Group Riding Etiquette / Ride Rules

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wireburn
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Group Riding Etiquette / Ride Rules

Postby wireburn » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:19 pm

It's an exhilarating feeling, swooping down the country roads or blasting through the city with a group of your scooter buddies! It's even better when everyone knows the rules of the road, and you know you can rely on everyone else to watch out for your back, just as you are watching out for theirs.
As much as we are responsible for our own safety, we are very much responsible for our riding buddies. In particular, a person should watch out for the person in front of them, and if we all follow that little rule, it can make a difference. The following are some guidelines to help us all have many more fun and safe rides. Please read them thoroughly, whether you are a GRSC veteran, or an eager newbie.

Thanks!!


Honk! Honk!

There are times when we need to get the attention of another rider or riders so we use our horns. There are also times when we are beeping back at someone who has waved at us (we're a popular bunch out there!) but these are the two patterns that really mean something to the group.

One single honk generally means that someone has left their turn signal on. Primarily, it is the responsibility of the person *behind* that person to let them know, but anyone can do it as long as they figure the rider will hear them.
Many persistent honks in a row means that the group needs to pull over for some reason (could be anything at all, riders being left behind, a bee in the helmet, panties in a bunch, whatever). In order for this message to reach the front of the pack, as soon as you hear rapid beeping behind you, start beeping as you assess the situation and start pulling over.


Ride in a staggered formation

When riding in a group, you will be either be on the left of the center of the lane, or on the right of the center of the lane. The ride leader will claim the left side, second in line will claim the right, third in line will claim the left and so on.

I can't stress enough how important this is.

It gives everyone a good view of the riders ahead of them, which you don't have when you ride directly behind each other. It gives more time and space in which to stop if there's a problem ahead of you as well. Another important point is that the vehicles in the opposite lane can see us all much better when we are staggered. Nobody is hidden. There are no blank spots in the line up of riders, which might tempt a driver to sneak in a turn, only to find a rider that was invisible behind someone directly in his path.

If a person prefers to ride on the inside or outside of the lane, it's his responsibility to situate himself in the proper spot in the ride. Think about how the group spreads out when we?re moving, and if you have to move forward or backward in the order to get your preferred position, then do so. Don't rely on anyone else to adjust it for you.


Intersections

When we are sitting at any sort of intersection, the proper formation is to have the leader and second rider sitting side by side, the third rider behind the leader with the fourth rider on his right, and so on so we are in neat groups of twos, with no gaps. The group needs to be snugged together so that we are a solid presence to other drivers. This is very important when we are at a stop.


Four way stop sign

At a four way stop, the group moves through AS ONE, as smoothly and as seamlessly as we can. You can see how important it is for us to have set ourselves up properly at the stop sign to begin with, so we send a clear signal to other vehicles that we are together. Stay close, in groups of two as explained above, and there will be no problems. If anyone hesitates, it confuses the cars, and it confuses the other riders around you so stick together, folks!


Regular stop sign

We are individuals when we are at a regular stop sign. If the ride leader is able, he will wait at a stop sign until its safe for the whole group to go. Sometimes though, that's not possible, so in this case we behave just as if we were cars and each go when it is safe. Generally the group will pull over so that we are all together again, so it's no biggie.


Stop lights

Here again, we are all individuals when it comes to a stop light that has turned yellow. Never ever feel you have to risk running the light. The group will always wait if someone gets caught. This is where the rapid honking comes in, to let folks know that you've been left behind. This is also where staggered riding is important if the person ahead of you decides not to risk racing through the light. If we were all in a single line, there could easily be a catastrophe if someone decided to stop suddenly.

When you're going through a light it's important to keep an eye on those behind you to make sure they got through it as well, and signal the group if they didn't.


Riding attire

Common sense tells us that you need to wear sturdy shoes, pants, jacket and gloves. In the summer though, some of us get a little careless and out come the thongs, shorts and t-shirts. What you wear when you are riding solo is up to you, but when you are with the group please remember that none of us are doctors. None of us wants to see your foot get ripped to shreds because your lost your thong, and probably nobody wants to see gravel embedded in the road rash from your ankle to your thigh. We appreciate you dressing responsibly when riding with the group so we don't have to worry about a mishap ruining the ride for everyone.

One of our members had to do a quick emergency stop, his brakes locked, he was pretty much at a standstill, and he couldn't avoid dropping his bike. Even though he was wearing long johns and jeans at the time, he was scraped and bleeding. So be mindful.


Solo Riding

Firstly when riding alone always ride in the "power position" (the left hand side of the lane in the path of the drivers side tires). This position demands respect from other motorists and increases your visibility (to other drives and yourself). Riding on the right side of the lane (or following the path of the passenger side tires) is more dangerous. Some drivers aren't sure how to treat you, as a cyclist or a vehicle, the result is they'll pass you in 'your' lane. If you are riding in the dominant position they'll have no choice but to treat you like a vehicle!

If it is windy out and you find the wind is pushing your bike around ride in the center of the lane. This gives you room to correct on either side safely.

If it is rainy and windy disregard the above. When it's rainy the center of the lane becomes an oil slick. Try to stick to the left hand side of the lane for best visibility.

Lastly, go the speed limit!!! Or as close to it as your bike will manage and as road conditions permit. But if it's a dry windless day go the speed limit! If you aren't comfortable going 40 or 50 mph stick to side roads and talk to us. We have lots of riding tips that will help you gain confidence in your scootering abilities.
2007 Honda Ruckus BIG BORE
2002 Honda Metropolitan II w/Ruckus Swingarm
2000 Harley Road King Classic
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