Rider Safety

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Wear a helmet. No rider is allowed on any of the routes without a cycling helmet! Helmets purchased at local bike shops will meet this requirement. Make sure it fastens securely and fits well, and inspect it for cracks prior to The Ride. Helmets are sold at the bike shop vendor area at UB’s campus in case you leave yours at home. Motorcycle and other sports helmets do not qualify.

Keep ears free. No radios, MP3 players, headphones and no cell phone use while riding. Riders must be able to hear their fellow riders’ dialogue as well as emergency directions from our law enforcement volunteers, Route Guides and Riding Marshals. Your fully charged cell phone IS an important safety tool, though, so bring your phone to the Ride. Just be sure to wrap it in a self-sealing plastic bag and keep it in your bag or pocket for emergency calls.

Bring some snacks to tide you over between rest stops. Eat before you are hungry!

Hydrate. Be sure your bike has a water bottle cage, and carry a sports water bottle that fits in the cage. Store-bought water bottles will fall out of the cage and trip riders.  Drink water before you are thirsty!

Children.  New York state law prohibits taking a child under 12 months of age on a bicycle ride in a bicycle child seat, trailer, sidecar or any other carrier. Helmets are not available for children under 12 months of age.  Children must be accompanied by a supervising adult guardian who agrees to ride with the child on the same route.

Pets.  For the safety of our riders and your pets, any pets other than approved service animals are prohibited on the routes.

A-B-C Quick Check – Free bike checks are offered at our WNY bike shop partners prior to the Ride and at the bike shop vendor area at UB.

  • AAir pressure. Squeeze your tires to make sure you don’t have a flat or they aren’t soft because they’re under-inflatedUse a tire gauge and a pump or visit one of The Ride’s local bike shop partners for a fix.
  • BBrakes. Check yoursAre they tight enough? Or are they squeaking and too tight? Your local bike shop can help.
  • C: Chain. Look it overWhen’s the last time you lubricated it? A broken chain is no fun. You might run into the missing link out in the Alabama Swamps.

Getting your bike properly fitted for your body dimensions, and learning how to shift your bike’s gears will make a world of difference. Your local bike shop can help you with bike fit and with skills training. Proper gear shifting is a fundamental skill that will improve your ride and your personal safety.
Novice and casual riders can find basic resources on common riding and safety situations from the links listed below.

Starting/Stopping

Scanning

Signaling

Basic Bike Check

Lane Changing

Shifting

Intersection Positioning

Bike Lanes

Traffic Laws

Where Should I Ride

The Ride is a ride — not a timed or sanctioned race. High-traffic intersections along The Ride’s routes are managed by local fire police or by town, county or state police. In addition, volunteer Route Guides are located at many turns, intersections and gates. Their job is to cheer you on and give directions — they are NOT authorized to control vehicular traffic. For your safety, please maintain a comfortable rate of speed while complying with standard traffic laws and with the instructions that are given.

A “gate” is an intersection chosen to serve as a short cut for riders who do not “make the gate” by a certain time. If you are “late to the gate”, you must take the short cut in order to finish The Ride by a safe time.

Areas where routes converge are neutral zones, where it’s important to adjust speed to traffic congestion. Each route has gates that close at specific times, after which riders will be diverted to a shorter route for safety reasons. All routes starting at the University at Buffalo are round-trip loops, and the shortcuts are marked in large blue and white signs. Feel free to divert and take the shorter route if you become too tired to continue. You do not need special permission to divert to a shorter route.

Ride to the right unless passing a slower cyclist. Always pass on the left, never on the right. Call out “on your left!” and use your bell as you approach and pass.

Don’t ride more than two abreast. Traveling in groups of more than two riders side by side makes it difficult for both cars and other riders to pass safely.

Obey all traffic signals, devices and signs. Follow directions given by law enforcement and fire safety personnel, Route Guides, Riding Marshals and other Ride volunteers. Slow down in neutral zones where routes merge.

Use verbal commands and hand signals.  Most bike accidents occur when two or more bikes collide, usually caused when one rider isn’t paying attention. Use loud and clear communication! Declare your intentions by using hand signals to alert drivers and riders when you turn, slow or stop. Common verbal alerts to conditions and hazards include:

  • “Car Back” or “Car Up” (there is a car coming from behind or approaching)
  • “On Your Left / Right” (I am passing on your left or your right)
  • “Turning” “Stopping” “Slowing”
  • “Glass” “Rough Road” “Hole, etc. (There is debris or a rough spot in the road)

In case of an accident, do not move the rider. They may have internal injuries.  Use your mobile phone or flag down a rider who has one and call 911.  When your 911 call is completed, call Ride Communications at 716-THE-RIDE (843-7433) to report the incident.

There are Roswell Park nurses at rest stops and on the UB campus.
For non-emergency incidents such as bike repair, requests for a shuttle ride back to UB or requests for information, call Ride Communications at 716-THE-RIDE (843-7433).

In the event of severe weather, including electrical storms or high winds, follow the direction of fire police, Route Guides, Riding Marshals and other Ride volunteers to the nearest shelter. All rest stops and the facilities listed as the Severe Weather Shelters on route maps, including churches, schools, fire halls and other public buildings along the routes are prepared to assist you.

Heat exhaustion in hot weather!  Watch for heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting or fainting. The skin may be cool and moist, pulse rate will be fast and weak and breathing will be fast and shallow. Get the rider out of the sun immediately and call for assistance.

Hypothermia in cold weather! It can happen on a cool and rainy day! Symptoms include blue lips, pale skin, uncontrollable shivering, skin that’s cold to touch and confusion. Get the rider out of the weather and provide a blanket or dry clothes if possible. Call for assistance.

Dress for the weather!  The Ride goes on rain or shine, hot or cold. Almost any kind of weather is possible in late June. (We haven’t had snow yet, but it has hailed.) It’s easier to prepare and dress for good weather than it is for bad, so keep in mind that rain or cool weather clothing may be necessary on Ride Day.

Layer up!  The best way to dress for cold or wet weather is to wear layers. This gives you flexibility to add or remove clothing, depending on the temperature and your activity level.

Wear sturdy sneakers or bike shoes, not open-toed shoes or sandals. Synthetic socks wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Wear sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.