahead": There is a vehicle approaching the front of the group.
- "Single file": A call from the Ride Leader or backmarker when a column of cyclists riding 2 abreast blocks cars from passing safely (overtaking or meeting) on narrow or busy roads or when riding round bends. This call must be relayed backward or forward by everyone to ensure that the move to single file is executed quickly and safely. When singling out, the inside rider of each pair should normally move forward, allowing the outside rider to slot in behind. The call "single file" also alerts everyone to the need to assist in creating spaces for outside riders coming in.
- "Open Gaps" To help motor traffic overtake the group (or if traffic behind is unable to overtake, you will be requested, where safe, to split into smaller groups of 3 – 5 riders (minimum of 4 car lengths between groups) with the call "open gaps". If you can count 5 riders ahead, you need to open up a gap in front of you.
- "Clear" and "Stop! Car Left/Right": This call informs following riders at junctions, when the group is joining or crossing another road, if the road is clear. "Clear" means that the junction is safe to cross/turn. If the situation changes and traffic appears, immediately shout "Stop! Car on left/right". Do not use the shout "Not Clear" as some of this shout might not have been fully heard due to weather conditions or traffic noise. If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
- "Hole"/"Gravel": Any pothole or gravel that could cause a rider to fall. If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it. Do this by either pointing or adding to the call "on the left (or right)".
- "Hazard Left/Right" A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians. For hazards on the left an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard.
- "Stopping!" and "Slowing": A call that each rider must make to warn others. If you brake without letting those behind know your intention they can easily run into you.
- "Puncture": Let other riders know. They will wait while you repair it (you will probably be given help).
- "Horse(s)": The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind call out to the rider. Do not ring your bell. Pay attention to any request by the horse rider – they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists. Last person past the horse(s) to inform the horse rider(s).