Guidelines for safe riding

All clubs offer guidance to their members for riding safely in a large group. Our advice and guidelines are based on many years of experience and are regularly reviewed by our Committee. Please read this document carefully to help us make your rides both safe and enjoyable.

At the start of the ride, leaders will introduce themselves and provide a brief outline of the ride. If you are not a member of Cycling UK, we will ask you to give us an emergency contact number and sign a disclaimer form stating that you are fit for the ride and that your bike is roadworthy. The leader will also appoint a “sweeper” to bring up the rear and to keep an eye on progress ahead.

Leaders’ contact details can be found on our website under ABOUT US/PEOPLE.

  • For regular riders, we recommend carrying an emergency contact card (supplied by the club) for use in the event of an accident.
  • Please respect the leader’s role and help him or her to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
  • If you wish to join us at lunch, please phone or text the leader and carry your phone with you on the ride, in case the venue has to be changed at the last minute.
  • If you prefer to join us en route, it is helpful to let leaders know in case they have to change the route.
  • If you do go ahead, wait at the next junction or at the top of the hill (ride leaders are not responsible when you ride ahead).
  • Do not leave the group without informing either the leader or the sweeper.
  • Do not stop suddenly: shout “stopping” and give a slowing down signal if possible.
  • When you stop, pull off the road if possible.
  • At junctions, do not block the line of sight of other road users.
  • Warn riders behind of potholes or other hazards by pointing, if it is safe to do so.
  • Do not ride more than 2 abreast and keep in single file on narrow or busy roads when cars need to pass.
  • On many roads, vehicles have difficulty overtaking long groups, so do not ride in groups of more than 4 when cars need to overtake, leaving a gap of about 30 metres. If you are fifth in a group, slow down to leave a gap.
  • We use “car up” to mean that a vehicle is approaching from behind and “car down” to draw attention to vehicles coming from ahead.
  • When a rider behind you shouts “car up”, move into single file (unless the road ahead is wide and clear of oncoming traffic). Inside rider should move up, allowing the outside rider to tuck in behind.
  • Pass on “car up” and “car down” messages.
  • Follow the leader’s decision when to use cycle tracks, but feel free to use a cycle track even if the leader does not.
  • Always wave to thank drivers who slow or stop to let us by.
  • Do not shout or gesticulate at drivers who behave badly (cyclists make mistakes too).
  • Keep calm when drivers use their car horns inappropriately.

These guidelines have been produced to make rides safer and more enjoyable for everyone taking part.  However, please remember that they are only guidelines and that they cannot cover every possible situation that can arise during a ride. Individual riders remain responsible for their actions and must use their own judgement as to what is best for their own and the group’s safety in any specific situation.

 Good communication between ride members is one of the key aspects of safe, enjoyable group riding.  Try never to do the unexpected without announcing it in advance.

CTC (Cycling UK) Guide to Cycling with a Group
CTC (Cycling UK) Guidelines for Group Leaders

Cycling UK Wantage: Guidelines for Riders
Cycling UK Wantage: Guidelines for Leaders and Sweepers

Notes submitted by various members of CTC Oxfordshire Committee. Original version produced by CTC Oxfordshire Committee, discussed and amended at Oxford City AGM 2013 and further amended by Oxford City Committee members at regular intervals. Please feel free to email your comments and suggestions to