Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Group Riding Is Risky Business! (Part 1)
The 2015 Hoka hey Motorcycle Challenge Memorial Ride is fast approaching. We will ride as a group from Lebanon, KS to Hot Springs, SD on July 31st. The quantity of riders has yet to be determined but the number is growing. There are very few things that are more impressive than a long string of riders on the highway—and few things more risky.
Take a group of riders who have never ridden together before, add into the mix a wide range of riding styles and skill levels and you come up with a recipe for trouble. All it takes is one rider to make a mistake or lose focus for an instant and the outcome can be disastrous. That alone should give us reason to be concerned, but let’s add another variable—the cager.
Cagers do not ride, they do not understand the dynamic of riding nor do they care. Below are a list of things that WILL happen during the Memorial Ride.
1 – A cager will drive up behind us and feel a need to pass the group—perfectly legal. But a cager will not be able to pass the entire group in a single try which means they WILL cut into the group a number times depending on the number of bikes. So, knowing they will pass and knowing they cannot pass the entire group we must be vigilant. If you see a car passing on your left then assume they will cut into the right lane at some point and chances are they will opt to reside for a time in the patch of road you currently occupy. Give them room, slowly back off on your speed and give them the room they need—not just space between you and the car, but enough room so the car can back off the hindquarters of the rider in front of them. Take your eyes off of them for one second and they will put you in the ditch – or worse.
2 – A car following too close, in my mind, is attempted murder. Were we to live in a state of anarchy we could remove this threat with just a few rounds of ammunition, but we do not live in a state of anarchy. If there is a car tailgating then tap the brake just enough to engage the brake lights, but not enough to reduce your speed. A conscientious cager will take the hint and back off a bit, but if they are too stupid to take the hint then move to the left or right of the lane to provide an escape route if needed. Likewise, do not tailgate a cager—they will see that as an opportunity to slam on their brakes and watch you fly over and past their windshield; then calmly stand by and watch you die.
3 – Most head on collisions between a rider and a cager happens when the cager turns left in front of an oncoming rider. Be very vigilant when riding through a town or when coming up on a county road intersection and there is head-on traffic. They will see you, but your presence will not register in their little pea brain. The last words you will hear while gasping for your last breath will be, “but officer, I didn’t see them!” Something to be said for a state of anarchy.
Part two of “Risky Business” will discuss what we as riders can do to reduce the risk we pose to each other in a group ride.