One of the most critical issues we deal with nearly every race is riders crossing traffic lanes. We disqualify too many people and get regular questions about this. Crossing lanes is important to Comms for a few reasons:
- It can impact the Combine’s ability to get permits
- We have better things to do after a race than answering police questions
- Comms don’t want to appear in court or coroner’s inquest about dead riders.
- We like races to be about cycling, not about people getting hurt
- It’s tactically unnecessary
Officially, crossing lanes is bad. Don’t do it
Practically, crossing lanes is bad. Don’t do it.
Even though that is pretty clear, I will elaborate on a few specific points. This topic is covered in the Technical Regulations under Section 1, 3.8.02:
Competitors and officials must observe the local traffic laws and regulations.
A rider who rides or acts in a manner considered dangerous to other competitors or the public will be penalised.
The penalty for crossing lanes can include a warning, DQ, fine and/or suspension. This will depend on the circumstances. Personally, with less than 40 riders per grade there is almost never a real need (racing or safety wise) for a rider to cross. Regardless of peloton size, you can count on riders taking up the entire space allotted. Even the pros with multiple lanes of closed roads still struggle to get through pelotons. Getting around somebody within the lane is a reality of racing – race in a better position if you don’t like it.
There will be a part 2 to this posting to address specific questions which have come up before. Things like, 'what about when it's a non-solid line?' or 'what if there is a crash?' and especially ‘what about during a sprint?’ However those answers are pretty much the same as what is above.
I hope that helps. You can email if you have any questions about this or Comms’ topics you’d like to hear about.