Safety is of paramount importance on the ride. We take safety seriously and you should too. Read the following information carefully and be prepared to do your part to ensure that you and those around you have a safe and enjoyable ride.
Freewheel riders travel on public roads and highways and cyclists, as any other vehicle operator, are required to observe all state and local traffic law.
Two Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen accompany FreeWheel riders each day. These officers have full authority to enforce Oklahoma vehicle codes, which include bicycles! Local law enforcement along our route is also alerted to FreeWheel’s schedule and generally assists in monitoring safety when riders are passing near or through their communities. Obey traffic laws and be a good ambassador for cycling whether on the road or in a host community.
Traffic law in Oklahoma requires that cyclists ride as far to the right as is safe. Riders may legally ride two-abreast, but should be considerate of motorists and their own safety by allowing vehicles to pass where may do so without endangering you or themselves. In any event, don’t ride so far to the right that you jeopardize your own safety by not having enough room to maneuver in the event of a mechanical problem, debris in your path, damaged road surfaces or other hazards.
Freewheel course hours are from sunrise until 4pm daily. During these hours you can reasonably expect to receive mechanical or SAG support if it becomes necessary. Course hours and support are restricted to these hours in an effort to discourage you from beginning your day’s ride before it is sufficiently light for your safety. Riders who elect to begin their ride prior to sunrise, which is about 6 am the second week in June in Oklahoma, do so at their own risk and should have appropriately equipped bicycles. Oklahoma law requires that bicycles have a rear red light and a front white reflector when traveling at dawn, dusk, or during the night. Bright clothing is also suggested for riding in low-light conditions or after dark. The low angle of the sun during early morning and evening hours can also affect your safety by temporarily blinding others to your presence or affecting your ability to see other vehicles or road hazards. We urge you to be extremely cautious of you decide to ride at times outside the designated course hours.
Move Completely Off The Road When Stopped
Riders must move themselves and their bicycles completely off the road when they stop, whether for rest stops, lunch stops, or simply when you stop to take a drink, rest, or hone your flat fixing skills. Congestion and confusion at rest stops can result in unnecessary accidents. Please be especially alert when stopping on, leaving, or re-entering the roadway.
Riding Safely and Courteously in a Group
Your ride and that of other Freeheelers will be more enjoyable and less likely to include accident or injury if you follow these guidelines:
- Wear a helmet whenever riding your bicycle; on the road, around camp, and in host communities.
- Obey all traffic laws. Bicycles are subject to citation by law enforcement officials for violating state law or city ordinances while on FreeWheel, just as they would be at any other time.
- The way you ride demonstrates to motorists the treatment you expect – ride like a vehicle to be treated like one.
- Never ride more than two abreast and share the road. Ride single file when other vehicles need to pass IF sufficient room is available to do so without endangering you, other drivers, or other cyclists.
- Ride in a predictable manner (in a straight line) and never ride in the lane for oncoming traffic except when passing safely.
- Do not draft behind motor vehicles.
- Pace-lines are discouraged in areas where vehicle traffic, including bicycle traffic, is high. Pace-lines should be limited in number to avoid traffic congestion and reduce the potential for accident and injury. The recommended maximum number of riders in any pace-line is seven.
- Call out and/or signal, as appropriate, to alert other riders when you 1) intend to pass (“Passing,” or “On Your left”), 2) intend to turn, 3) are slowing or stopping (“Slowing,”“Stopping”), 4) become aware of a hazard ahead (“Hole,”“Glass”), 5) when there are cars approaching from the back, front, left or right (“Car Up,”“Car Back,”“Car Left,”“Car Right”).
- DO NOT call “Clear” at an intersection. Riders must determine for themselves when it is safe to negotiate a turn or pass through an intersection. This is one instance when not communicating is preferred. Do feel free to call “car left” or “car right” at an intersection to alert riders of oncoming traffic.
Take particular care in supervising any child or teen companions. Parents and guardians are responsible for their youngsters and should keep them close throughout the tour, both on the road and in camp.
In case of an emergency along the route, first call 911. Most areas of the route will be within coverage. A second option is to call the nearest police department or flag down a SAG vehicle, other riders, one of the OHP troopers accompanying us each day, or any motorist or resident along the route. Dial *55 on your cell phone to reach the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
To signal distress to an oncoming SAG vehicle, pat the top of your head or helmet with your hand. Freewheel SAG and mechanical support volunteers recognize this as a request for help, whether mechanical or health related.
If a rider is injured and cannot be safely moved from the road, direct traffic to prevent further accident or injury.