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Mountain Biking

Version control: Original 2003 / Updated 2016/ Updated February 2023




You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

Mountain biking is the riding of a bicycle on an unsealed surface in a variety of terrains usually in a natural setting. The two forms of mountain biking are trail riding and descent riding.

Parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

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Teacher/Instructor Qualifications and Experience

The teacher/instructor must have current National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) Level 0 Mountain Bike Skills Course OR a nationally recognised qualification as a Mountain Guide (Controlled to Intermediate Environment).

All accompanying teachers/supervisors of the activity must be experienced in mountain biking and should have current knowledge and experience of the location to be used.

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Instructor/teacher: student ratios will be determined by a risk assessment process that has considered prior experience of activity leaders and supervising staff, the age, experience and maturity of the students, the level of difficulty and skills required, environmental factors and other challenges that are likely to be encountered.

As a guide to principals and teachers-in-charge, a minimum of two (2) teachers should accompany the activity with the supervising ratio not to exceed 1:10.

A "group management plan" that considers how the group will ride needs to be decided prior to commencing the activity. This plan needs to consider

  • The age, experience, ability and level of difficulty of the route.
  • Positioning of supervising staff.
  • Communication between lead and rear riders.
  • Predetermined rest stops.
  • Response to repair needs during the program.
  • An emergency response strategy and a communication procedure for external assistance if required.

The teacher/instructor must hold appropriate first aid qualifications for the activity. All teachers must have recognised current training in emergency care.

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Only mountain bicycles manufactured for off-road riding should be used. A pre-activity safety inspection must be conducted prior to use. This check must include brakes, tyres, gears, chains, handlebars and seats.

Bicycles that fail a mechanical inspection must not be used until such time as the repairs or adjustments have been made.

All participants should carry a basic tool kit containing spanners/allen keys to suit their particular bicycle, a puncture repair kit, a spare inner tube and pump. Bicycle maintenance equipment should also be carried by the instructor/teacher-in-charge. Students should wear clothing that is brightly coloured and close fitting, suit the weather conditions and strike a balance between ventilation and protection.

Closed footwear must be worn.

All participants must wear a helmet designed and manufactured for mountain bike activities that carries the Australian Standard for pedal cycle helmets (AS/NZ2063). The teacher-in-charge should check to ensure that the chin strap of each student’s helmet is securely fastened. Caps, hats etc are not permitted to be worn under the helmet.

Additional safety equipment may include: gloves, knee/elbow pads and eye protection where appropriate.

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The teacher-in-charge must have current knowledge of the area to be used and be certain of its suitability for the program and the group.

When selecting the venue and planning the programs, the teacher-in-charge will seek to minimise the group's impact on the environment.

Mountain biking terrain can vary widely. Rides can be conducted in open mountainous, undulating or flat areas that have formed trails, vehicular roads and fire trails. Rides can often be conducted over a short circuit in open spaces in urban or semi urban areas. Off-road trails specifically planned as walking or equestrian trails are not be used.

Locations may be selected from local National Parks, state forests, state recreation areas, Crown lands and private property. In all cases, the appropriate prior permission must be obtained. Check with the local National Parks and Wildlife Service office and other local authorities about current restrictions, fire bans. etc

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The teacher-in-charge must involve students in an appropriate safety education program prior to the commencement of the program.

Bicycle safety checks must occur before the program commences and at the beginning of each lesson. Supervisors and students must be familiar with the course prior to cycling it. Speed should be closely monitored on steep downhill grades. Possible difficult areas and solutions for handling these should be discussed prior to cycling the course.

Students should carry; a water bottle in a bike carrier or camel back style backpack; whistle; insect repellent; sunscreen; a plastic bag for rubbish and a personal first aid kit.

A first aid kit suitable for the activity must be readily available.

A medical "alert list" collated from information on the medical consent forms must be prepared by the teacher-in-charge prior to the activity being conducted. All supervising staff must be provided with a copy of this alert list.

It is incumbent on the teacher-in-charge to check the weather forecast to determine that conditions are acceptable for the duration of the activity and to comply with any regulations involving fire bans. Judgements regarding the conducting of the ride should be made accordingly.

For cycling on public roads, students must be instructed in basic road rules, road safety, and formation riding.

The group leader must carry a card detailing procedures to follow in emergencies and contact numbers. All participants should know how to put these procedures into practice.

Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g an SPF50+ broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen that should reapplied regularly.

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