Friday, March 16, 2012

The Yellow Line Rule

In cycling we have this rule called the Yellow Line Rule.

3B1. Center Line. If a course is not closed to traffic, all competitors must keep to the right of the center line or enforcement line, but may pass on either side of another rider [warning for accidental crossing of the center line with no advance in position; relegation or disqualification for advancing position; 10 day suspension for a flagrantly dangerous attack].

This is a good rule and a tough rule. First it is a good rule because of the safety of the riders. Many road races are run on roads that have not been closed to traffic. It is just too costly, and many locations just wont allow it to happen. With races taking a large portion of the day it would just be imposible to close of a large loop of road to cars. So what happens is promoters set up a type of rolling closure for the right side of the road and all riders must stay to the right of the center line. Cars on the road are allowed to pass the peloton on the left.

It is a tough rule when the race has strong winds, a race that might not have a painted line down the center of the road, and small roads. In races where there are strong cross winds, (Froze Toes, Hillsboro Roubaix, O'Fallon Grand Prix RR) the peloton will for echelons across the road where riders attempt to hide from the wind.

This is a problem when the wind starts blowing form a riders right side. (in the US) A smart rider or team will move to the left part of the lane to make it difficult for riders behind them to get a draft. In theory riders are not supposed to go over the line to stay in the draft. If they do not get into the draft they will for sure be dropped if they are not supper strong. With the prospect of being dropped from the race, a rider will for sure look to their left and see plenty of open road to use and will break the Yellow Line rule. If the wind was blowing form the other direction, riders would have to ride in the grass, or gravel to remain in the draft, which isn't really possible on a road bike. I know that when a riders is riding their brains out to stay in the race they don't think about cars coming at them. These racers come out to races to win, not enjoy the ride. So crossing the line is not a problem for them. It is only a problem for the promoter and the moto ref. I am sure that there is some racer that would cross the line, get hit by a car and then sue the promoter, also I'm sure it would fault could fall on the promoter for a car owner who's car was damaged by a cyclist not following the rules.

This is an interesting rule, and like many rules or laws it takes someone to enforce it for it to matter. I have been in races where the rule was strictly enforced, races were it is kind of enforce, races where it has almost ended races because of the racer's complete disregard for the rule, and races where the rule doesn't seem to exist. I have heard that Cat 1/2 races are generally allowed to race all over the road. I don't know this at all for sure, just what I have heard. I have been in a Cat 1/2/3 race where a lot of the pack was over the line, and the ref was doing everything he could to get them back across. I think it was a pretty hard job, and I don't know that he was able to accomplish it. I was dropped from the race because it felt wrong to be breaking the rules and going over the line. This put me in a bad spot and I was not able to hold on for long.

I have seen a lot of racers plead, beg, even demand that promoters run rolling closures in road races where the road was seen as too small to race on half of the road. I would have to assume that this would cost a fortune. You would need at least two or 3 police officers, follow cars, lead cars, marshals, wheel trucks, and motorcycles. for each category of race. Generally there are Cat Pro/1/2, Cat 3/4, Cat 4/5, Cat 5, a couple levels of Masters, maybe a couple Women categories, and Juniors. That is a lot of cars, trucks, police, and volunteers. It might need as many as a UCI Pro race. The cost would be very prohibitive for a promoter.

So what to do? I don't think there is anything that you can do. This has been a rule in use for some time now and really it works pretty well. We still get to race, and yeah there is a rule that sucks a little, but what rule doesn't suck? People will still take their lives into their own hands when they decide that going into oncoming traffic to stay in or win a race is the right thing to do. People are not very good at making good decisions all the time. And I think the cost of racing if we used rolling closures would make it imposible to race in the first place. So I say, let's keep racing, stay in your lane, and remember, we all have other jobs, families at home, and we are only racing for pride, a small amount of money maybe, an a medal.
Not what you want to see when racing!

No comments:

Post a Comment