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Page history last edited by Phil Stripling 13 years, 4 months ago

SAG Driver Guidelines


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The SAG team has one of the key roles on the Tour de Cure. The team's job is not only to keep the riders safe, but also to help them feel that they are being kept safe by being visible on the route.
These guidelines have been promulgated by the Tour de Cure.
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. A SAG vehicle is typically a van, SUV or pickup with space for transporting people and a rack for transporting bikes. Ideally, each vehicle has two volunteers: a driver and a navigator (they can switch roles during the day if wanted). The SAG driver must have a valid drivers license and insurance, and have a cell phone they are willing to used on the day of the event to stay in communication with the Command Center.
Note that the team is 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:
    * Are injured
    * Have a mechanical problem on their bike
    * Have fallen well behind the other riders
    * Have to stop riding due to physical concerns or serious fatigue. Some may be able to rest then continue, and some are done for the day.
The most successful SAG teams have a plan in place in advance so be sure to talk with the local staff person or volunteer logistics chair prior to the event for specific instructions.
2. Where to SAG?
The local staff person will determine how many SAG vehicles are needed based on the number of different routes and the mileage. Each SAG will be assigned to cover a specific part of the route. Upon arrival on site, check in with the staff and volunteers to get your assignment and coordinate communication. You roam up and down your portion of the route monitoring the riders and looking for any that may need assistance.
3. 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.
   1. 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.
   2. Find a safe place to stop. When a SAG stops for any reason, but especially to pick up a rider, it should make sure that it is safe. Never stop a van 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.
   3. 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.
   4. 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.
   5. 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.
   6. Enforce rules of the road. If riders are disobeying the rules ñ for example, riding two or more abreast, running red lights, etc. ñ call them on it, using their rider number. As the van passes by, the navigator should roll down her window and gently but firmly (without yelling) call out, "Rider number 127, don't run red lights!" Once the navigator has made her point, move ahead and out of the way. For particularly dangerous lapses, call the Command Center. The Tour Director will make the final decision about whether to remove an unsafe rider from the event; the SAG has done its job by reporting the infraction.
It goes without saying that the SAG driver must also scrupulously follow the rules of the road - obey all traffic signals and signs. The roads are not closed for the Tour de Cure event so be particularly aware of regular traffic and be careful when navigating around riders.
4. Communicating with the Command Center
The Command Center is the all-seeing eye on the event. Its function is to know where all important things are happening at any moment of the ride:
    * Location of the first rider, last rider, and mid-pack riders
    * Location of resources, including extra food, fluids, and vehicles
    * Shortages of any resources
    * Any traffic incidents or police presence
    * Location of riders needing transport
    * Any medical conditions
Because the Command Center is located in a single place, indoors, the only way it can know all of these things is by communicating with volunteers and staff. It will communicate via ham radio with the rest stops, and via cell phone with the members of the SAG team.
It is especially important for SAG team members to be in frequent touch with the Command Center throughout the ride. Each vehicle should call the Command Center each time it arrives at a location to pick up or drop or a rider, and each time it departs again. It should provide the Command Center with the rider number of each rider who is picked up or dropped off and, if it is picking up a rider with a medical condition, should note that as well. (Note that injured or sick riders should be referred to by their rider numbers, not their names.)
Often the Command Center will receive word that a rider needs to be picked up. If it knows where all of the SAG vehicles are located, it can call the nearest SAG van and dispatch it to that location.
At the end of the ride, return to the start/finish and check-in with the Command Center. If you picked up any injured riders or were involved in any incidents on the route, make sure the Incident Report Forms are completed fully.
Thank you for volunteering and supporting the mission of the American Diabetes Association!


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