RIDER SAFETY

The Subaru Elephant Rock is conducted on open roads with vehicular traffic present. These roads include both marked and unmarked hazards. Though we go to great lengths to make the tour as safe as possible, you are only as safe as you ride. Always remember that your safety is in your own hands and ride by these rules:

General Practices

  • Wear a helmet at all times while riding.
  • Always carry personal identification.
  • Be predictable. Ride in a straight line.
  • No headphones while riding.
  • Use hand signals to indicate left or right turns, slowing or stopping.
  • Never assume motorists see you or that you have the right-of-way.
  • Move completely off the road and shoulder when stopped and resting.
  • Warn fellow cyclists of road hazards.
  • Only pass cyclists on their left. When passing, warn cyclists by saying, “On your left.”
  • Cross railroad tracks at a right angle.
  • Rearview mirrors are strongly recommended.
  • Expect the unexpected; your first responsibility is to be safe.

 

First Time Riders

Concentrate first on learning how to ride safely and with endurance. The Subaru Elephant Rock likely will be one of the most difficult things, physically, that you’ve ever attempted. Here are some things to think about before you ride, during your ride and after your ride.

  • Always stretch before and after riding. 
  • Have your bike in the best mechanical condition possible. A touring or road bike is going to be the easiest to ride and is the most common type found on the Subaru Elephant Rock.
  • Safety involves several items. The first is your helmet. DON’T GET ON A BIKE WITHOUT A HELMET. Safety equipment also includes gloves. If you fall they protect the palms of your hands. Riding safely is very important and very difficult to learn because there is no other ride like the Subaru Elephant Rock in terms of just numbers of bikes. Have a mirror on your helmet or your bike and use it.
  • Carry a spare inner tube in case you have a flat. There are repair vans along the route, but chances are you will be waiting in line. Even if you do not have the knowledge to change a tire yourself, someone will be glad to help.
  • Ride to the right. Leave room for others to pass on your left. There have been many close calls because a passing rider was forced into the lane with oncoming traffic.
  • Ears and Eyes Open. Don’t ride with an iPOD or MP3. You need to hear and see everything and everyone around you. • Know your brakes and maintain distance between yourself and other riders. On a downhill, pump your brakes; use your right (rear brake). Pumping down on your left brake (front) can throw you forward over your handlebars.
  • The greatest threat to your well-being on the route is not cars or trucks but other cyclists. Many riders may be riding for the first time surrounded by thousands of other cyclists. And, while this circumstance promotes a certain euphoria, it also holds hidden dangers, i.e., running into each other and falling down.
  • Stop in safe and highly visible spots. Before you stop, make sure no bicycles or motor vehicles are immediately behind you. Stop at the right edge of the roadway and immediately move off the roadway. Stay clear of the roadway. Stopping is especially dangerous at the crest of a hill or on a curve.
  • Call out to fellow cyclists when you are going to pass on the left or right or up the middle, or are pulling off or pulling on.
  • Be predictable and don’t weave. Ride in a straight line to make it easier for those riding behind you.
  • Don’t draft. (Drafting is when you ride closely behind another rider to reduce wind resistance). Drafting in a crowd is dangerous to yourself and others around you. Drafting vehicles is also dangerous and will not be tolerated on the Subaru Elephant Rock.
  • Know what the road signs mean.

Road Signs

Understanding the meaning of each of these signs not only helps you, but also your fellow riders and drivers. Please take a moment to review these signs as you will see them throughout the Subaru Elephant Rock route.

Obey Traffic Regulations
As a cyclist in Colorado, you are responsible to follow the same traffic regulations as other vehicles. Yes, bicycles are vehicles! This means stopping at red lights and stop signs, not crossing solid yellow lines and obeying all traffic laws.

Ride on Right Side of Road
Cyclists should always ride on the right side of the road. Since all roads utilized during Subaru Elephant Rock are still open to motorists, we cannot ride on the left side of the road as well. There are townspeople that need to get to work, farmers tending to fields and others that should not be hindered by cyclists taking up both sides of the road. Hogging the roads might anger motorists and create a negative image of cyclists in their mind. Be a good guest and share the road!

Let Other Cyclists Pass
You should ride as safely as possible to the right when possible. If you hear a cyclist sound off, “ON YOUR LEFT”, this means they are attempting to pass you on your left. Do not turn your head to the left to look as you could collide with the approaching cyclist, but rather acknowledge them with a simple “THANK YOU” and let them pass. Be courteous and let faster riders pass safely on your left. Do not force them into the left lane. If you want to hold a conversation, do not block the entire lane. Leave a passing lane in the right hand lane!

Don’t Cross Solid Yellow Line
The solid yellow line indicates that it is unsafe for motorists to safely pass in this area because it is difficult to see oncoming traffic due to hills, curves or other challenges. Likewise, it is extremely dangerous for cyclists to ride left of the solid yellow or double yellow lines. Cyclists should ride always ride right of solid yellow lines!

Car Up Car Back
These commands should be sounded off to alert fellow cyclists that a vehicle is approaching from up ahead “CAR UP!!!!”or from behind “CAR BACK!!!”. Cyclists should ride with caution and attempt to ride as far to the right and single file to allow the vehicles to safely pass the cyclists. Be courteous to those that we share the road with!

Sound Off When Stopping
When stopping, let those behind you know so they can anticipate and can avoid you instead of possibly running into you. You should signal with your arm straight down and your open palm towards the rear and sound off, “SLOWING!!!” and then “STOPPING!!!”. If you are pulling off the road, please sound off, “RIDER OFF!!!”. Cyclists should pull completely off the road and shoulder to not block the road. Cyclists should not pull into a driveway and stop as this is a danger to the cyclist and to motorists.

Drink Water
Dehydration is a big concern for cyclists. You should always drink plenty of water before, during, and after bicycling. A fatigued or dehydrated cyclist could cause injury to themselves or other cyclists. Even if you are drinking other fluids such as Gatorade, you should still be drinking water in addition to these fluids.

Heavy Bike Traffic Ahead
This informs motorists to expect very heavy bicycle traffic ahead. It does not tell the motorist that the cyclist has the right of way! It is there as a courtesy to the motorist and cyclists still need to obey the traffic laws of our State.