In some ways I am reluctant to write this as I am sure that some LAM members will challenge its accuracy on the basis that it never applies to them; but that said it applies to some members, and I would say more than we should be prepared to admit. On the other side, I have been 'encouraged' to put this together by other members who share similar views and concerns.
I joined LAM to support my Bloodriding and I thought I was a 'good' rider.. proven by thirty years accident free (!). I now feel a much better rider, get more from riding, have friends to ride with and make more 'progress'.... I still make mistakes, but I know when I have made them.
My concerns focus on Full Members’ SSIs but equally apply when Associates are in the group. We have all spent time in various forms of training, in essence, to follow 'Roadcraft', learn to apply it and use the 4 S's . But I'm m sorry to observe that many of the 'rules' we should be following seem to be discarded as soon as we are 'passed' and are in each other's company.
It is fair to say that an Observer might struggle to recognise our 'trained' standard as compared with a group of friends out for a ride. Recently I rode ten miles behind a very competent rider across Salisbury plain but his mixture of riding styles, positioning and overtaking raised doubts. At a set of lights and hoping to encourage him to get training, I asked him if he was 'Advanced'...yes he was!
Sadly I fear the same judgements could be made about our riding. I have said to several Associates, that you should be able to recognise an Advanced Rider simply by their positioning. My biggest bug bears are about sloppy, indecisive middle of the road positioning. Can't the rider work out which position is safest?
On a recent ride we had to bunch up but the 'alternating' positioning was ineffective due to middle of the road riding. Not only did this prevent 'safe' bunching but strung out the line of bikes making it harder for other traffic waiting for us to pass.
It takes a little thought to pull away from a junction more slowly and build a gap to the bike in front, but without sensible spacing so many riders simply follow the bike in front around the corners ...no personal choice or assessment of their own 'line.'
On some rides it seems that several bikes are being towed, and might as well be for the riders perspective. Filtering varies between pointless and dangerous, especially when there's usually a junction involved and a drop off coming.
Overtaking....! For everyone I've seen done 'properly' I've seen far more rushed, close and basically risky, often reliant on the power of the bike with no margin for the unexpected. Group riding is generally weak with poor bunching when it would be appropriate and poor use of parallel and alternate leaving of a junction.
I have been out with RoSPA recently and they are proud to wear jackets saying so, to be identified as such. I often thought we should have the same in the hope we encourage others to join us and emulate us but I would not advocate this for our rides; we are better saying hello when we are safely sat down at a cafe rather than on the road for others to judge.
I am guilty of many errors but could we all try to ride (and practise) according to the 4s and Roadcraft, ideally all the time but especially when we are riding together. I hope that no-one is offended by my comments, but I'm sure that if you are still reading this, none of this applies to you and it is the others who don't...
Feel free to respond, troll me, disband me, ignore me, send me to Coventry....I don't care...I only care that we all finish each ride safe and happy.
PS. After many ORs while I struggled to get the elements to string together, an Observer gave me an illustration which put everything into context: Imagine your partner calls you, has driven off the road at a place and needs your help and the phone goes dead. You choose to mobilise and are motivated to get there quickly, you will be no use to anyone unless you get there safely and could even cause a diversion of emergency services.
You need to ride up to corners, brake positively, choose the right line for maximum observation (allowing optimum speed) and when the POV opens up, accelerate positively, continuing to maximise POV and moderate speed accordingly.
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