In a road race there will likely be some vehicular traffic on the course. If there is a rolling enclosure, there will be several vehicles on course and can include many cars, motorcycles, and vans. For an endurance mountain bike race where there may be road crossings, four wheelers or dirt bikes may be out on course with the racers.
It is very important to train the drivers who are driving a vehicle in the caravan or on course so they know what to anticipate during the event. This is not something you want an untrained and inexperienced volunteer to do.
Caravan vehicles in a road race consist of team cars, neutral support, medical, race staff, officials, and police support. At some of the larger races, VIP and press cars may also be in the caravan. Team cars and neutral support vehicles should be 1.6 meters in height or less. The chief referee will approve all the vehicles in the caravan and the actual structure of the race caravan. This information should be communicated in the technical guide to teams.
Vehicles that are in the caravan should be easily identified to not only race staff, but any police or course marshals. Having a decal on both the front and back should be the minimum identification. Having decals for the sides is also a good idea. For motorcycles, decals are visible when placed on the front windshield. Caravan vehicles should be operated with their day beams on at all times and in some cases with flashers.
NOTE: The vehicles in the caravan should be insured to protect the race director and volunteers who are driving the vehicles. USA Cycling offers hired/non-owned auto liability. This serves as an excess policy to the driver’s primary insurance. Please see the insurance basics of this manual for a better understanding of the necessary requirements.
Medical vehicles are often larger vehicles whose dimensions you need to be aware of to ensure they can enter and travel the course to an incident. One thing to pay attention to is the height of the start or finish truss, at the finish line, as the fastest route of travel might be through the finish line and under the truss. Communicating the height of the truss in advance to the emergency service company will help them identify a vehicle that will accommodate the finish line truss.
Medical vehicles will also need to quickly enter and exit the course if they need to provide medical assistance. Make sure a course that has barriers or course tape has a section where the vehicle can easily enter and exit the course. This can be a swing gate, a barrier that isn’t locked down on either side or course tape that is looped over the stakes so it can be removed and placed back with ease. These areas should be free of spectators or have available crowd control in order to react quickly in the case of an emergency.
While you don’t have to worry about police vehicles being marked, they sometimes don’t anticipate the speed at which cyclists can travel. During your pre-race meeting with the officers for the race, speed on course should be one topic for consideration.
TIP: Tell course marshals and police how staff vehicles will be marked so staff can do their duties unimpeded.
Whenever you have vehicles on course you need to have communication with them. It is critical that the radio works throughout the entire course and that police and medical have a race radio. If the police are using their own radios be sure the race director and another staff member have a police radio to communicate with them. If the race radio does not reach all corners of the course you’ll need a repeater to bounce the transmission to the farther reaches of the course. Often police radios have a wider reach and they may assign their radios out to race staff. Test the reach of your radios before the event so you can determine if you need a receiver/repeater or to borrow a police radio. There are also a number of companies that rent radios for short or long term use.