- “A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform.”
Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, e.g., "Who's really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks). Often, a team may figure out the specific task by observing their surroundings, using common sense, or even seeing other teams already performing the Roadblock task. They then must decide which team member would be best suited to complete it. Once a choice has been made, the teammates cannot switch roles. If a team chooses to forfeit a Roadblock, they will incur a 4-hour penalty by default (unless otherwise stated). For the first three seasons of the race, Roadblocks came after a Detour in every leg.
A Roadblock is featured (although, in some episodes, not aired) in every leg except the first one. In Season 1, even the first leg had a Roadblock, but it was not originally aired; it was, however, included as an extra in the DVD release.(released in 2005) Season 10 became the first season to have and air a Roadblock on Leg 1, followed by the second season of the Latin American version (that didn't air the second leg's roadblock). Season 25 was the first US season in which a Roadblock has not appeared in two consecutive legs (Leg 2 and 3) since the Israeli Season 2 had no Roadblock on 3 consecutive legs (Leg 11 - Leg 13).
Unless the clue indicates otherwise, the other teammate(s) cannot assist in the task though they may verbally offer advice and encouragement, usually standing in a designated area off to the side. In a select few Roadblocks, the team member that did not opt to do it may be required to participate; for example, in Season 1, one Roadblock required the selected team member to ride a camel, while the other team member was forced to walk along aside it to the next clue box. A similar arrangement occurred in the final Roadblock in Season 10, where while the selected member skydived out of a plane, the other member was treated to a "surprise" nosedive of the plane itself after the start of the skydive. Season 20's first roadblock was similar, in that the non-participating team member had to skydive out of a plane, while the participating teammate had to use a map to find the landing zone of their partner and reunite with them to receive their next clue (but in The Amazing Race: All-Stars, it was the final challenge). The participating team members from other teams are able to help each other, however, unless otherwise indicated by the clue.
The "Six-Roadblock Rule"
Beginning in Season 6, each team member may complete a maximum of only six Roadblocks throughout the entire race. Since there are normally twelve Roadblocks in the Race, this rule forces each team to split the Roadblocks equally between the two members (unless a team uses a Fast Forward to skip one Roadblock, in which case the split can be 6-5). Many speculate that this rule was enacted because the male member in male-female teams would dominate and perform the majority of the tasks, especially in Season 5 where the final three teams were all male-female Roadblocks with the roadblock records of 11-1 or 10-1. While this Roadblock rule has not been specifically mentioned in some later seasons, team behavior and statements (such as Eric in Season 11) imply that it still applies.
The six-Roadblock limit was dropped for only Season 8 due to the teams being four-person families. Additionally, that season's four-member-team format required some Roadblocks to be completed by two people.
Season 10 had 13 Roadblocks; therefore, the maximum for each team member was increased to seven.
The first ever back to back Roadblocks was introduced in Season 16 Leg 10 where the team member that had not performed the first Roadblock must perform the second Roadblock.
Start from Seasons 18, the ability to split Roadblocks 7-5 was removed as it was modified to that team members could not complete more than five (11-12 overall) or six (13-14 overall) Roadblocks prior to the final leg. This rule remained in place through until season 23.
Seasons 19, 21, 22, and 23 had thirteen or fourteen Roadblocks, with a maximum of seven for each member.
In Season 24, the Roadblock limit rule has changed such that individual racers were limited to performing a maximum of 6 Roadblocks by the end of Leg 10, with the Leg 11 Roadblock not counting against the limit and the Leg 12 Roadblocks being forcibly split. This led to the Season 24 winning team Dave & Connor splitting their Roadblocks 5-8.
In Season 29, each team member could only do a maximum of 4 Roadblocks by the end of Leg 9, leading to a Roadblock split of 4-4, unless a team completed a Fast Forward. In that case, they have a Roadblock split of 4-3.
Season 30 had the fewest Roadblocks in an American season, with a total of 9. The exact rule is unknown, but Cody & Jessica split their Roadblocks 6-3, with Cody doing the last three Roadblocks of the season.
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