Sunday, September 18, 2011

‎2.1.5 There will be a ten (10) foot clearance around the outside of the track for safety. If there is a rail, wall, or barrier between the track and the crowd that completely prevents contact between spectators and contestants, a five (5) foot clearance is permissible. Referees may skate in this area, and/or the infield of the track. The clearance cannot be less than five (5) feet.

Today's rule gives the size of the outside ref lane, as it is commonly called. Normally it is at least 10 feet in width. In a previous rule set this rule was changed to allow for a 5 foot width, however there must be a barrier that completely prevents contact between contestants and spectators. Such a barrier would be hockey boards, a wall, high enough fencing (although the type of fencing could pose a safety issue), or other types. There is no specific regulation for this barrier other than preventing contact between spectators and fans. The idea is that 10 feet allows enough of a safety clearance for skaters to not run over spectators or, for the most part, land on top of them. Halving the safety clearance to 5 feet poses a safety risk to fans sitting trackside, thus a safety barrier is required. The outside ref lane / safety clearance may not be less than 5 feet.