Three Rivers Velo Sport Group Riding Guidelines ~ SAFETY ~ FUN ~ FITNESS

Welcome to 3RVS group riding. Our objective is to conduct a safe and enjoyable ride for everyone. This applies to Road Bike rides.

This is a more detailed listing of the abbreviated guidelines printed on the back of our touring maps.


RULES: Any Member of 3RVS may ask a rider to follow these rules.

  1. Riders must wear an approved cycling helmet.

  2. Do not wear earbuds or other auditory devices. Any communication device intended for placement near or in the ear is prohibited during group rides.

  3. Aerobars, handlebar extensions and other types of designed bars without brake levers may only be used when rider is at the front, at the back, or not drafting.

    1. Note: Rides which permit the careful use of aerobars in the pack (as opposed to only the front or back) must be approved in advance by the Touring Director. Such rides are evaluated by the Touring Director each season in advance in consultation with the designated Ride Leaders with a focus on safety of the group first.

  4. The term incident includes, but is not limited to: an injury, illness, accident and/or close call, due to a motorist, another rider, animal or obstruction in road, road condition, or weather condition that may cause difficulty to any rider, member or non-member, during one of our official events. Report any incident to your ride leader or the club touring director at

  5. In the event of bad weather, a dangerous situation, or emergency, the ride leader may at his/her discretion terminate an event before or during the event. In which case all participants should follow the instructions of the ride leader based on the current situation. At any time an individual rider may make their own personal decision if they feel continuing to participate poses greater risk than they are individually willing to accept and should inform the ride leader if leaving the group.

  6. The ride leader may, at his/her discretion, remove any club member or non-member from the group for reasons such as refusing to wear an approved cycling helmet, riding in a dangerous manner, using threatening or foul language, aggressive behavior, not complying with the 3RVS Group Riding Guidelines, or any other action that is detrimental to the group, the club, or the general public that occurs during one of our official events.

  7. All "drop" rides are considered the jurisdiction of the Racing Director, and will not be acceptable as touring rides.  This does not include rides that have a designated sprint section, if the intention is to regroup after each section is complete. Any rider capable of maintaining the minimum pace of the group they are riding in shall not be dropped from said group.


GUIDELINES: Any Officer or Ride Leader (sometimes informally appointed) may ask a rider joining a Club ride to follow these.


Safety First!

  1. Ride in a straight line.

  2. Be predictable.

  3. Communicate: verbal or hand signals.

  4. Point out hazards, don't swerve.

  5. Brake lightly.

  6. Use caution overlapping wheels.

  7. Only announce Clear if it is clear in both directions.

  8. Have a well maintained, safe bike.

  9. The Ride Leader has the authority to maintain general control and ensure the safety of the group.


LAW: As enforced by Law Officers.

  1. Use correct hand signals:

    1. Left turn, left arm extended.

    2. Right turn, right arm extended.

    3. Stopping, arm down with palm indicating Stop.

  2. Ride no more than two abreast.

  3. Do not cross the centerline of the road.

  4. Obey traffic signs, lights and road markings.

  5. Ride on the right with traffic.

  6. May proceed through a red light after two minutes. The Dead Red Law, effective 7/1/2015. The so-called "dead red" law will allow motorcyclists, moped riders and bicyclists to drive through a red light that they've failed to trigger to turn green, as long as they've stopped for two minutes and then proceed cautiously.

  7. Three (3) Foot Passing Law, effective 7/1/2019. Provides the operator of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle should allow at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle; and wait to return to the original lane after the vehicle is safely clear of the bicycle.


ETIQUETTE: How We Roll – suggestions to keep things safe and fun.

  1. Arrive 10 minutes early; be ready to leave on time. Get yourself and your bike ready before you meet and greet. Five minutes before ride time attend the pre-tour briefing, be aware who the ride leader(s) is/are and what the different pace groups will be. During the ride follow any instructions from the ride leader. Ride leaders are experienced in group riding safety and addressing incidents that may occur. If you did not print a route map from the website, get one from the ride leader (weekends). Talk with other riders in your pace group and decide upon a distance option that is agreeable for your group. Be aware of any announcements regarding the ride such as route hazards or changes due to weather or construction.

  2. Select a group whose pace you can keep up with for the entire distance. Multi-pace group rides will start with the faster groups departing in front. If you realize you cannot keep pace with your group you will be able to fall back to the next group and inform your current group that you are leaving.

  3. Be nice when delivering advice and suggestions.

  4. Be humble when given advice and suggestions.

  5. Be courteous to motorists.

  6. Avoid threatening or foul language and aggressive behavior.

  7. Our Club uses an elbow flick when coming off the front.

    1. If you are pulling off to the right of the paceline then wiggle your left elbow letting following riders know that you want them to come up on your left side. Pulling off to the left side wiggle your right elbow.

    2. If in a double paceline our club has riders on the left side of the paceline pull off to the left and those on the right side of the paceline pull off to the right.

    3. If there is a crosswind and the group is echeloned you should pull off into the wind so you do not take out the wheel of the rider following you.

