Author Topic: Risk management  (Read 16672 times)

Risk management
« on: November 15, 2010, 01:37:43 pm »
This was split out from the Eureka thread, by request

MV



Just as a point of interest.  :-\

Where does AUK stand regarding risk, risk assessment, "blame" and other things Health and Safety wise?  I have never got my head round how an organiser can do a worthwhile risk assessment for an event; we ride on public highways, which have untold risks associated with them.  We enter the event at our own discretion, accepting a level of risk.

Whilst on my last Audax from Claughton, 3 out of a group of 5 riders 'came off' 2 of these due to cattle grids (not the same grid)  How is the risk at cattle grids rated or handled?
Tandem Riders Do It Together
188 miles NNE of Marsh Gibbon

Risk management
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 01:55:31 pm »
Unless a known specific unusual hazard applied on the route, the risk assessment is based on "risks other than those normally associated with riding on the public highway".  After all, entrants are reminded on entry that they will be embarking on a private excursion on the public highway.

So the risk assessment is as much as anything related to the controls (not commercial controls).

However, I'm sure I'm not the only organiser who includes in the RA such things as "leaf-fall could lead to particularly slippery patches - riders reminded of this with routesheet", and "evenings drawing in - riders reminded of need for good lights and event starts earlier than normal to maximise daylight hours".  To be honest I put these in as much as anything because the RA cannot be blank!  I might actually be opening myself to more trouble as I am acknowledging that there are such dangers.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Risk management
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 02:08:02 pm »
I don't think cattle grids are a risk worth mentioning.  I've witnessed (and participated in) many, many more tumbles on level crossings, than on cattle grids.  And you wouldn't normally mention a level crossing in an RA.    Unless it's Leeming Bar.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Risk management
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 02:28:33 pm »
IANAO

However, from a rider's perspective things like cattle grids need to be appropriately forwarned. I would expect an organiser to check that road signage of cattle grids was adequate or otherwise include a note in the routesheet. The same would apply to any hazard. I also expect that an organiser has ridden or driven the route not much more than about two weeks ahead of the event and noted any other hazards (large potholes, broken signage, etc). If that's done and it can generally be considered possible to ride the route in the time available then I don't think an organiser could be held to blame for any injuries.

As for things like ice, I consider it my responsibility, as a rider, to ensure that I can pre-empt and cope with the conditions on the road on the day. For instance, if the overnight temperature are within 2-3 degrees of freezing, I prepare for a chance of icy and slippery roads. If I get that wrong and end up injured, I would consider it my own fault. As a (technically) responsible adult I should be able to make the decision whether or not to start a ride.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Risk management
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 02:39:03 pm »
IANAO either, and this is why.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Risk management
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 02:43:34 pm »
The H&S aspect of things doesn't really bother me. I wouldn't mind being an organiser at some point actually.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Risk management
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 02:49:13 pm »
I also expect that an organiser has ridden or driven the route not much more than about two weeks ahead of the event and noted any other hazards (large potholes, broken signage, etc). If that's done and it can generally be considered possible to ride the route in the time available then I don't think an organiser could be held to blame for any injuries.
I've ridden numerous events where simply listing all the nasty potholes would double the length of routesheet/rider-info. Are they not things that you'd look out for during a private excursion on British highways?
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Risk management
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 03:32:53 pm »
I wouldn't expect an organiser to list every pothole, just indicate where they may be unexpected in risky places. Such as where they might be particularly difficult to avoid under normal riding conditions (speed, traffic, etc). For instance, on The Dean this year, there were some pretty evil holes in Broad Hinton that appear after blind corners. As they're on a bit of a down hill and some riders would be approaching in low light, I reckon they should have been mentioned on the routesheet.

Something you can see 50 meters off doesn't need a mention though.

Risk management
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 04:39:44 pm »
I expect a route sheet to warn of cattlegrids and any roads that are known to have particularly poor surfaces.

But if it didn't, I still wouldn't complain if I came a cropper - I'm responsible for making sure I'm riding my bike safely and with speed etc. appropriate to the conditions.

Ice is a nasty one though. Having got up at oh-my-god-o-clock on a winter morning and travelled to the start of a ride that you entered weeks ago, all psyched up and ready to go, there is a lot of pressure on the rider to actually start and "see how it goes".

jogler

  • mojo operandi
Risk management
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 04:50:35 pm »
Where did common sense go!

I think it was made redundant by the H&S nazis ::-)

mikewigley

Risk management
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 05:09:35 pm »
I expect a route sheet to warn of cattlegrids and any roads that are known to have particularly poor surfaces.

