Having cycled across Ecuador to raise money for charity, completed the Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in memory of an inspirational sports coach and taken part in regular sportives, Helen White is no stranger to cycling on the open road.
With plenty of impressive experience and a great knowledge of cycling on the road under her belt, Helen jumped at the chance to become a British Cycling accredited marshal – a role which helps to safeguard cycle racing on Britain’s roads.
Despite the recent boom in cycling’s popularity, there remains difficulty around staging road events – something which could threaten the long-term future of the sport. such as Helen are playing a huge role in securing the future of road racing in this country by making road races safer for everyone involved; riders, the race convoy and other road users.
“Previously, I would marshal several club road races using red flags, so when accredited marshalling was introduced, I and many others at my club jumped at the chance to sign up, seeing it as a natural progression to improve safety at cycling events.
“I attended an evening training session, which covered the theory of road traffic management at road cycling events, the requirements of an accredited marshal and the law that pertains towards promoting road safety. This was followed by a practical session in the car park, where all manner of possible race eventualities were acted out.”
Once she had qualified, Helen was free to marshal road races using the ‘Stop! Cycle Race’ sign, which was included in the Department for Transport’s Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions Act in 2016. It is now an offence for drivers to fail to stop for this sign.
“Being an accredited marshal is really good fun, yet has a serious undertone promoting road safety and ensuring the survival of road cycling events in Britain, thereby encouraging the continued participation levels and popularity of the sport.
“Cycling is one of the best sports to get involved with, whether your aim is to be an Olympic champion, a recreational sportive cyclist or perform one of the vital supporting roles such as marshalling.”
So why not follow in Helen’s footsteps and take up a voluntary role, such as an accredited marshal, and support your sport to continue to grow.