Planning and leading a ride


Chairmans note to Ride Leaders


It is important that our rides conform to the policies of Cycle Somerset not only for insurance purposes but also for the safe and enjoyable participation of our cycling. All leaders are to use this guide for all rides and interpret sensibly and practically where there is only guidance.

The risk assessment done previously will be updated for current standard's and will be regularly reviewed  and shared with ride leaders and members but you must assess any further specific risks and brief them to the group before the ride. 

The club defines a ride leader as a member of at least one years standing and having completed a variety of club rides in that year. Hence, they will be familiar with the “ride process” and capable of leading a ride.

The club secretary will notify Cycling UK of our ride leaders annually in January for insurance purposes as a Cycling UK Affiliated Club (also notify ride leaders that they have been nominated). 

The club is then covered for the rides and events that it organises for its members. The ride leader and club officials are covered “against claims made against them for injury or damage caused to a third party”.

The following link to Cycling UK details the cover provided to affiliated cycling groups.

We will raise awareness and recognition by all members that Health & Safety is the responsibility of all riders, not just the Ride Leader.  This will reiterate the importance of keeping within the Highway Code, taking care whilst riding in a group and being considerate of others needs etc.

The responsibilities and/or liabilities of Committee members, ride leaders and individual members will be clearly stated.

We will ensure that all members of the Club confirm that they have read and agree with the terms when they renew their memberships or subsequently via a personally addressed  email with the updated terms and conditions with a delivery/read receipt to ensure they are all aware and have seen it.  

A brief plan will be developed for initial and subsequent communication.

Leading a Group ride - a summary of key points

  • Find out the names of everyone on your ride – not just for insurance purposes but it’s also friendlier. Ensure that you have a copy of riders names, telephone numbers, emergency contact name and telephone number from the website.

  • Enlist the help of any experienced riders to keep an eye on newer ones; act as backmarkers; lead a second group; or even act as ‘human signposts'; at junctions or gates.

  • Explain how you will lead the ride: any jargon and hand signals you might use; when and where you will wait for stragglers; how you will deal with traffic and so on but remind each rider they are responsible for their own safety.

  • Point out any likely hazards in advance or stop and brief a particular just before it occurs

  • Avoid blocking roads and trails – choose stopping points carefully.

  • Keep the ride flowing smoothly but do stop occasionally and give stragglers a rest before restarting.

  • You have a duty of care to the riders and the public, so if you think someone may endanger themselves or others, have a quiet word; if their behavior persists, you are entitled to ask them to leave the ride.

  • You should lead by example and remain courteous and considerate to all road users and fellow riders

  • Ensure anyone who wishes to leave the ride is happy to make their own way home

  • At the end of the ride, thank people for coming and let them know details of the next one, if you have them.

  • Then go home and plan your next route!


See following Appendices for further information

Appendix 1 Ride Leader Checklist 

The following information is based on the experience and guidance of Cycling UK, its clubs, groups and instructors accumulated over the years.

Ride Leaders preparation

  • Remember you have a duty of care for the group

  • Familiarize yourself with all the information available for ride leaders on the website including

    • Insurance, Hazards, Risk Assessment, Controls  & Emergencies

  • Plan a route for maximum enjoyment for riders,  considering their different abilities, distance, terrain, traffic, refreshments, toilets, points of interest, weather, and any other factors

  • Using a standard template, post the information on the club website stating clearly

    • start and finish time, meeting place, numbers allowed, 

    • distance, height gain, pace, difficulties, weather forecast 

    • Items riders should take on the ride 

  • Promote your ride via the Share function on the website

  • Be prepared to vary the ride if any of these change.

  • Decide how you will navigate: GPS, maps, local knowledge, or a combination of all of these?

