ASN Safety Bulletin #25 Spectator Safety on Rally Stages
06 Dec 2022 > Safety Bulletin
The planning and organisation of a rally is a complex and challenging process, with many factors that must be considered in order to deliver an exciting and safe event for competitors, officials, and spectators. Based on recent observations from rallies around the world, in this ASN Safety Bulletin we would like to highlight some key points from the FIA Rally Safety Guidelines related to spectator safety.
We encourage you to visit the FIA Rally Safety web page where you can find safety-related resources provided by the FIA to support its member clubs. The FIA Rally Safety Guidelines are updated every year by the FIA Safety Department with the latest best practice from the FIA World Rally Championship and other rallies around the world and include cost-effective operational measures that can be applied throughout our sport.
Identifying and assessing the risks
There are no 100% safe areas during a rally, but organisers should put in place appropriate steps to manage risks and ensure that these risks are clearly communicated with spectators and everyone out on the stages. All high-risk areas should be designated as prohibited or “No-Go” areas. Outside of those high-risk areas, safety issues should be managed by ensuring that spectators are kept at a safe distance from the edge of the special stage.
"No-Go" areas for the spectators
Outside of corners, jump landing areas and escape roads / run-offs are all examples of “No-Go” areas for spectators, the images below show typical corner and junction layouts as well as the associated “No-Go” areas marked in red :
On rally special stages remember that cars may run wide on corners, may cut corners and may throw up stones.
It is recommended to create spectator zones and secure them with marshals placed in safe locations to ensure that no one is standing in a forbidden or “no-go” area.
We suggest using the following drawing to set up spectator areas:
When assessing an area for spectators where the ground is flat, spectators should be placed far back from the edge of the road. The higher the banking, the closer the spectators can be, but remember to make sure that any banked roadside will not act as a ramp to launch an out of control rally car towards any spectator area.
It is recommended to use netting rather than tape to mark out spectator areas, with at least one marshal at each end of the spectator area to monitor people's movements. Please keep in mind that spectators will probably need to park their cars and need some facilities to enjoy the event. This should be planned according to the number of spectators expected to arrive at each area.
If needed, a pathway can be implemented to be used by the pedestrians to cross the stage to access the spectator area. This pathway must be marshaled on each side and only used when safe to do so. Be aware that the time interval between rally cars can vary a lot so never just assume the stage is clear.
Communication with spectators
Once the spectator areas have been created, their location should be well communicated and signposted. Advice should be given on where to park nearby, and the safest way to access the area on foot from nearby parking areas clearly marked.
Quite often, we now see digital Points of Interests (POIs) posted on event websites, giving the opportunity for spectators to access parking using real-time GPS navigation apps. It is also beneficial to manage these POIs in real-time in case of incident or traffic congestion, for example to redirect fans to a different location.
We encourage rally organisers to use all available communications media (radio stations, rally guides, social media, …) to disseminate information to spectators and remind them of the fundamental spectator safety messages.
Examples of the key safety messages:
• Always keep your own safety in mind
• Park in a safe place
• Follow marshals' instructions
• Observe and obey all event signs
• Stay within the official spectator areas
• Do not enter any prohibited areas
• Keep off the road or track
• Listen to official announcements
• Expect the unexpected
The role of the Safety Caravan (see ASN Safety Bulletin No. 23) is to check the implementation of the stage according to the safety plan. It is also intended to resolve any last-minute issues with spectator safety. It is advised to make an additional Safety Car or cars available to deploy additional marshals along the stage to deal with any issues.
In order to quickly assess the marshal post situation, and in particular to ensure that there are no issues with the spectator areas and their management, we ask for the following signs to be made by all Marshals when the Safety Car is passing in front of them:
"Live" view of Stages in Rally Control
It is important for the Clerk of the Course and the Safety Officer to have a live view of the hot points such as stage start, stage finish, designated spectator areas and all known high-risk locations. Today, it is quite easy to set up a 4G security camera network to monitor specific areas remotely. Similarly, it is recommended to equip safety cars with a WhatsApp live video stream as a minimum, to be displayed in the Rally Control, as this is cost-free and can support decision-making when deciding to start or resume a particular stage.
Rally Spectator Safety campaign
The FIA has also created a spectator safety campaign to assist organisers in raising awareness of the risks that exist on a rally stage. You can download the posters and videos on the Rally Safety web page and include them in your rally guide, social media pages, etc.
Social Media Post
(Please feel free to copy and paste this for use on your social media channels)
The planning and organisation of a rally is a complex and challenging process, with many factors that must be considered in order to deliver an exciting and safe event for competitors, officials, and spectators. There are no 100% safe areas during a rally, but organisers should put in place appropriate steps to manage risks and ensure that these risks are clearly communicated with spectators and everyone out on the stages. All high-risk areas should be designated as prohibited or “no-go” areas. Outside of those high-risk areas, safety issues should be managed by ensuring that spectators are kept at a safe distance from the edge of the special stage.
FIA Safety Department
If you have any topics you would like us to cover in future bulletins please send your suggestions to the FIA Safety Department.