By Ken Harris, President
Marshaling is the key to our continued presence in Central Park. A lapse in attention or judgement can easily lead to a serious accident and the suspension of racing. So I want to thank everyone for doing a good job at marshaling this year so far. When club racing resumes in June, Central Park will be more crowded, and the task a bit tougher, but, as always, it’s also a chance for us build good will with the rest of the Park users.
A perennial problem for CRCA marshals is off-leash dogs. The Parks Department has recently changed its leash rules. The announcement is online.
Up to now, the leash laws have been ignored during the times when we race, but this change affects the attitude of the dog owners. While it is the responsibility of the dog owner to maintain control of their dog at all times, leashed or not, the policy change might initially put owners more in the frame of mind of asserting their new right, rather than getting their dog out of the way of a pack of racers. We need to keep this in mind both as racers and marshals.
Just as we hope and expect dog owners to do the right thing, the Parks Department expects us to do the right thing. I signed a contract with them saying that we would obey Parks rules, which include not riding on Park paths. We have the road; pedestrians have the paths. If you are late to a race, do not cut across the park, in the dark, on a path. If reported, you will be suspended. There’s at least one person out there who knows our schedule, has a camera, and will try to catch you on the paths.
Also, stay out of the joggers lane, whether you’re racing, waiting to race, or finished — this is another Park rule. If you are seen to advance your position via the joggers lane while racing, you will be expelled from the race.
Please avoid riding the wrong way on Park drives, especially in groups. The Met finish makes this a bit tricky, so consider exiting at Engineer’s Gate and looping back via 5th Ave — 72nd Street. This loop is also a good way to warm up before races.
Use the bathrooms, not the bushes. There’s no excuse: we’ve gotten the Central Park Conservancy to open the bathrooms for us before the races. We could lose our permit because of this, and that would be pretty stupid.
Also, if you crash or are injured during a race, USCF incident report forms are available at the registration table. CRCA does not file incident reports unless the rider fills one out, or we are made aware of an ambulance having taken riders away. You should fill out an incident report if you have insurance through USA cycling, or think that you might file a claim against them.
Finally, don’t ride the night ride. There will be spot checks, and CRCA members seen in the night ride will receive suspensions.
The CRCA code of conduct is available online.