  • Cycle (where possible) the route and contact any coffee/lunch stops in advance

  • Assess any additional risks and replan as required

Items to take with you

  • It is useful to carry a first aid kit accessible for all riders to use for minor  injuries.
  • Mobile phone to call for assistance for more serious incidents.
  • Have WHAT3words App installed on mobile phone for precise location for emergency services if needed 
  • Tools, inner tubes, tyre levers, puncture repair kit and pump 
  • Riders and emergency contact details printed from website, pen and paper
  • Mapping apps, map or GPS unit
  • Accident/Incident Report Form

Leading the ride - briefing

  • Introduce yourself and welcome new riders

  • Check riders have registered via the website and record details of unregistered riders you agree can join your ride.

  • Enlist the help of experienced riders to keep an eye on newer ones; act as backmarkers; lead a second group; or act as ‘human signposts; at junctions or gates.

  • Brief everyone about the ride covering

  • The leader is. . . . . .   and the back marker is . . . . .

  • There is a first aid kit with . . . . accessible for any rider to use for minor injuries.A call to emergency services should be made for more serious incidents. 

  • Emergency contact details are with the leader

  • Outline the route – include distances, timings, hills, stops for coffee, etc.

  • Describe any particular hazards and actions to be taken by the group

  • Explain how you will lead the ride: any jargon and hand signals you might use; when and where you will wait for stragglers; how you will deal with traffic and so on. Point out any likely hazards in advance.

  • Ask riders to Inform the leader or back marker if leaving the ride

  • In the unlikely event of an incident, complete the CYCLING UK ACCIDENT FORM as soon as possible.

  • Avoid blocking roads or trails, choosing stopping points carefully.

  • Keep the ride flowing smoothly but do stop occasionally and give stragglers a rest before restarting.

  • You have a duty of care to the riders and the public, so if you think someone may endanger themselves or others, have a quiet word; if their behavior persists, you are entitled to ask them to leave the ride.

  • Ensure anyone who wishes to leave the ride is happy to make their own way home.

  • At the end of the ride, thank people for coming,  go home and plan your next route!

Leading the Ride - on the go

  • Set the standard

  • Leaders do not have to be at the front but in control

  • At turns ensure the rider behind has seen your turn, if not wait and direct them

  • Make way for other road users;  do not hold up other traffic unnecessarily

  • Pass messages up and down the line and  point out any hazards 

After the Ride:

  • What went well,

  • What could be done differently



Appendix 2 Risk Assessment (February 2022)

The safety of riders and on group rides is very important to the club.  The ride leaders are insured through Cycling UK and individuals are recommended to join either Cycling UK or British Cycling who both provide third party insurance.  A Risk Assessment is an important step in protecting both our members and the club.  Every time that we ride our bikes, we are exposing ourselves to various risks and the purpose of a risk assessment is to focus on the risks and mitigate them as best we can.  

The Risk Assessment attached describes the generic risks applicable on all rides and puts a figure on the “likelihood” and “severity”.  When multiplied together, these give a score – the higher the number the higher the risk.  The table sets out the expected practises when riding in a group and this is the expected normal for our rides.  When circumstances or events take the situation beyond these scores then further measures are required to reduce the risks to an acceptable level – this applies to everyone but particularly, for the ride leader.  

All riders are required to dynamically assess risks all the time the group is riding.  This is normal practice and should not be taken as anything more than common sense and what we do.


Risk Scoring























Accept and carry on


Additional control measures may be required


Change plans



  1. of interest but no effect

  2. minor effect on riders/group

  3. may need to stop group and resolve problems

  4. incident report required

  5. Threat to life


  1. Unlikely

  2. It might happen

  3. Possible

  4. Probable

  5. Very likely/certain



Who could be harmed, and how? 

What is already being done to control the risks?

 *Risk Rating Severity x Likelihood

What further action is recommended to reduce risks further?



S x L

Weather conditions

Ride leader and the group members may be harmed by inclement weather e.g. wind, rain, snow, ice, sun, fog etc.

