Rider safety has always been paramount for ASG Events race organisers and a close relationship with the Bestmed Road Rangers has ensured this critical issue remains top of the agenda.
Made up of volunteers who have a passion for cycling, the Road Rangers will be on duty this weekend at the Bestmed Satellite Championship at Maropeng in North West Province.
Organisation chairman Craig Bezuidenhout said the Satellite was just one of the dozens of road and mountain bike events around the country in which they acted as marshals to ensure their smooth running.
As the popularity of cycling grew in South Africa, he said the need for an organisation dedicated to the safety of cyclists during races was identified.
This led to the Road Rangers being formed in 2009 and the Safety Initiative Road Rangers became a registered non-profit organisation in 2015.
The association with Bestmed ties in with the medical aid company’s five wellness pillars.
“One of them is being safe,” said Bestmed marketing and sales executive Chris Luyt. “This is the reason for our involvement with the Road Rangers.
“We are aware of the fact that safety is our most important factor in all our sport sponsorships.”
Bezuidenhout said training, focus and dedication were all contributing factors in the success of the Road Rangers.
“This group of volunteers dedicate their time, energy and very often their personal resources to the promotion of safety in the sport,” he said.
“We focus specifically on providing a higher degree of security for cyclists and these dedicated marshals have become beacons of safety during cycling events.”
He said there were a number of important tips cyclists could follow while out on the road to improve their safety.
“Follow the highway code. Don’t jump red lights and don’t cycle on the pavement unless it’s a designated cycle path.
“Always wear a helmet, keep your bike roadworthy and watch your speed in the wet when it takes you longer to stop.”
Bezuidenhout added that it was important for cyclists to make sure they rode in a way that they could see, as well as be seen.
“Make eye contact with other road users, especially at junctions, and then you know they have seen you.
“Many collisions occur when a cyclist is on the inside of a vehicle turning left. Don’t assume the vehicle is going straight just because it is not signalling left; it’s always better to hang back.”
He also pointed out that many big trucks would pull out to the right first when turning left to create a gap between the vehicle and the kerb.
“Many cyclists think it’s safe to ride into this space, but it is dangerous because the gap quickly disappears when the vehicle swings left.”
Bezuidenhout said that although the Road Rangers underwent continuous training in various aspects of a race, they were not qualified medics.
“In the event of an incident our first goal is securing the scene. Thereafter other assistance will be provided as best as possible.”
His essential advice to race participants was to follow the marshals’ requests at all times.
“As Road Rangers we are there to look out for them and when we ask them to get back in line and obey the rules of the road we are not trying to be awkward or inconsiderate, but just doing our best for their safety.
“In most cases we are putting our lives on the line by confronting traffic front and back when cyclists are crossing over the white line. So we ask cyclists to assist us by always following the rules in place.”