One of the conditions of membership of the club is volunteering to help out at one event a year (two events if you race). Often we get questions from people who haven’t helped out before as to what it entails and what to do in case of an incident. This page is intended to address that.
Duties aren’t difficult and incidents are very rare. Providing that the organiser abides by the conditions of the governing body (which they do) then all of our events are covered by their insurance so there are no liability issues.
The event organiser is the person who is ultimately responsible in an incident. If you are at a remote point on a course then you should have a phone and the number of the organiser so you can contact them if there is an incident. Don’t contact them unnecessarily as they may well be stressed or busy.
You’ll want to turn up in reasonable time at the event HQ to collect any equipment and for the briefing.
Additionally it is useful to have a pen and something to write on in case a vehicle is involved in an incident and you need to record the registration number. If you are approached by a member of the public then do not get involved in an argument. Refer them to the race organiser or chief commissaire (who will be at the finish/HQ after the event). You can tell them that this is an official event sanctioned by the police.
Road race marshall
In a road race there will be groups of cyclists travelling at high speed (there’s a surprise). They need to feel confident that they can safely navigate junctions and be made aware of any hazards. While you have no official powers to stop traffic, you should ask traffic to stop by positioning yourself in the road with your flag out. Be courteous and thank drivers for stopping. If a driver does not stop, first warn everyone else and then if you have time record the registration. Never put yourself in danger.
Lead car driver
Driving one of the lead cars is not something a newcomer to race assisting would be expected to do. If you’re interested then there is a guide here.
Finish line spotter
Particularly in road races, large groups of riders can come over the line together. It may take more than one person working in concert to accurately record the order in which the riders cross the line. Clearly this is important to the riders.
Time trial marshall
This job is extremely simple. You are not expected to interact with traffic at all – it is purely the rider’s responsibility to obey all traffic and event regulations. You are there for two reasons: to highlight to the public that there is an event going on and to direct the rider on their way. If a rider’s way is likely to conflict with traffic you may want to indicate this to the rider.
Time trial checker
We have to make sure that competitors actually complete the course. At turns, checkers will have a complete list of riders and will tick them off as they pass. This is just to make sure that nobody takes a short-cut.
Time trial pusher
Most riders on a TT like to be clipped in and ready to go. They don’t want to be worrying about trackstanding either. You don’t need to be strong to do this.
With a minute between competitors, the rider will be on the line. The timekeeper will say something like “half a minute” and at that point the pusher supports the bike while the rider clips in. The timekeeper will count down 5,4,3,2,1 and then the pusher can (if they feel up to it) give the rider a shove on their way. There are a couple of different ways of holding up riders. Ask advice.