  • Ride leader will always check the weather forecast prior to any ride. The ride may be postponed or cancelled where bad weather is foreseeable. The ride may be abandoned if the weather worsens during the ride

  • Weather conditions may form part of the event description and part of the ride leader’s brief

  • In hot weather, all should carry drinking water

  • All members to provide and apply their own sun cream in hot weather

  • Wrap up well if cold




Dynamic risk assessments will be undertaken throughout the ride extra measures taken or the ride aborted if necessary

Riders may opt out before or during the ride if they feel it is not safe for them – inform the ride leader before departing or during the ride

Clothing and Equipment

Riders could be injured by catching loose clothing in the wheels or pedals

Helmets are potential life savers

  • It is recommended that all riders wear a suitable helmet, fitted correctly

  • Riders should check for loose clothing before the ride

  • Riders should consider their visibility to other road users




Ride leaders may include in ride brief

Condition of bicycles

Riders could be injured by a mechanical failure of bicycle whilst riding e.g. brake failure or puncture

  • Riders should check their bikes prior to the ride

  • A simple ABCCD check will suffice – Air, Brakes, Chain, Control, Drop

  • Riders should carry their own tools and spares

  • Riders should ensure their bike fits them correctly

  • Lights may be required in poor conditions – the back marker may show a red light to warn approaching vehicles




Riders to do their own repairs or help/advise/repair may be undertaken by those competent or trained to do so


Riders maybe harmed by poor route selection, types of terrain and road conditions

  • The ride leader select a suitable route – generally on quiet roads

  • Care should be taken on narrow lanes for both oncoming traffic and vehicles approaching from behind

  • If required to go on main roads consider splitting the group into smaller compact elements or riding two abreast to present a short/smaller vehicle for other road users to overtake

  • Sometimes the reward for a challenging ride is worth it but plan ahead and warn the riders in advance




Avoid main roads with speed limits in excess of 40mph and difficult junctions.  Be prepared to change the route if necessary or 

Health and well being

Riders may become unwell during the ride

  • The ride leader should note any pre-existing conditions - if informed

  • The ride leader will carry a First aid kit for use by individuals or by those trained in First Aid

  • Mobile phone will be carried by ride leader which should include the St John’s Ambulance First Aid App and the what three words app to give locations to the emergency services

  • Riders mobile phone should have an up to date ICE




The ride leader to evaluate the situation on a case by case basis and decide whether to abort the ride.  If a rider leaves the group the ride leader must consider whether another member should return with them.

Group riding

Riders may be harmed if poor individual or group riding techniques are allowed

  • The group should stay together, avoid splits and wait after slower sections of the ride to allow others to catch their breath and/or catch up

  • Each rider should ensure that those following have seen the direction of travel at turns/junctions – if in doubt wait for the rider behind

  • The ride leader must make contact with those who get lost and guide them to re-join the group or to make their own way

  • When safe to do so ride two abreast, leaving gaps for the outside rider to get into single file

  • Communicate information throughout the group to warn of traffic, potholes, gravel, approaching vehicles, etc.

  • Arrange to pause when appropriate to let other road users overtake – preferably off road

  • At junctions make the future direction is clear to the group and other road users

  • Do not block junctions – wait before or after at a suitable place preferably off the road

  • The ride leader to brief at start and reinforce on the ride any particular hazards 




The ride leader needs to set the an example, match the pace to the group and give guidance as necessary


Members of the group  may be harmed by being distracted by:

  • Pedestrians

  • Other drivers/ road users

  • Animals

All of which could result in an accident/incident.

  • Individuals should avoid being so engrossed in conversations that they may be distracted

  • Riders should communicate up and down the group to warn of vehicles, potholes, gravel, horses, etc.

  • Riders to maintain a safe distance from other riders and be able to stop in an emergency




The ride leader should include communications in the ride brief and monitor it during the ride.


Riders could become injured:

  • By falling off their bicycle

  • By causing others to fall

  • Individuals are responsible for controlling their bike within the group

  • Riders should maintain a safe distance between themselves and other riders

  • Riders should warn others when pulling in or stopping and of other hazards

  • The ride leader will carry a first aid kit for use by individuals

  • Attend to mechanical issues as they occur




The ride leader will monitor the group behaviour and advise if necessary


Riders could be injured by colliding with:

  • Traffic

  • Street furniture

  • Road works

  • Animals

  • Parked cars – potential for driver to open the car door

  • Other riders in the group

  • Individuals are responsible for controlling their bike safely whilst riding in the group

  • Look around before committing to a change of direction and signal where necessary

  • A suitable distance should be maintained from other road users and any stationary objects

  • The ride leader should follow the emergency procedures to safeguard individuals and the group

  • The ride should ensure that the emergency services are summoned quickly if appropriate




The ride leader should do dynamic risk assessments throughout the ride and control with extra measures or aborted if necessary.

