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Group Riding Rules

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During the organization phase of our last group ride, one of the members asked a great question. Do we have any posted group riding rules? After searching a bit, I found short discussions here and there, but nothing extensive posted here on VFRD, other than Nick Ienatsch's excellent post on "The Pace". My proposal is that the wisdom of the board regarding group riding be collected, pruned by the mods if necessary, and made into a sticky. This is not a post about riding technique, but rather common sense rules about group riding.

I have personally been on less than 10 groups rides with 10 riders or more, but have found the experience to be rich and satisfying. The group dynamic adds something intangible that riding solo can't produce. However, I think we all realize that if simple rules aren't laid down and adhered to, disaster could strike.

What I think would be really helpful is a list. A list that could be accessed, downloaded, printed, whatever. Perhaps after everyone has chimed in, someone could collect, categorize, and organize all these thoughts and produce a single VFRD Group Riding Rules post, or a .pdf for everyone to utilize. Thinking through some of these issues before riding in a group could save someone's life.

There are some seasoned, experienced riders on this board. Let's hear from all of you and see what we can come up with.

~Chris

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Maybe I'm a little biased but I think VFRD is the perfect group to produce such a thing. I think we have a serious amount of collective experience in the riding safe and still having fun department.

My contribution to the list of rules would be:

1. Don't do anything stupid.

:goofy:

J/K

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Guest SilverRocket

I think it is a good idea. I have done several group rides and the one thing I have learned is "ride your own ride". I believe this is the single most important rule. Also, it wouldn't hurt to attach a list or link to common hand signals.

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Here are the basic ruels we use for most VFRD meets/rides, these are get togethers where unknown riders are riding for the first time and skill levels are unknown. These also apply to known riders, but if you know everyone in the group and their skills it can be eased a little.

Here's the thread it came from also:

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=32096

1. Read and use "The PACE". This is the type of riding we expect at the Tmac. Hanging off is OK(mostly faster groups).

The pace is posted here

2. Every rider should start with a FULL Tank of Gas. Fill up prior to showing up to the Ride Meeting/ breakfast Friday & Saturday mornings! Not gas up afterward its best to gas up at the end of the day then you dont have to worry about it in the morning!

3. Top off your fuel at every fuel stop No matter if it's only a gallon or two everyone! Stops are based on the group needs and distance between fuel stops, having to make an extra stop because some clown doesn't follow the guidelines is a very Bad thing.

4. Never pull off/ turn around/leave your group without telling someone. Signal somebody in your group what you are doing and why! Each group should never loose a member for any reason, communicate your needs and make sure your entire group stays together.

5. Do Not tail-gate other riders, there are thousands of blind turns in this area and the last thing we need is to have a rider make a great panic stop to avoid something only to be run over by the rider behind him! Leave a safe margin, but do not lag to far behind either.

6. When passing a car try not to piss them off or scare them , there are many of our friends also needing to pass this cage. Please try to respect everyone else out on the road, our sport depends on it. There will always be the one crazy cage driver, be careful and get around/away from them as quickly as possible.

7. Passing: Do NOT go just because the rider in front of you goes!!! size up every pass yourself for how much open road you can see, how much time you have, how much distance is availible to pass, do it safely and quickly. Dont make a pass that would be considered "close"!!! Passing cages will most likely be the most dangerous part of our event, please be cautious. It is not a race to pass cagers!

8. Pegs up at 9:00 am both days, please be fueled up, fed and be there early enough to get assigned to a ride group before 9am.

9. Never cross the centerline except to pass. If you have to cross/cut corners to maintain your pace, you are going faster than your skill level. If you can't stay in your lane your riding over your head! SLOW Down!!! Staying right of the line adds a significant challenge to most roads and is mandatory for sport riding's future. Don't crowd the centerline Always expect an oncoming car with two wheels in your lane.

Maybe more to come. :goofy:

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^ Those are excellent rules. I only have 3 basic ones when riding on straight or multi lane roads with a group:

1. Always ride staggered. (this is obviously single file when on back roads)

2. Know your hand signals and let riders behind you know what you are doing. This also pointing out obstacles/road debris, slowing down, stopping, turn up ahead, etc.

