Riding Safety Tips and Rules for Ride Day

Rider safety is our most important consideration on ride day. Each Rider MUST follow the rules and work as part of the Team!

  1. Proper Spacing – ideally keep 1 to 1 ½ bike lengths between you and the Rider in front of you. ALWAYS focus on the riders in front of you, not only the rider directly in front of you, but 2-3 riders up the line, this will give advanced notice of any change in pace or incidents. NEVER look behind you while riding.
  2. Ride only two Riders abreast (2×2) – If you ride 3 or more abreast the middle Riders will have nowhere to go if there is an incident and a crash may result.
  3. Keep the pace — Don’t let a gap open between you and the Rider ahead of you. This is very important. Remember, our line of 460 (+) Riders with police escort and support vehicles will stretch almost 2 miles in length. The State Police cannot block off every side road, and drivers seeing a gap between Riders have tried to “shoot the gap” jeopardizing the safety of our Riders.
  4. If you cannot keep the pace, move to the right and ride near the white line as you drift to the back of the line. If your partner is drifting back also you both must ride single file so that others can ride around you.
  5. Passing other Riders – Riders should pass on the left of slower riders only when safe. Passing riders should ride single file unless directed otherwise by a shepherd, while calling out “passing on the left”.
  6. “20-feet off-the-back” Rule – Due to the size of our group it is extremely important to keep the line of Riders together. If you cannot keep the pace and drop-off-the-back more that 20-feet, you will be instructed by the Sweep Shepherds to get off your bike and get into the bus. For the safety of
    everyone please follow their instructions IMMEDIATELY…… no arguing with the Shepherd.
  7. If you are directed to ride in the SAG for two segments, you will need to stay in the SAG for the duration of that Commitment Ride or on Ride Day until the “last leg.”
  8. Yellow Line rule – Stay in our lane only, and ride at least 2-feet to the right of the yellow line. Crossing the yellow line will put you in immediate and certain danger from oncoming traffic or from Police Escort vehicles and traffic that are passing the Ride. Stay in our designated lane only and
    follow all instructions from the Shepherds and Police Escorts.
  9. When directed—move to the right shoulder. The State Police may occasionally bring traffic by us so we don’t cause a traffic jam. Follow their instructions IMMEDIATELY.
  10. Do not push the pace – We will have designated Pace Shepherds at the head of The Ride, they will control the pace of The Ride at the direction of our State Police escort. Other Shepherds will be at the end of the line and at various points along the line of Riders, they will be directing
    individual riders so that we can ride as one group.
  11. Remain quiet as we pass a silent tribute. There will be Family members of the Missing Children standing there and we must show them respect.
  12. Follow the directions of the Shepherds and the New York State Police. We have developed procedures to ensure the safety of The Ride participants and must ensure that the procedures are followed.
  13. DO NOT “push” another Rider to assist them along. This is very dangerous in a large group even if you are a good rider and physically able to do so.
  14. DO NOT hold out your hand to “slap” the children’s/adults hand as you ride by. This could cause a serious accident as you may be pulled down accidentally.
  15. CONCENTRATE. As we go through the cities, there will be many sirens, people waving, and other sights and sounds to distract you. Enjoy the day, but please concentrate on your riding.
  16. Keep your hands near the brakes. There will be many times when you will need to brake unexpectedly.
  17. DO NOT RIDE “NO HANDS” – regardless of your riding experience.
  18. DO NOT use AERO-BARS at any time during The Ride or Commitment Rides.
  20. DO NOT USE CAMERAS WHILE RIDING (including the GO Pro style; no helmet cams or bar mounts allowed).
  21. DO NOT USE YOUR iPod or other music player. You must be able to hear Riders calling out cautions and also hear the instructions of the Shepherds and NY State Police.
  22. When slowing down, yell out “Braking” or “Slowing” to alert the people behind you.
  23. Water Bottles – use only standard “bicycle-specific” bicycle water bottles. Other water or athletic drink bottles do not fit tightly in the water bottle cages and can fall out when you hit a bump. Loose water bottles are a safety hazard to other riders. Non-“bicycle specific” bottles will not be allowed.
  24. If you drop your water bottle or ANY item ie: sunglasses, bike computer etc keep riding, a shepherd will attempt to pick it up. If you put your name and ride number on it, we can easily return it to you at the next stop.
  25. DO NOT LEAVE THE LINE. If you feel ill or have a problem with your bike, do not leave the line on your own — pull over to the right-shoulder of the road and wait for a Shepherd to assist you. If you have an emergency situation, inform a Shepherd who will help you obtain assistance.
  26. Call out or use hand signals to signal turns or to point out obstacles in the road. Riders behind you cannot see the potholes, hazards or other debris. Point them out. Yell them out.
  27. Our mechanics will fix flat tires ONLY on the day of the Ride. If you have a flat or a breakdown you must get in the sag wagon until the next rest stop. Bring your own tubes. One or Two in your bike saddle bag and an extra in your Sag gear bag
  28. ANSI or SNELL approved helmets are required of all Riders in The Ride for Missing Children
  29. In the event of a “crash” in front of you, call out “Rider-Down” to inform other Riders of a pending hazard. Do not stop with your riding partner; keep riding.
  30. Volunteers driving any vehicle must use hands-free/blue tooth enabled sets when using cell phones.
  31.  The bag you carry the day of the Ride, must not weigh more than 20#. If it does, it will be tagged as such and left on the gear bag truck for you to load and unload yourself.
  32. If a rider does not comply with requests from a Shepherd or law enforcement agent they may be removed from the RFMC. Rider Safety is paramount and actions that could harm someone or disrupt The Ride will not be permitted.
  33. Enjoy yourself, meet new Friends, and have a great Ride!