Recent events have called into question the use of the blue flag and the expected response of riders to whom the blue flag is displayed. In order to clear up any confusion, AMA Pro Racing makes the following statement:
AMA Pro Road Racing competitors are professionals and are expected to be familiar with the rules and regulations found in the 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing rule book. The first page of the rule book states the following:
“The intent of a specific rule will override a competitor’s interpretation of a rule. The intent of a rule will be determined by AMA Pro Racing.”
The overtaking of a slower rider by a faster rider where there is no position change is a situation that must be approached from a safety standpoint, and the intent of the rule regarding the use of the blue flag is to make a potentially dangerous situation less so. Section 7.14a.vii dictates the usage of and expected response to blue flags:
vii. Blue Flag: Indicates to a rider that they are about to be overtaken. Riders are advised to keep their line and allow the faster rider to pass. Riders disregarding this flag may be black-flagged at the discretion of AMA Pro Racing.
The safety of riders is of paramount importance, and each part of the rule deals with a specific aspect of protecting both the slower and faster rider. By advising that riders keep their line, they are being asked to stay in a controlled trajectory and not make erratic changes in their course, allowing the faster rider to predict the course of travel and avoid contact with the rider being passed. The second part of the sentence says that they are to allow the faster rider to pass, intended to further diminish the threat of contact between riders.