I don't.  It's a normal hazard of the road that is up the cyclist to watch for, just as if he/she were on a private excursion.

mikewigley

Risk management
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 05:10:57 pm »
I would expect an organiser to check that road signage of cattle grids was adequate or otherwise include a note in the routesheet. The same would apply to any hazard. I also expect that an organiser has ridden or driven the route not much more than about two weeks ahead of the event and noted any other hazards (large potholes, broken signage, etc).

That was a joke surely?

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Risk management
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 05:14:42 pm »
I expect a route sheet to warn of cattlegrids and any roads that are known to have particularly poor surfaces.

I don't.  It's a normal hazard of the road that is up the cyclist to watch for, just as if he/she were on a private excursion.

I've never met one in the dark, so I could be persuaded that grids on (possible) night legs would benefit from a note on the rsheet.
(they are also quite nice nav landmarks - a bit like the names of roads you are crossing.)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

jogler

  • mojo operandi
Risk management
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 05:18:39 pm »
I expect a route sheet to give me directions.
I don't expect it to give me H&S advice/warnings concerning the state of the road in the same way that I don't expect such information from a road atlas or O.S. map.
I expect to be responsible for my own wellbeing* when using the public highway for whatever purpose.

* insofaras I can't legislate for the idiocy of other road users.

Risk management
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2010, 05:34:42 pm »
I expect a route sheet to warn of cattlegrids and any roads that are known to have particularly poor surfaces.

I don't.  It's a normal hazard of the road that is up the cyclist to watch for, just as if he/she were on a private excursion.

To be clear, it's not something I'd complain about, but I appreciate the heads-up. Just as I would if I was riding alongside somebody who knows the road well, and he'd tell me "watch yourself on the descent, there's a couple of cattle grids". 

"Expect" was probably too strong a work. "Like" is more in line with what I meant. The routesheet gives you the benefit of the organiser's experience both in directions and the locality. Warning of a cattlegrid is no different to warning that you should get into the right hand lane at a certain point in order to make a turn later easier. Not essential, you can manage without, but it is appreciated.


I've never met one in the dark, so I could be persuaded that grids on (possible) night legs would benefit from a note on the rsheet.
(they are also quite nice nav landmarks - a bit like the names of roads you are crossing.)

That's the kind of instruction that I mean; "L @ T, cross five cattlegrids..."

I know that there is a difficulty in that if you warn of e.g. gravel on one particularly well known bad corner, then it could be taken as implying that every other corner is safe and gravel free.

Risk management
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2010, 06:10:46 pm »
At a lot of events I've ridden (and I do it on the Upper Thames, too) the organiser has given a brief heads-up on anything particularly nasty observed on the final recce ride.  That should be enough.  We all know the roads are in poor repair, and in certain parts of the country cattle grids are expected (and signposted on the road, like level crossings are, so they shouldn't cause any surprises)

Re: Risk management
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2010, 07:43:50 pm »
IANAO either, and this is why.

You and me both.  It's a shame because I'd love to put on a 200 and 300 from Chepstow to precede the Brevet Cymru and Bryan Chapman.

The difficulty lies in what to include in a risk assessment, and what a coroner or judge might conclude if a rider's family employ some good lawyers to pursue an organiser in the event of their death or serious injury, which is, unfortunately, likely to happen at some point. 

IANAL but it seems to me that organisers have a clear duty of care to their riders.  What this means in terms of what should be expected on a routesheet and in a risk assessment remains to be seen, and it will, rather sadly, take a bad accident to find out. 

What I do suspect is that hazards that riders will experience on the ride should be explicitly made clear to them, even the bleedin' obvious like hazards presented by other road users, cattle grids, frost and tiredness.  I don't think it's good enough to say that riders are taking part in a private excursion on public roads and let them get on with it.  They are not; they're taking part in an organised event.

This is why I don't think we should be trying to make Audax appeal to a wider range of cyclists. 

Well, mainly:  I also want to still be able to get a bunk on the Bryan Chapman if I turn up at 2am!




Re: Risk management
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2010, 07:47:25 pm »
I don't expect anything other than turns.

If I'm too bloody stupid to pay attention for road hazards I shouldnt be on the road.

I think that too but, sadly, it's not always how it works.

Re: Risk management
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2010, 07:48:58 pm »
I don't expect anything other than turns.

If I'm too bloody stupid to pay attention for road hazards I shouldnt be on the road. I would welcome a disclaimer absolving the organiser.

This is why I don't think we should be trying to make Audax appeal to a wider range of cyclists.  

Well, mainly:  I also want to still be able to get a bunk on the Bryan Chapman if I turn up at 2am!

Totally agree with this. Organisers don't seem to be consulted in this drive for more riders.