Following the Highway Code

  • Riders could be harmed during the ride if they or others make mistakes

  • All riders should be familiar with the provisions of the highway code and follow them

  • To keep safe everyone must look around before manoeuvring and position themselves correctly on the road

  • Observe the correct priorities at all times

  • Riders should make themselves aware of the new provisions in the Highway Code




The ride leader should do dynamic risk assessments throughout the ride and control with extra measures or aborted if necessary.

Nervous On-Road

  • Riders could be harmed when they are nervous of traffic or the road environment

  • Riders could be harmed by becoming overly confident

  • Riders may become more nervous if they experience a near miss or incident

  • The ride leader should build confidence with good briefing  and explanations

  • Nervous or new riders should be allocated a “buddy” to look out for them and guide them

  • The ride leader should look out for overly confident riders that could affect the group




The ride leader should do dynamic risk assessments throughout the ride and control with extra measures or aborted if necessary







Appendix 3 Emergency Operating Procedures



Think of yourself first and make sure you are safe.


Get the people off the road or away from danger.


Make the area safe. Ask two(or more) people to stop the traffic

If necessary.


Assess the casualty(or get a first aider to do this)but only move

Them if necessary.


Call for emergency services if required by dialing 999or112.


Send people to guide the emergency services if necessary.


Reassure the casualty and, if they are conscious, ask who they would like contacted or check the emergency contact details on a

Signing on sheet or guest registration form.


Reassure the rest of the group. Keep an eye out for anybody

Suffering from shock, which can be very dangerous.


When the  ambulance arrives ,ask where it is going so you can inform the casualty’s emergency contact. Do not go with the



Make a note of any witnesses and write down their details on an Incident Report form. Record briefly what happened. Photo  scan

Be really helpful too.


Decide what to do with the casualty’s bike– perhaps ask a

Neighbor to look after it or lock it up somewhere.


Decide  whether or not to continue. People may appreciate a chance to sit down quietly and discuss what happened over a coffee or

Feel able to carry on with the ride as planned.


Send a copy of the Incident Report form to Cycling UK and the claims department at Butterworth Spengler. Contact Slater and  Gordon for legal advice if appropriate.

Cycling is a statistically safe activity but rarely, situations arise that demand quick thinking and a clear mind. Having a set of Emergency Operating Procedures makes sure that you are well-prepared for worst case scenarios and will know what to do.




Appendix 4 First Aid 

It is useful for ride leaders to carry a first aid kit accessible to all members for minor injuries. A call to emergency  services should be made for more serious incidents.

When managing accidents and injuries remember to:

  •  remain calm; walk to the scene if possible 
  •  evaluate the situation while approaching it; try to find out how the injury occurred 
  •  maintain your own safety
  •  protect the casualty and other people from further risk 
  •  remove other cyclists from around the injured rider
  •  give reassurance and comfort to the injured rider
  •  if appropriate apply first aid 
  •  deal with accidents in order of priority
  •  watch out for shock
  •  call for appropriately qualified assistance, giving clear and accurate information about the incident
  •  keep the injured rider warm
  •  advise the emergency services of any declared medical conditions of the rider
  •  inform the injured rider’s emergency contact person of the details
  •  record the details of the incident and your management of the situation, as soon as possible after the accident.
  •  refrain from giving the casualty food or drinks if hospital treatment may be needed
  •  do not transport the injured rider in your own car 

The following link is to a St John Ambulance app which provides useful information


Appendix 5 Accident Report

The following is a link to the Cycling UK Accident Form

Link to Cycling UK Accident Form