SAG Driver Guidelines
1. What is a SAG?
Many believe that it stands for “sweep and gather,” while others prefer “support and gear.” The idea is the same either way: The SAG’s role is to pick up riders who need to be transported ahead on the route.
Note that it’s called “SAG” and not “Taxi Service.” The SAG team does not exist to pick up riders who don’t feel like climbing the next hill and drop them off at the top. Rather, their role is to transport riders who:
- Have a mechanical problem on their bike
- Have to stop riding due to physical concerns or serious fatigue.
2. SAG Driving Guidelines
As a SAG volunteer, it is tempting to view one’s role as being a cheerleader for the riders, but that is not the SAG’s primary job. Rather, SAGs are put on the route to maintain rider health and safety. These guidelines will help the SAG team to aid, rather than hinder, rider safety.
a. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Riders will be instructed that when they are stopped along the road and an event vehicle passes, they should give a thumbs up if they are doing OK, and a thumbs down (or arms crossed over their head) if they need assistance or a pick-up.
b. Find a safe place to stop. When a SAG stops for a “NON CRASH SITUATION (i.e. flat tire or to pick up a rider) it should make sure that it is safe. You want to avoid parking in the bike lane (space between the white line and the side of the pavement), which forces other passing cyclists into the road with vehicle traffic. Never stop a vehicle on a narrow shoulder, blocking the route for other riders. Instead, find a nearby driveway, cross street, parking lot or gravel patch that keeps the route clear. If possible, pull in behind the cyclist(s). A van behind the rider will block a potential re-end collision.
c. For CRASH SITUATIONS
a. Pull in behind the downed cyclist(s). If the cyclist is in the middle of the road, park the car behind the cyclist for their protection.
b. Turn on hazard lights.
c. If the downed cyclist is on the road, you should secure a safe area where you can treat the cyclist(s). Before approaching the downed cyclist, you should warn on-coming traffic by positioning other cyclists (if available), along with the safety triangles, 100 feet behind and in front of the downed cyclist(s).
d. If the cyclist is unconscious and not moving, call 911 immediately. Be prepared to provide the location of the crash site. If you are out of cell phone range, find a nearby house to make a land line call. You can also text other SAG drivers to let them know the location and severity of the crash.
· Do not try to move the downed cyclist out of concern of a spinal cord injury.
· If the injured cyclist is able to walk, have them sit on the side door of the van as opposed to the back of the van, if possible.
· Put on gloves before you treat a bleeding cyclist.
· Do not to use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on open wounds. Clean wounds with water, dry with paper towels, apply first aid antibiotic, and cover with bandages.
· Do not let cyclists back on their bike if they have sustained a head injury (check for a cracked helmet), or are confused, disoriented, or shown signs of being in shock.
c. No honking. It is tempting to honk or yell out the window to cheer on the riders but don’t. Inexperienced and nervous riders will leap out of their saddles in surprise, and the cheering SAG may inadvertently cause an accident. Avoid calling out, but if it is necessary do so gently.
d. No stalking. SAGs should not ride alongside a rider for an extended period. This is unsafe for the rider, and potentially for the SAG vehicle as well if there is an impatient car behind that tries to pass. Either stay behind the rider at a safe distance or pass the rider.
Also, it is important for SAGs to avoid tailing the last rider on the route. Slow riders tend to feel self-conscious about their lack of speed, and can become upset when a SAG creeps up a hill behind them. Instead, find a place to pull over for five minutes while the rider goes ahead, catch up to the last rider, and repeat.
e. Enforce rules of the road. If riders are disobeying the rules – for example, riding two or more abreast, running red lights, etc. – call them on it!
It goes without saying that the SAG driver must also scrupulously follow the rules of the road—obey all traffic signals and signs.
3. Communicating with the other SAG drivers
- Location of the first rider, last rider, and mid-pack riders.
- Any medical conditions