These notes have been prepared by the National Committee to assist District Officials, the Event Promoter and Officials and the Competitors when confronted with circumstances such that the abandonment or cancellation of an event must be considered or implemented. It is not considered desirable at present to draft rules and regulations to cover such contingencies and although the notes are only advisory, they are based on many years of experience and consideration of the consequences arising in these unfortunate situations.
Courses are designed and events are held on such days and at such times that danger to competitors is kept to a minimum. However, exceptional weather and/or traffic conditions may alter the situation completely and when conditions are abnormal, the safety of the competitors and the good name of the sport demand that the event be delayed, abandoned or cancelled according to the circumstances. Examples of abnormal weather conditions include snow and ice in the early season, mist and fog reducing visibility to an unacceptable level and the similar affect of torrential rain and flying spray particularly on dual carriageway courses. An example of abnormal traffic conditions arises when the closure of a motorway causes the diversion of heavy traffic onto a normally quiet course.
The decision to abandon an event ought to be made by the Event Promoter preferably after consultation with other responsible club or district officials who may be available. The decision should be made on the grounds of danger to competitors and the Event Promoter must not be swayed by financial considerations or misplaced sympathy for inconvenienced competitors or marshals. Although a timekeeper may refuse to despatch competitors if he genuinely considers the conditions are too dangerous, it is not regarded as part of his duties to decide on the abandonment of an event.
In addition, each rider has a duty to himself and his family to decide whether conditions are too unacceptable for him to start or continue his ride. In the latter case, the knowledge that the event may be abandoned while he is riding may help him come to a rational decision.
A competitor entering an event must do so on the understanding that, if the event is cancelled or abandoned in good faith, he has no redress against the promoting organisation and it may not be possible to refund all or any of his entry fee.
The recommended action and the consequences depend on the circumstances and are too many and too varied to set out in detail, but the National Committee believes and urges that certain basic principles should be applied as follows:
If an event has to be cancelled before the closing date for entries, all entries should be returned with the full entry fee.
Communication of Decision
If an event is cancelled before the day and time permits, a communication should be sent to all competitors and officials to prevent unnecessary travel. In any case an official must attend the starting point on the day of the event to communicate the decision to those who arrive.
Delaying an Event
This may be the most appropriate action when there is a reasonable expectation that the abnormal conditions will be temporary, for instance if early morning fog is likely to clear or if an obstacle blocking the course is being removed. Initially the start should be delayed for 15 or 20 minutes, repeated several times if necessary, but if the delay becomes much more than an hour the event should be abandoned.
On other occasions conditions may deteriorate when part of the field has started and delaying starting the remainder may be appropriate. Following a delay the published starting order and intervals must be adhered to and if for whatever reason it is not practicable to start the full field, it will be the later riders who forfeit their rides.
Abandoning an Event on the Day
Sometimes conditions will demand an immediate decision to abandon; more often it will follow an earlier decision to delay. The abandonment may be necessary when no or some or all the riders have been started and when none or some riders have finished. Often the decision to dispatch no more riders will coincide with the decision to record no more finishing times. If at all possible the decision to abandon the event should be communicated to the riders and marshals on the course, but the onus is on each rider to decide for himself to retire without prompting and according to his own judgement.
Payment of Levies
The full levies are payable unless the event is cancelled or abandoned without any riders starting.
Use of Recorded Times
Times recorded before an event is abandoned are valid for all purposes except the BEAR and Junior Competitions and they should be shown on future entry forms.
Awarding of Prizes
It is recommended that prizes are not awarded unless half the field could have finished at the time the event is abandoned.
Refunding Entry Fees
Once the start sheets have been dispatched a fair proportion of the entry fees will have been spent and clearly the promoting club is not obliged to refund the entry fees in full. In calculating the amount to refund the promoting club may defray all legitimate printing and postage expenses, timekeepers' fees and similar expenses and levies (if payable). If each resulting refund would be insignificant, it may be withheld by the promoting club. Alternatively, the club may announce that the surplus is to be added to the prize fund of a future event or that "credits" will be allowed against future entry fees.
Postponing an Event
Sometimes when an event has been cancelled or abandoned without any rider being started, it may be possible to run it on a later date if the promoting club so wishes. A postponed event is subject to the District Committee's approval and to submitting a new police notification, so the postponement will be at least five weeks unless the police agree to accept short notice. The new arrangement must be communicated in writing to all the competitors and officials as soon as possible. Riders may withdraw their entry in writing in order to avoid infringing the Regulations . When an event has been postponed, the event secretary shall have the discretion to accept additional entries and/or to reset the field, without prejudice to the original entrants, including reserves, for the postponed event. Entrants who withdraw have no right to a refund. Levies are payable in respect of the original number of competitors and all new entrants who are accepted to ride. New entrants are accepted on the basis of performance, but any Special Conditions applying to the original event are retained. Times recorded in the postponed event will be valid for all purposes. *
It must be acknowledged that the cancellation, abandonment or postponement of an event will undoubtedly cause inconvenience and aggravation to some of the parties involved. Nevertheless the Event Promoter must have the courage to face up to his responsibilities because failure to do so may so easily have dire even fatal or catastrophic consequences.
*In order to comply with BBAR Conditions, only those listed on the original start sheet may use times recorded for the BBAR competition.
THE SAFETY OF COMPETITORS IS PARAMOUNT