Safety Information

Group Riding (May 2008 newsletter)

by Ted and Joyce Strutz

By golly, riding season is finally upon us and we can now look forward to some group rides. Now it is time to refresh ourselves on the fundamentals of group riding. I know we all remember the basics, but it is easy to forget some of the finer points over the winter. I am not going to try to write a book here, but I will try to hit all the pertinent high points.

The first thing to remember is to show up for the ride with a full tank, both you and the bike, and make sure you have checked out the bike beforehand. In other words, come prepared! The ride leader should also show up properly prepared. He should have copies of either a map or written directions for all participants. He should also be prepared to set up however many groups it takes to keep a safe number of bikes per group. A good rule of thumb is no more than seven bikes per group. Each group needs a ride leader and a drag bike.

The ride leader rides point and the drag bike is actually the one in charge of the group. If you have more than one group they should be separated by no less than 200 yards. Preferably, 400 yards would be much better.

Each group should travel in a staggered formation within a car lane. The ride leader rides point in the left tire track. The next bike should be one second back and in the right tire track; this formation creates a 2 second stagger between the bike directly in front of you and you. In darkness or bad weather this stagger should be opened up to double the following distance. If the roadway or conditions exist that determine the group should be in single file, the ride leader will signal as such. When conditions permit, he can signal to go back to the staggered formation.

When forming the group, bikes with trailers and trikes should be placed in front of the drag bike when possible. Bikes without a CB should be placed in the middle of the group. If anyone in the group has bike trouble the drag bike should also stop and stay with the bike in trouble and also communicate with the ride leader what is happening. There should also be an emergency plan in place in case of an accident.

This provides a synopsis of some of the most important points of group riding. There is more information that can be had and if anyone wishes, I will be very happy to provide copies of the group riding manual.