British Cycling has today revealed plans to utilise the Accredited Marshal Scheme in 60% of its regional road races across England in 2018, with the backing of almost 80% of the nation’s police forces – further safeguarding the future of the sport.
The ‘Stop! Cycle Race’ sign, which features in the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions document, allows British Cycling trained marshals to legally stop and hold traffic to allow the safe passage of a cycle race.
There was a 52% increase in road races using accredited marshals in 2017 compared with the previous year, illustrating the demand for the scheme.
British Cycling’s director of cycling, Jonny Clay, said: “The Accredited Marshal Scheme is playing a vital role in ensuring that road races are safe for all involved: riders, the race convoy and other road users.
"We are delighted with how the scheme has grown this year, and we’re determined to support its continued growth by working closely with volunteers and police forces in 2018.”
Andy Battle, lead for cycle racing on the highway at the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), added: “The Accredited Marshal Scheme was developed by British Cycling in conjunction with the DfT and the NPCC to provide a safe, sustainable and effective method of traffic management at road race events.
“The use of the sign and system has been growing over the last few years across all UK police forces as a practical and professional approach to race safety. The NPCC fully supports the use of the sign and marshals at these events.”
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is one of the 30 police forces to endorse the scheme, and a spokesman for the the force said: “The scheme, in conjunction with the professional risk assessments provided and the excellent pre-race briefings given by race organisers, makes each event much safer for both riders and road users.
“All road users should be aware that stop signs used under the Accredited Marshal Scheme should be treated in the same way that you would a red traffic light. Failure to comply with this sign is a traffic offence, which could lead to prosecution.”
The scheme was initiated to protect the future of grassroots road racing and since its introduction has received widespread backing from riders, clubs and officials alike.
While introduced primarily to ensure the safety of cyclists, the scheme is also designed with other road users in mind. Jonny Clay added: “Accredited marshals only stop traffic for a short period of time in order to make junctions safe for the passing of the race, having minimal impact upon other road users.
“Drivers will have adequate notice they are approaching a traffic control with ‘Caution Cycle Event’ and ‘Traffic Control Ahead’ roads signs being placed ahead of each accredited marshal, who will be dressed in high visibility clothing.
“We have had a great response to the scheme from drivers. We appreciate their patience and understanding in allowing the safe delivery of cycle races on the highway, and would ask them to spread the word about the scheme.”
In total, almost 600 volunteers have so far trained as accredited marshals.
Register your interest for an accredited marshal course.