Cycling event organiser legal issues

Green and orange cyclist cycling up outdoor track

Some of the key areas where legislation is likely to affect your business are listed below.

What licences does a cycling event organiser need?

You should be aware of the following:

  • if you organise indoor cycling events in front of an audience you must ensure that the venue is covered by a premises licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN). This is because indoor sports events are classed as 'regulated entertainment' for which a licence may be needed if they're held in front of an audience. It's quite likely that a purpose-built venue like a velodrome will have a premises licence, but if not you'll need to apply for a TEN from your local authority's licensing department. Contact your local licensing authority for more information. (From June 2013, licensing of indoor sports in England and Wales was relaxed to allow events to take place between 8am and 11pm in front of an audience of 1,000 people or less without needing a licence, but if they take place outside of those hours or in front of more than 1,000 people then they need to be properly licensed)
  • if you organise road races you must notify the appropriate Chief of Police or the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in good time
  • if you want to register and insure a road or track event with British Cycling, you need to obtain a Permit to Promote an event. Further details are available on the British Cycling website
  • if you are planning to play copyright music at your events then you are very likely to need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website

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Governing body regulations

If you run events sanctioned by British Cycling or Cycling Ireland you will have to follow the rules and regulations set out by each body. Further details are available on the British Cycling and Cycling Ireland websites.

Litter and refuse

If your events are run on local authority-controlled land (for example public roads), there is legislation that means that you are responsible for clearing up any litter or refuse. For example, this might include course marking tape, take-away food or drink packaging, empty crisp packets, ice cream wrappers and so on. There is further guidance on the website

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

There are a number of health and safety issues that you should be aware of, particularly if you anticipate large crowds of people watching your events. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) websites have guidance notes on the following:

  • carrying passengers on farm trailers (this may be relevant if you intend to use these to provide an uplift service at a downhill mountain bike event, for example)
  • crowd management
  • erecting temporary structures, such as grandstands and marquees
  • fire safety
  • electrical safety

British Cycling also has a set of guidelines developed in conjunction with the Forestry Commission for events using transportation. These can be downloaded from the British Cycling website.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a cycling event organiser

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • public liability. It is extremely important that you have public liability insurance. If you want to run events that are sanctioned by British Cycling, it is a requirement. British Cycling charges an insurance levy for certain races that starts at around £1 per rider (depending on the discipline and the rider's age) and which is used to fund British Cycling's event insurance. All events promoted under the auspices of British Cycling are provided with this cover once British Cycling receives a completed Event Registration form and all appropriate fees
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employer's liability
  • product liability
  • motor insurance. If you are planning to organise road races, you are able to insure official race vehicles on a temporary basis. This is organised by British Cycling and there is comprehensive information about it on their website

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