3. NEVER pass in the same lane as another rider.

I'm sure I could add a bunch more. But to me these are the main three.

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Guest Pete McCrary

One I would like to add is to never pass from behind when coming up on slower traffic. In other words, you don't pass until the bike in front of you has passed.

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Most all of these rules work well, and are used most all the time whether it's a VFRD organized ride or a local area VFRD buddy ride. Good organized standard set of rules to use even for your local area group rides.

If you get used to using these on your locally lead rides, then attending VFRD Rides will be a lot simpler for you and your friends if you attend one in the future.............. :goofy:

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^ Those are excellent rules. I only have 3 basic ones when riding on straight or multi lane roads with a group:

1. Always ride staggered. (this is obviously single file when on back roads)

I always try to ride staggered from the bike in front of me. even if it is just slightly off to the other side of the center line(oil line) on all roads even when single file

2. Know your hand signals and let riders behind you know what you are doing. This also pointing out obstacles/road debris, slowing down, stopping, turn up ahead, etc.

I Have seen riders do this Mid curve and cross left of center from being off balance. Never expect the rider ahead to signal everytime he sees gravel. Always try to look thru the rider in front for road obstacles

3. NEVER pass in the same lane as another rider.

I'm sure I could add a bunch more. But to me these are the main three.

+1 but i do 1 or 2 things a little different here.. Be it right or wrong to me its safer

see edits above..

Sorry just thought i needed to add those as some may think it's a little obvious but the goal is to return home safe every time..

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Here's a tri-fold my group came up with back in 2004. We need to revisit it once in a while, I think.

Print it in landscape mode, fitting it all on 1 page. It will fold up nicely in a tank bag.

SST_Riding_Guidelines_2004.jpg

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Guest The

Stay alert and attentive to your environment.

Ride your own ride and within your skill level, never beyond your abilities.

Ride with a margin of safety to deal with unexpected obstacles and events, particularly on unfamiliar roads and at night.

Amen to that.

The

Edited by The

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I feel the need to share experiences and post some additional guidelines that should be followed.

BAILEYROCKS posts:

Never pull off/ turn around/leave your group without telling someone. Signal somebody in your group what you are doing and why! Each group should never lose a member for any reason, communicate your needs and make sure your entire group stays together.

Two weeks ago I went for a ride with total of 7 bikes up a local mountain/canyon road. I led knowing the road best, and everyone behind fell in according to comfort/ability level. Myself and #2 took off at a brisk but manageable pace up the mountain, me comfortable with #3 to lead the remaining riders. As me and #2 get to the first stop sign (ie. checkpoint) we waited patiently for the others to catch up. #3-4 show up a few minutes later. That's it. We wait no more than 5 minutes from initial stop and decide to retrace our tracks to find #5-7. We find #5-6 at the 2nd turn back, #5 had cooked his front brakes and mentioned he lost them and was headed home. Fine, where is #7? So now there are 5 bikes slowly cruising down the mountain looking for him, when we reach the bottom with no luck, my heart sank. This is bad. #2 has time constraints and takes off, kinda bummed he couldn't stay to help. So now 4 bikes are going uphill on the shoulder with hazards flashing and stopping at each and every corner to check for our lost rider. 45 minutes go by, one of us gives me his cell phone # and heads off to the Park Ranger Station to report a missing rider. I try calling the missing rider but mountain area, no signal. the remaining 3 bikes are now walking on the shoulder looking down into ravines, and peeking over cliffsides thinking the worst. it's been over an hour since anyone last saw #7 and not looking good. Then my cell phone rang. "Hey guys, I'm over at the lunch spot saving you all a table..." NEVER, EVER LEAVE THE GROUP WITHOUT TELLING SOMEONE. IF THE GROUP IS FASTER THAN YOU, CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE ASSIGNED ROUTE (AT YOUR OWN PACE), THEY WILL WAIT FOR YOU... I was able to call my other buddy before he was able to report the missing biker to the Ranger Station.

