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Triathlon/Duathlon: 11 USAT Commonly Violated Rules & Penalties

11 USAT Most Commonly Violated Rules & Penalties in Duathlon & Triathlon Races

1. Helmets:

Only helmets approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may be used in USAT sanctioned events. Helmets must be worn and securely fastened at all times while in possession of your bike. This means before, during, and after the event.

Penalty: Disqualification

2. Chin Straps:

Chin straps must be fastened at all times while in possession of your bike. This means from the time you remove your bike from the rack at the start of the bike leg, until after you have placed your bike on the rack at the finish of the bike leg.

Penalty: Disqualification on the course; time penalty in transition area only.

3. Unauthorized Assistance:

No assistance other than that offered by race staff (including volunteers), medical officials and active participants may be used. Triathlons and duathlons are individual tests of fitness.

Penalty: Time penalty

Participants competing in the same event may assist each other with incidental items such as, but not restricted to, food and drinks after an aid station, pumps, tubular tires, inner tubes and puncture repair kits; Participants may not provide any item of equipment to another participant competing in the same event which results in the donor participant being unable to continue with their own competition. This includes but is not restricted to complete bicycle, frame, wheels and helmet. A participant shall not physically assist the forward progress of another participant on any part of the course

Penalty: Disqualification of both participants

4. Transition Area:

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.

Penalty: Time penalty

No person shall interfere with another participant’s equipment or impede the progress of another participant.

Penalty: Time penalty or disqualification

All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area.

Penalty: Disqualification

5. Bike Position Rules:

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 complete your 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 make rearward progress out of the draft zone of the passing cyclist and move completely out of the draft zone within 15 seconds.

Penalty: Time penalty

Revised 6/1/2020

6. Course:

All competitors are required to follow the prescribed course, complete the course in its entirety, and 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 for ANY reason. Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times.

Penalty: Officials discretion (judgement call), time penalty or disqualification

7. Unsportsmanlike Conduct:

Verbal or physical abuse of others is not acceptable or tolerated. Participants shall refrain from unsportsmanlike conduct at all times while at the event and during competition, including the use of abusive language; violent acts; intentional misconduct; or any intimidating behavior directed toward, including but not limited to participants, officials, event staff, volunteers and spectators.

Penalty: Disqualification

8. Headphones and Phones:

Headphones, headset, radio, or personal audio device may not be carried or worn during competition.

Penalty: Time penalty

Participants may carry a phone (such as mounted on bike handlebars or in an armband), but may not use communication devices of any type, including but not limited to cell phones, smartwatches, and two-way radios, in any distractive manner during the competition. A “distractive manner” includes but is not limited to making or receiving phone calls, sending or receiving text messages, playing music, using social media, taking photographs or using in a one- or two-way radio communication. Using any communication device in this manner during the competition will result in disqualification.

9. Race numbers:

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.

Penalty: Time penalty for missing or altered number, Disqualification and a one-year suspension from membership in USAT for transferring a number without race director permission.

10. Wetsuits:

Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wet suit in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon, governed by the following table:

Age Group Athletes (all swim lengths): Below 60.8°F 60.9°F – 78°F 78.1°F – 83.9°F 84°F or Above

Mandatory* Permitted Permitted Participatory only, ineligible for awards/rankings Forbidden

*when wet suits are mandatory, the wet suit must cover at least the torso and back

Penalty: Disqualification

11. Abandonment:

No participant shall dispose of trash or discard any equipment or personal gear on or around the racecourse, except at clearly identified disposal points, such as aid stations.

Penalty: Time penalty

*Reprinted By Popular Demand From Membership Rules Book*
For a complete list of rules, please refer to the most up to date USA Triathlon Competitive Rules at:


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