This month’s clip is a simultaneous reminder of best practice in group riding situations and the constant need for disciplined, controlled, planned and thoughtful riding to the system.
This quite spectacular (but of course, not in a good way) accident occurred as a result of the yellow Gixer seeking to pull a wheelie (the ill-advised nature of which on legal, safety and other grounds is self-explanatory to any thinking rider and speaks for itself), at the same time as the Quad changes lane without warning.
Perhaps surprisingly the Police seem to be making way for this group ride (particularly at the very start of the footage at one second, plus at various points along the route when they are blocking traffic joining the road).
The two learning points here – group riding and disciplined, controlled, planned and thoughtful riding fall into two distinct areas. The latter is a foregone conclusion for any advanced rider (or indeed any thinking rider whether or not they possess a green badge). Wheelies, donuts, aggressive riding and flouting the rules of the road are so obviously at odds with advanced (not to mention safe) riding that no comment is necessary, so instead let’s turn our attention to what this accident reminds us about group riding.
Considerate and safe over-taking is a key element of group riding. It is generally best to “overtake by invitation only”, with the usual safe overtaking rules applying
Riding in a staggered formation is good practice
Be familiar with the drop off system – almost invariably this will be used as a navigation aid on group rides, thoughtful use of the drop off system and sticking to the protocols ensures everybody arrives at the same destination without confusion or anybody being separated from the group
Ride your own ride – you must always ride at a pace you are comfortable with – never beyond your comfort zone or capabilities, even if this means lagging behind
Maintaining safe and appropriate gaps with the rest of the group (as well as, needless to say, other road users), is key
Maintain awareness of the group, not forgetting those behind you, by frequent and judicious use of the mirrors
The ethos of group riding is cooperation rather than competition – it’s not a race
A well spread out ride is more enjoyable, and safer, than an inappropriately bunched up group
When following the ride leader, do not assume they will always maintain progress along the route – occasionally they might choose to stop for an interim briefing or to ensure the group isn’t excessively spread out
Remember the TUG principle associated with the I (Information) part of IPSGA – Take, Use and Give information in order to benefit both yourself and the other members of your group. Whilst this is important in all riding situations, it is particularly key in group riding situations.
Intelligent use of group riding concepts, coupled with the obvious restraint that comes with riding legally, intelligently and safely, mean that you are much less likely to find yourself in a situation even remotely resembling that in the video.
Would you like to nominate your favourite biking related clip as clip of the month? It can be anything you like with a motorcycling theme – examples of sparklingly good riding, best practice, hazard avoidance, inspired planning, intelligent decision making, lessons to be learned, sheer idiocy or simply something side-splittingly funny. Please send your nominations, along with a link, to firstname.lastname@example.org
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