    4. Our club does not use the butt slap as taking a hand off the handlebars when moving about in the paceline is dangerous.

  8. Do not ride too close to the edge of the road.

  9. Strong riders should be on the windy side.

  10. Announce if you are dropping from the back of the group.

  11. Call out Car Back or Car Up when appropriate.

  12. Passing on left is preferred. Due to situations with group dynamics, wind and road conditions, passing on the right may be appropriate. Clearly call out Passing on Right if it is necessary.

  13. Have tools and knowledge to change a flat.

  14. Carry ID with emergency contact numbers.

  15. Join 3RVS and support the club.

  16. Do not attack your group.  These are friendly touring rides, not races.  No one shows up to a ride hoping to be stranded in the middle of the countryside.  If you want to race, contact the Racing Director.  This does not apply to designated sprint segments where the intention is to regroup at the conclusion of the segment.

  17. Stay together. Be mindful, and courteous to the slower riders in your pace group. Our goal is to help, and encourage them to become stronger riders. If they are able to maintain the minimum pace of the group, as defined on a flat course with no wind, the group will adjust to the pace of those riders. Riders coming off the pull should look back for anyone who may have fallen off the back of the group, and communicate that the pack needs to regroup. 

NON-TRADITIONAL ROAD BIKES: The Touring Director or Ride Leader may ask a rider to adapt their riding style to the group.

  1. The overall objective of our organized group road rides is Safety for the rider group.

  2. Due to the design, size, handling characteristics and other factors non-traditional road bikes can pose additional risks for the safety of the group.

  3. Examples can include recumbents, tandems, hybrid bikes, e-bikes, hand crank bikes, etc.

  4. The Touring Director or a Ride Leader may request the rider of a nontraditional road bike to observe specific safety criteria regarding interaction and participation within the group(s).

  5. Criteria may vary from leader to leader, group to group, and rider to rider based on experience, past interactions and as always safety of the group when non-traditional upright bikes join the group. 

    1. Please follow the Ride Leader’s directions for the group you are riding with.

    2. Criteria may change from time to time and “I did it this way last week” does not override the Ride Leader’s request for that day.

    3. See the next paragraph for redress of concerns you may have.

  6. Please cooperate with the request of the Ride Leader that day and then if you feel the decision should be different in the future discuss it personally (not on Facebook) with the Touring Director at or President after the ride.


  1. Protect the rider from auto traffic.

    1. Send a couple of riders up the road 100 meters in both directions to alert autos.

    2. Get the rest of the group off the road.

  2. Call 911 for help (with good directions).

    1. It is important to communicate what County are you in as many roads have common names.

  3. Offer assistance (do not move rider).

  4. Preserve evidence (take photos, insurance report).

  5. Be Safe!



Members of the 3RVS may ride Class 1 and Class 3 bicycles with electric assist motors on all club rides. Class 2 (throttle control) electric bicycles are not allowed on any club rides, due to the club’s insurance policy limitations.  However, a rider may disconnect the throttle of a Class 2 bike and participate in the ride.

Ride leaders are not responsible for determining whether a rider is using an E-Bike or what class of E-Bike a rider may be using. It is the E-Bike rider's responsibility to know and obey the relevant rules.

E-Bike riders must observe and follow 3RVS rules and policies regarding ride safety and etiquette. Similar to conventional cyclists that participate in group rides, ride leaders have the authority to speak with any rider of an E-Bike if, in their judgment, they feel that rider is compromising the safety of others on the ride. This includes making them aware of what they are doing incorrectly or requesting that the E-Bike rider maintain a position at the back of the group ride to ensure the safety of others.

A rider with an E-Bike should ride with the same pace rides they would ride without an E-Bike. It is unsafe to use an E-Bike to ride one or more levels beyond your ability with a regular bike. Riders of E-Bikes are expected to recognize and respect that there is a correlation between ride speed, rider experience, and rider skills that contributes to, or conversely, can undermine the safety of all riders in the group. 


  • An E-Bike rider should ride to support and maintain the pace of the other riders.
  • It is considered bad form for an E-Bike rider to aggressively pass regular bike riders when proceeding up grades or in noticeably adverse wind conditions. 
  • An E-Bike rider should be certain they have sufficient battery reserve for the ride they have chosen (fully charged battery and spare if needed). It is not the Ride Leader’s responsibility to ensure that the E-Bike rider is safely returned to the start point should they run out of battery.

The League of American Bicyclists offers these additional tips: E-bikes can help a rider haul more weight, extend a trip, travel faster, and go more places. Riders should practice safe bicycling practices while riding an E-Bike. For most riders, an E-Bike will likely be heavier than a standard bike which can create longer stopping distances and make it more difficult to balance when stopping. It is important to practice with any new bike to feel confident starting, stopping, and maneuvering.

*Special thanks to the Wabash River cycle Club for blazing the trail in e-bike guidance


An abridged version of these guidelines may be printed on the back of weekend touring maps.


Contact Club Officers after a ride for questions or further clarification.

By participating you acknowledge the inherent risk of bicycling.

Approved at 3RVS Meeting 7/10/2019