Riding With The Pack
Road Riding Rules
The following is an adaptation of an article that ran in Thunder Press some time ago. The author was a rider of one of those "other" bikes. Some of his terms have been changed to be more recognizable. The main message remains: Group riding can be a blast if every rider rides smart.
- Arrive at the departure site fueled, fed, and ready to ride.
- Be early, there will be a riders meeting 10 minutes before departure time.
- If a map is provided, study it, or have your own map to read and mark up the route.
- Assume responsibility to work with all others in the group for the safety and protection of all.
- Travel in a staggered formation within a lane with the Road Captain taking the position on the left side of the lane. The next rider will follow at a safe distance on the opposite side of the lane. Other riders follow the same pattern. Riders should position themselves so they can see the face of the rider to their front/opposite in that rider's mirror.
- Maintain a steady speed and spacing. Do not speed up and slow down or shift your position from side to side, this disrupts the efforts of others to regulate their speed and destroys the main purpose of riding in a group.
- Maintain a minimum but safe riding distance, depending on conditions. "Holes" in the pack invite motorists driving at faster speeds to cut in and tailgate the bike in front. However, if a car must cut through the pack either from the left or right, be courteous, signal to the riders behind you to slow down, then wave the driver through. Close the hole as quickly as possible.
- Stay alert. The lives of other people are in the hands of each pack member.
- When entering traffic from a parking lot, gas station, or leaving a traffic signal, each rider should move out quickly and get in position in formation.
- When passing a vehicle on a two-lane road, each rider should pass in order, preferably in single file. Obviously this only applies when riding in small groups. One of the most dangerous situations I have observed occurs when one or more riders tris to force the issure of keeping up and passes blind or without allowing a safe margin regarding oncoming traffic. The Road Captain will slow the pack down and wait for you to pass safely. Never sacrifice safety to the ideal of keeping the pack together.
- When stopping at a signal or stop sign, pull up to two abreast. Maintain this formation if you will be going through a series of closely spaced stops (e.g.,downtown Hollister).
- When turning at an intersection maintain your position in the formation.
- When entering a parking area or gas station, enter in single file. The Road Captain should "loop" the area to allow all riders to get out of traffic.
- When riding on narrow, twisting roads, move into single file, while maintaining a safe distance between bikes. The Road Captain will signal this formation by holding up a single finger. Each rider will pass the signal back, as they must with all signals.
- Anyone not wishing to ride with the pack should inform both the Road Captain and the Tail gunner (sweep) before departing. If this is not possible, fall back behind the last bike and inform the Tail gunner (sweep) that you are OK.
- Be sure to inform the Road Captain and Tail gunner if you will be breaking off from the pack along the way. Otherwise, any bike that pulls over or exits the highway will be considered to be in trouble. The Tail gunner (sweep) will follow to help.