That was last Sunday. Flash forward to today, Saturday 8/9/08. I'm doing the exact route as last week, only with a very close friend and two of the riders from last week (#7 not included). Representing today is my '07VFR, an Aprilia RSV1000M, and two CBR1000RR's. After a quick meetup and discussion, we take off. I'm lead again, more traffic than normal so we are basically just cruising. NEVER CROSS THE SOLID YELLOW LINE. Get up to the top, and head down the front side on a four-lane curvy highway. I change lead for the third spot, Aprilia and CBR take over in front, not too aggressive on the straights, but maintaining a quick pace through the turns. No problem, we're all having plenty of fun, leaning hard into tight turns maintaining a speed limit +5/10, nothing to cause unwanted attention. We're all in formation until the 3rd to the last turn... I'm leaned over on a left-hand sweeper, constant throttle, maybe 65ish. The guys in front are about the same, maybe a hair-trigger faster. WHAMMO! OPPOSITE LANE PARKED 200 YARDS AHEAD ON THE SHOULDER. BLACK AND WHITE. Ok, no big deal, I'm not speeding, neither are the two in fro......... #4 must have gotten a bee in his helmet because OUT OF NOWHERE, A RED AND BLACK BLUR PASSES ME ON THE RIGHT... Fasted prayer in history, "Please don't be one of us..." FLASHING LIGHTS, LEO PULLS OUT IN FRONT OF THE LEAD BIKE. We follow him for almost a half mile before he finds a place to pull off and motion to the four of us to pull over. Ticket book comes flying out of the car. We all present the typical literature, LICENSE, REGISTRATION, PROOF OF INSURANCE. Then he proceeds to drill me, "how fast were you going?" "in between 60 and 65 sir." "Don't you mean more like 94?" "No sir, I maintained 65 for the..." "What spot were you riding in? Third?" "Yes I was sir." He walks ahead to the other guys drills them and writes #4 a ticket for 94 in a 55. Not good. Which, long story kinda short, leads me to my next suggested guideline...

TRAV72 states:

NEVER pass in the same lane as another rider.

If you're not happy with your group riding position then communicate that at your NEXT STOP/CHECKPOINT. Don't take it upon yourself to rearrange the order mid-ride unless motioned to by the appropriate rider (to move up or move back). Don't ride 200 yards behind someone then redline in 3rd to pass them on the right mid-corner... You NEVER know what (or who) is lurking around the next turn...

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on a side note, the two rides mentioned above were NOT VFRD exclusive rides. I've had three VFRD exclusive rides with NO problems (other than michaelf3 leaning over so far he broke his left side mirror (side joke, not really)). I'm pretty much figuring on only doing rides with VFRD folks, (and my Aprilia buddy) since riding with bigger/quicker bikes only seems to lead to unwanted attention and BAD LUCK!!

go figure...

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on a side note, the two rides mentioned above were NOT VFRD exclusive rides. I've had three VFRD exclusive rides with NO problems (other than michaelf3 leaning over so far he broke his left side mirror (side joke, not really)). I'm pretty much figuring on only doing rides with VFRD folks, (and my Aprilia buddy) since riding with bigger/quicker bikes only seems to lead to unwanted attention and BAD LUCK!!

go figure...

I hope you n your other Buddies had a talk with him agter the cop was Done....

Never pass in a corner.. Or atleast I dont..

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Make sure everyone in the group knows it's a group and has agreed to ride in a group.

Just because you all know each other, and you're all camping at the same spot, does not mean you're riding as a group. If someone at the campsite says that they don't want to ride with a group, listen to them! Don't follow them, crowd them, refuse to pass them, and then panic and start imagining that they're dead in a ditch when they find a way to escape the group.

