The Warragul and Baw Baw regions over recent years has seen significant interest in cycling and growth in regular participants with the club growing some 300%.
Initiated from a group of WCC members who while appreciating and enjoying this growth observed that the growth in numbers also bought about an increase in the number of incidents on our roads sometimes perhaps often resulting in injuries and on one tragic occasion the death of a very popular local doctor.
After much discussion and debate it was agreed that the cycling club needed to be proactive and take a leadership role in looking at the safety of cycling and cyclists in our region and see if we could do anything to help.
So a small group of people with a wide range of skills, experience and interest in cycling was formed to look at the problem and see what, if anything could be done regarding:
- Growth in numbers of participants who on a regular basis are out all year round and in all conditions
- A much wider range of skills and experience and fitness then we had seen before
- Larger groups on the road (longer and at times wider)
- More noticeable and perhaps and therefore more of a hindrance/annoyance to some motorists
- At times a disregard to the road laws – often due to the size of the groups / perhaps due to cyclists trying to keep up with a group
Also recognizing that we have little influence over the behavior of other road users so need to focus on cyclists.
- Awareness – cyclists and motorists
- Education / training particularly about bike skills and riding in group (bunches)
- Respect & cooperation for each other – cyclist and motorists
In amongst this process we set about applying for (awesome work by Nicolette Davey from the Baw Baw Shire and very capably assisted by Clint Wilson) and eventually successfully receiving a TAC grant which will be utilised mainly for training such as:
- training / development of cyclist and in particular new and juniors riders
- to create a greater level of public awareness with all road users regarding road user rights and obligations
WCC will also be contributing significant “in kind” funding to training and developing juniors
The Amy Gillett Foundation (Tracey Gaudry) have also come on board – intellectual property / promotional material – A METER MATTERS.
We’ve also formed partnerships with RoadSafe Gippsland & the Baw Baw Shire to particularly focus on improving awareness on the roads with other road users and to endeavor to improve the relationship and understanding of cyclists on the roads
Our Upright & In-Sight Safety Initiative is based on five cornerstones, each of which is an important and integral component of the overall approach to improving rider safety. These are:
- Ride Timetable – A defined timetable of training ride options. We believe that riders need to be better informed as to what rides are within their own capabilities.
- Code of Conduct – A succinct, point form document (will be reproduced on a pockets sized, laminated card) that sets out the basic rules and guidelines that we hope the cyclists on our rides will voluntarily adopt and adhere to.
- Ride Captains – To provide Leadership when leadership is required. Ie will require more interaction with less experienced cyclist.
- Training – for Ride Captains plus training for riders at advanced, intermediate and novice levels. To be provided by expert external provider – Ridewiser (Rob Crowe)
- 5. Incident Reporting System – A system for reporting near misses & incidents and for recording of riding statistics. We believe that this will provide us with powerful information that can be used in many ways such as a tool for learning about why accidents occur, but also for building statistical information that will assist with lobbying, funding requests, etc.
Warragul Cycling Club Ride Captains are our leaders on the road and will provide leadership as and when required. Following long standing cycling tradition cycling road leaders are also known as the “Patrons of the peloton” with the most famous of all being Bernard Hinault, who was known during his dominant period in pro cycling as “le Patron”. Hinault was renowned for his ability to provide leadership and to foster cooperation within the professional peloton. Bernard Hinault was also known as the “Badger”.