Author Topic: Group Riding - Rideout Etiquette  (Read 15915 times)

Offline SuperDude

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Group Riding - Rideout Etiquette
« on: 27 April, 2008, 12:37:13 »
Group Riding - Rideout Etiquette

First things first.
Everyone taking part in a group riding / rideout should ensure that their machine is legal and roadworthy.  Breakdown recovery is the riders responsibility but help is always at hand when riding in a group as nobody is left behind!
Special consideration should be given to riding clothing regarding the law, safety and yes, weather conditions. Some rideouts may well start dry and sunny but may finish at night in the pouring rain.
So do not forget waterproofs and using a road legal tinted visor.

The IAM is a road safety organisation and it is its policy that all members and potential members should comply with the law and the Highway Code and should ride with the highest level of safety possible at all times.

The IAM advises:

    * When motorcyclists are riding in a group, each rider should maintain a proper safety gap between himself/herself and all other riders in the group.
    * Safety must never be sacrificed for any reason, including progress
    * When motorcyclists are riding in a group, each rider must make an individual decision about overtaking, basing the decision on the safety of all persons involved or likely to become involved in the overtaking maneuver.

I am aware of various riding systems being used by groups in their social rides.
The main purpose of these riding systems is to

*** Keep the ride safe and enjoyable and at the same time allow some scope for individual riding preferences

But remember that no riding system is perfect and infallible.

The Marker System
It is used for all sizes of riding groups and it is the more commonly used riding system.

The riders fall into three categories:

The Leader
Only one of these and this is the rider that leads the ride, always best if s/he is the person who planned the ride and/or knows the area best as s/he should have a good idea of where they are going.
Key points: Familiar with the route, and follows it. S/He should carry a mobile phone in case of problems on route. S/He should point out to the first person behind him where to sit to be best positioned to mark each junction (see the Marker below).
Tailender a.k.a. The Back Marker
Only one of these and s/he is the last rider at all times, note: at all times!
Ideally familiar with the route also, but does not have to be. S/He will stay at the back for the entire ride and will be pointed out at the beginning of the ride. S/He may wear a high viz vest to make them obvious. The Tailender is exactly that, everyone else stays in front of them ensuring there is no confusion as to who is the rear bike.
S/He should also carry a mobile phone with the leader's number at a minimum in case of problems on route.
If anyone drops out of the group the Tailender should stop with them and find out what is going on.
The Markers / Riders
These are all the other riders in the ride. These ride between the Leader and the Tailender and their position within the ride changes as the ride progresses.
The Leader assigns the rider immediately following him or her to mark the direction the Leader is taking where there is a need to mark a direction change.
Please note that when you find yourself behind the Leader you need to be alert as s/he will point where you need to mark when the ride changes direction. When you get the indication from the Leader to mark, you watch which way the Leader is going and then look for a safe place to pull over and stop where the riders following you will be able to see you as they approach you. As each following rider comes into sight you clearly indicate the direction the Leader has taken. When you see the Tailender coming up behind you, s/he will slow down to allow you to rejoin the ride in front of him or her. After this maneuver position in the ride will change to last before the Tailender.

When directed to mark:
* Make sure you stop where it is safe and legal to do so.
For example, for a roundabout where following riders should easily see you on the exit from the roundabout, it's usually safer to stop and mark on the exit and not the entry. Wherever you stop, make sure other road users can see you in plenty of time and that it is easy for them to get by you.
* Make sure you stop where following riders can see you as they approach you.
For example, if the Leader has turned left at a junction and directed you to mark the junction you will need to consider whether you should stop just before the turn or just after the turn. Following riders may not see you if you stop just after the turn when you are obscured by a high hedge or some other obstruction and they may keep going without making the turn.
* Use your own common sense and judgment to work out a safe and visible spot to stop and mark.
* There may be other vehicles around when you rejoin the ride in front of the Tailender. The Tailender will wait and stop if necessary until it is safe for you to pull away.
If it feels like you have waited ages, wait some more. If they still have not arrived then contact the Leader as s/he may have heard from them. Once the Tailender has arrived, the junction marker can then work their way carefully back towards the front. Overtaking is allowed but please be safe and courteous.

Note:It is not unusual for a rider not to be able to see the rider in front of him or her.
The strength of this system is that you do not need to keep the rider in front in sight.
There should always be a Marker ahead to show you the way so do not feel you need to keep up with someone who wants to go faster than you are happy to.
This system allows for riders to progress at differing speeds.
Also, there will be a Marker waiting for you at the next junction. There will be regular stops for a breather. Notice that if the Leaders helmet is still on he is not planning on stopping.

Side points:
* There is no need to mark all junctions so if you come to a junction with no marker go straight across it.
* As a Marker apart from when you are behind the Leader you will follow the same rider throughout the ride.
* You should make sure that before you start that you know the eventual destination just in case it all goes wrong.
* As a Marker do not abandon your mark. Remember that not everybody is making the same progress and there should always be a Marker waiting to show you the way.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning to leave the ride before it gets to its destination let the Leader and Tailender know where you intend to leave the ride before the ride sets off. 

Most Importantly:
Never ever ride above your ability and limits to try and keep up.
Do not get pushed along by a faster bike behind you. Move over and let them through, ideally by signaling with your right hand. Slower riders you may be holding up a faster rider, so move over and let them past.
If you are the faster bike, do not make silly maneuver to get past and certainly never ever on the left. Wait till they let you through or find a safe place to get past. Make sure you leave plenty of room when passing and only go for a safe clean pass.
It does not matter how fast or slow you ride just go at your own pace.
Its not a race and you will not get left behind.

If everyone follows these simple rules and guidelines we can all enjoy a cracking ride.

« Last Edit: 27 April, 2008, 14:28:39 by Goshdarnit »
"...Be Safe, Be Free and Ride Like the Wind..."

Offline Goshdarnit

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Re: Group Riding - Rideout Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: 27 April, 2008, 14:30:33 »
Excellent post, which many will find useful. This has been stickied, and locked to prevent it from becoming a long, rambling thread. If you wish to discuss the contents of this post, please start a new thread. If you are going on a group ride, make good use of these, ride safe, and enjoy!