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MSF pdf file on group riding. MSF : GROUP RIDING

MSF VIDEO ON GROUP RIDING ( WATCH )

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Maybe I'm selfesh but I like to go moderately fast on certain parts of the ride, and since I don't know any of the new riders I tend to position myself at the back. Then I see who the faster riders are and enjoy following them for a while. I don't want to offend the slower rider, so how do I go about passing to ride with the quicker group of riders? If I don't pass in a turn then everyone accelerates in the straights making it equally unsafe. I think there should be a group leader signal toward the beginning of the ride to allow the group to re-order themselves.

I totally beleive evey rider should establish a pace they are most comfortable with and never push themselves or let the abilities of faster riders prod them to try and go faster. That's why I'm in favor of two groups.

Is there a signal that ask for permission to pass? I don't like the feeling that I am pushing anybody and would rather move to a group of riders closer to my speed. I'm not that fast but like to ride a good pace.

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I don't want to offend the slower rider, so how do I go about passing to ride with the quicker group of riders?

I totally beleive evey rider should establish a pace they are most comfortable with and never push themselves or let the abilities of faster riders prod them to try and go faster. That's why I'm in favor of two groups.

Is there a signal that ask for permission to pass?

good questions Bob, and yes, they have come up before. It's hard to organize a ride order especially when there are riders the leader is not familiar with. After a few rides the pack seems to be able to determine for themselves the most 'efficient' pecking order. For example, I know that when I go on a ride, than JTG will most likely be right behind me and that MICHAELF3 is usually towards the rear. But this has taken four group rides to determine.

As far as "during ride" position changes, I think it's hard to do safely without cooperation from the riders either in front or behind. If you want to ride in front of the guy in front of you, maybe a polite horn with an extended index finger pointing towards the front might work. And if you want to move back, a simple left hand forward wave can tell the guy behind you to move up... I don't know. Maybe some others on here might have some suggestions. I think alot of the order NEEDS to be established prior to start just to avoid any shifting during a time when all should be focused on the road at hand.

As far as our recent so cal VFRD rides Bob, don't worry, we usually have people fighting for the back of the line...

Regarding two groups, ABSOLUTELY! I'm a strong believer in that. Just as long as the leader of the second group doesn't try and catch the backmarker of the first group then both groups have a great time!

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I too have wondered this myself... If I know im slower than another I will Hug the right side andwave them by on a strait... Another time I just quietly Sneaked up thru the pack using stop lights and extra lanes till I got in behind the few that were faster... Seemed to be a bit of a gap right in the middle of the group.. So that was where i stayed the rest of the ride.. Not sure if it was right or wrong.. The Gap between consisted most of the day between me n the 5 riders behind me as I stayed with the faster riders....

So i guess if there isnt a designated signal then patience on the side of safety...

Note.. Most of the group was not riding in formation either which made it easier and was mentioned later that day by several in the group.. 11 riders total..

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Most of the group was not riding in formation either which made it easier and was mentioned later that day by several in the group.. 11 riders total..

YIKES! Maybe it's just me being a military brat but organization on group rides seems to be the safest approach for everyone. Now in your case it would make it a whole lot easier to move forward or back if the ride isn't in formation, but overall I think it's safest to be in staggered formation when riding in a group. (unless single file for the twistys :goofy: ). It comes down to trust and experience, the more you ride with a particular group, the better able everyone will be at determining their place. Maybe move up from last ride, or move to the back...

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Formation? I don't mind that on a straight boring stretch, like PCH. :goofy:

But in the twisty bits, sometimes overtaking moves are needed.

I always do it safe, quick, and on the left.

I someone faster appears in my mirrors, I'll stay in the right track and wave them by in an easy passing spot.

But, I'm not following a bunch of Hardleys roaring along at half speed. :biggrin:

I let them know I'm there, and pass on the left. Quick, but no :blush:

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During the organization phase of our last group ride, one of the members asked a great question. Do we have any posted group riding rules?

They could have asked a better question.

If you like rules so much, why do you ride a motorcycle?

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If anyone wants to check these pages out feel free. I occaisionally ride with a group called New England Riders (and a sort of shoot off group New England Sport Touring) and they have a guide posted that seems to work extremely well.

http://www.newenglan...up%20Riding.htm

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