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USAT Rules

These are most commonly violated rules.


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  1. Helmets - Penalty: Disqualification
    Only helmets approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may be used in USAT sanctioned events. Helmets must be worn at all times while on your bike. This means before, during, and after the event.

  2. Chin Straps - Penalty: Disqualification on the course; time penalty in transition area only. Chin straps must be fastened at all times when on a bicycle. DO NOT unbuckle your chin strap unless you are off your bicycle.

  3. Unauthorized Assistance - Penalty: Time penalty
    No assistance other than that offered by race and medical officials may be used. Triathlons and duathlons are individual tests of fitness.

  4. Transition Area - Penalty: Time penalty or disqualification
    All equipment must be placed in the properly designated and individually assigned bike corral. The wheel of the bicycle must be down on the side of the assigned space. All participants must return their bicycles to an upright position in their designated bicycle corral. No person shall interfere with another participant’s equipment or impede the progress of another participant. All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area.

  5. Drafting - Penalty: Time penalty (Revised 2/24/19)
    Drafting--keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds.
    Position--keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing.
    Illegal Pass-- cyclists must pass on the left, not on the right.
    Blocking--riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and impeding other cyclists attempting to pass.
    Overtaken--once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear, before attempting to pass again.

  6. Course - Penalty: Referee's discretion, time penalty or disqualification
    All competitors are required to follow the prescribed course and to stay within all coned lanes. Cutting the course is an obvious violation and going outside the course is a safety issue. Cyclists shall not cross a solid yellow center line. Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times.

  7. Unsportsmanlike-Like Conduct - Penalty: Disqualification
    Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, USATriathlon officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden.

  8. Headphones and phones - Penalty: Time penalty for carrying or wearing headphones, headsets, ear buds, or any personal audio devices
    Disqualification for using a phone in a distractive manner: Headphones, headsets, ear buds, walkmans, ipods, mp3 players, or personal audio devices, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race. Phones may be carried but may not be used in a distractive manner while on the course. A “distractive manner” includes but is not limited to making or receiving phone calls, sending or receiving text messages and using social media. A participant may only use the phone when dismounted, off course, and not making forward progress.

  9. Race numbers - Penalty: Time penalty for missing or altered number, Disqualification and one year suspension from membership in USAT for transferring a number without race director permission. All athletes are required to wear race numbers at all times during the run. Numbers must be clearly visible at all times. Numbers may not be altered in any way that prevents a clear identification. DO NOT transfer your number to any other athlete or take a number from an athlete that is not competing.

  10. Wetsuits: Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion, provided, however that participants who wears a wetsuit within such temperature range shall notbe eligible for prizes or awards. Above 84 degrees, wetsuits are prohibited.

  11. Abandonment - Penalty: Time penalty
    All personal equipment and belongings taken out onto the course must stay on the athlete the entire time. No garbage, clothing, etc. shall be thrown on the course.


Variable Time Penalties

Distance Category 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Sprint 2:00 minute 4:00 minutes Disqualification
Intermediate 2:00 minutes 4:00 minutes Disqualification

Long 4:00 minutes 8:00 minutes Disqualification

Ultra 6:00 minutes 12:00 minutes Disqualification

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