EDIT: sorry, you caught me out whilst I was reshaping my reply

Billy Weir

Re: Risk management
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2010, 07:58:16 pm »
I view the RA as highlighting unusual risks not normally faced by cyclists.  I class cattle grids and level crosses as hazards usually encountered on the road.  Likewise livestock, poor road surfaces and steep descents.  The one exception is where a busy, main road is used or crossed - I always note these on the RA and explain why I consider it appropriate to use them (e.g. good line of sight, hard shoulder, short stretch etc).

Other than that exception, my RAs are particular localised hazards (either in time or geography).  An example would be riders having to ride in areas where there is little if any habitation and possibly mobile phone signals.  Or areas where the weather can deteriorate in a short space of time.

That said, my notes to riders (either separately or on the route sheet) will cover these where I anticipate riders unfamiliar with local roads might appreciate some reasonable forewarning.  However, I steer clear of words like "Danger" or "Take great care".  If you are using words like that I would wonder if one shouldn't reroute to avoid what sound like particular hazards.

Indeed, I completely scrapped my original planned route for my February ride (Redhill Beach Trip) because it relied upon some roads (down by the South Coast west of Brighton) that left me thinking "by golly, that's potentially dangerous".  As a result, I've drawn up a completely different route from that I intended (and I suspect will be a much better ride for it, which I will find out for sure this weekend, when I take a jolly little jaunt by bike down to Beachy Head...)

Such actions, however, are less about feeling a duty of care but rather the responsibility for ensuring someone has as nice a day out as I can reasonably put together.

Re: Risk management
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2010, 08:12:18 pm »


...What I do suspect is that hazards that riders will experience on the ride should be explicitly made clear to them, even the bleedin' obvious like hazards presented by other road users, cattle grids, frost and tiredness.  I don't think it's good enough to say that riders are taking part in a private excursion on public roads and let them get on with it.  They are not; they're taking part in an organised event...


The 'private excursion' bit is really a reminder that that normal rules of the highway apply. As for 'organised event', even that is open to interpretation in as much as riders are entirely responsible for finding their way between controls - no waymarks, marshals or ride leaders.

Re: Risk management
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2010, 08:18:06 pm »
I thought that the problem with warning of specific dangers is the possible assumption that the rest of the ride will be free of such problems, i.e.

"I came off on loose gravel on this corner. The organiser had warned of loose gravel on some other corners but not this one so I didn't expect it."

(One assumes that the loose gravel wasn't present at that corner when the organiser did their routecheck ride a week or two before, otherwise it would have been added to the routesheet.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Risk management
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2010, 08:20:55 pm »
This a lively debate.  :)

I didn't think my question would stir up such passion; but I suppose anything Health and S****y related does tend to.  There have been a few IANAO comments; could we have a view from AO?  Risk assessment would not have been the done thing in the seventies, at the start of AUK, would it?  What caused or when did it start?  Do 'we' have to do it for some legal requirement?

The opinion has been expressed; that we will have a case in court one day.  That will be very sad if it happens.  Disclaimers, I believe, are not worth the effort; if there is blame it cannot be waived away.

I would also like to put some routes forward, possibly as permanents to start with, but not without assurance that the buck wouldn't land with me.

What happens regarding Accident reports for the Eureka?  Are they a must?  Yet more paperwork for the organiser.
Tandem Riders Do It Together
188 miles NNE of Marsh Gibbon

Re: Risk management
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2010, 08:42:50 pm »
As an illustration of the problem,  If a first time audaxer decides to ride a 400, then gets hit by a car at 2am after veering across the road at the wrong moment due to falling asleep at the bars, the fact that the nature of the organised event has put him or her in that position might prove very problematic for the organiser.  

If there were an explicit "this ride will be exhausting:  if you choose to ride at night ensure you rest regularly and sleep if required" in the risk assessment than all well and good.  Regrettably the nature of the events means that's not possible; you'd never finish if you rested whenever tired and there is rarely provision for sleeping, apart from bus shelters.

At present this is all accepted and all of the riders I've ever met are hardy souls who know what they are letting themselves in for and wouldn't dream of going after an organiser it it went wrong.  The problem might come with opening the doors wide to the sportive crew, for example, and it could come at any time with a bitter grieving family in the case of a rider who didn't beat the clock.

Sorry if this is a bit gloomy, but we really are best off remaining in a dark corner of the cycling world, IMHO of course.

jogler

  • mojo operandi
Re: Risk management
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2010, 08:52:45 pm »

Sorry if this is a bit gloomy, but we really are best off remaining in a dark corner of the cycling world, IMHO of course.

no,no,no.
It's us lot who are in proper orbit;It's the rest of the world that's out of step ;)