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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:34 am 
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Group Riding Guidelines

We all enjoy riding our bikes but we must never forget that EAMG is a respected further training Group working to improve the standard of motorcycling in Essex.

When we ride individually, we have the freedom to control our own planning, positioning, progress and safety. Group riding is different, each rider having to think for themselves as well as for each member of the group. We should remember that some group rides may include inexperienced Associates, it is therefore important to be aware of the differing riding abilities that may be around us. It is possible to ride in a group in such a way that each and every rider can enjoy the group ride safely. The following guidelines are designed to ensure EAMG group rides are conducted in such a way to achieve this aim.


Group rides are announced in:
• TUG’s Diary, both on-line and printed version
• EAMG’s online Forum at eamg.org.uk
• EAMG’s Update emailed periodically by the Group Secretary

Announcement should include:
• Type of ride: Full Member only, Full Member & Associate, Associate only, Peer-to-Peer etc.
• Indication of distance and terrain
• Location of refreshment and fuel stops, including Post Code or Sat. Nav. co-ordinates to help riders with sat nav should they become separated from the group
• Notification of any road closures or other known potential problems

Note: Proficient use of the Marker System should eliminate the need to issue everyone with a copy of the route but a few printed copies or .gpx file (for sat nav use) is always welcome.

Remember: ‘fail to prepare is to prepare to fail’

Ride Leader and Sweeper

It goes without saying that both the Ride Leader and Sweeper’s role is key for a successful group ride. Neither are riding for themselves, they are riding for each and every other member of the group. It is therefore recommended that they wear some form of distinctive hi-viz or lighting so they can be easily recognised.

Ride Leader and Sweeper should:
• be experienced group riders, preferably but not mandatorily, Observers
• be familiar with the route
• exchange their mobile numbers
• make their mobile numbers known to each member of the group

Note: This could be published in group ride announcements.

• be prepared to consider what action should be taken in the event of:
o punctures or mechanical failure
o an incident occurring within the group

Ride Leader

The ride Leader should give a pre ride briefing:
• welcoming and identifying, Guests, Associates and Full Members
• ensuring everyone starts with a full tank of fuel
• outlining details of the route including refreshment and fuel stops
• introducing the Sweeper
• checking everyone’s familiarity with group riding guidelines and
• familiarity with the marker system including:
o group riders should avoid overtaking the leader or riding behind the sweeper
o how the sweeper signals for markers to continue

Note: Approaching roundabouts, the sweeper may drop back allowing the marker at the roundabout time to leave their position safely. If traffic or safety does not allow this, the sweeper may pass the marker. In such circumstances, when safe to do so, the sweeper slows allowing the marker to pass and rejoin the group.

o overtaking procedure within the group
o the need to ride for ones self and show courtesy to others
• introducing other leaders and or sweepers (if applicable)
• deliver the Group’s disclaimer


The sweeper’s roll is just as important as the leader’s roll and requires as much, if not more, experience and capacity for vigilance in the event of a rider:
• missing a marker and taking a wrong route
• experiencing a puncture or mechanical fault
• being involved in a more serious incident

The sweeper rides at the tail end of the group.

Note: If group riders ride behind the sweeper, they risk being abandoned, as markers en route may leave their post when the sweeper signals for them to continue.

The Marker System

When riding in a large group the leader may introduce a ‘marker system’. A sweeper, who rides at the tail end of the group, should be appointed. Whenever the route deviates from the current road, the leader should point to a safe place suggesting where the rider behind, the marker, should stop giving clear directions to the route the leader has taken. The group follows through. The marker waits until the sweeper is in sight and signals for them to continue.

In exceptional circumstances, traffic lights or a problem within the group, gaps of several minutes can develop so it’s critically important that markers wait patiently until they see the sweeper signalling for them to continue. Without a following rider, the leader knows the group has become too spread out then waits so everyone can regroup. The leader and sweeper may be in radio contact and each should have the other’s mobile phone number so, in the event of a problem, they are able to contact each other and take any necessary action.


The marker’s roll is critical to the success of a group ride. A poorly marked junction is the prime cause of riders becoming lost, as they are unable to keep to the intended route. In certain circumstances, a lost rider, or riders, can severely fragment the ride causing considerable delays that can result in hazardous circumstances for markers kept waiting in an exposed position or extreme temperatures without shade.

Approaching a junction, the leader indicates a suitable location where the marker can mark the junction. The marker:
• should wait as close to the position indicated by the leader that:
• they deem to be a safe position to stop that is:
• easily visible to following riders

The marker:
• looks for following riders then
• points, giving clear directions towards the intended route

The marker should endeavour not to:
• stop in a position they deem to be unsafe
• stop in an obscure position unseen by following riders
• leave their bike for a comfort break or cigarette
• run a direction indicator signal that could be misleading to other traffic
• leave their position until the sweeper signals for them to continue

Note: This fifth point is important, as there could an incident, such as a puncture, within the group. Without markers, those attending the incident may be unable to rejoin the group. If the incident is more serious, the leader or sweeper should make arrangements to inform the markers

If you are unfamiliar with the marker system and feel uncomfortable being left as a marker; each time you find yourself riding behind the leader, indicate to the rider behind that you would like to be overtaken. A drop of the right foot (left foot in Europe) is a well-known invitation to overtake.

Special Care - Roundabouts

The general rule, ‘continue straight ahead if a junction is not marked’, means special care is required when making a right turn (left turn in Europe) at roundabouts. A marker positioned at the exit could easily be missed. In such circumstances, a marker positioned some distance before the roundabout should also be considered.

Special Care – Motorways

It is illegal to stop on a motorway but a rider missing a junction or seeing a junction late and cutting across high-speed traffic, is hazardous to say the least. Leaders should therefore reduce speed to regroup the riders a couple of miles before the junction then signal when approaching the exit to be taken. Each rider within the group should also signal so the sweeper can see that all riders, and other motorway traffic, are aware the group is leaving the motorway.

Group Riding

Riding in a group is not about competition; it’s about riding together safely as a unit. It should be an enjoyable experience, fun and seen as a valuable skill for riders in their quest to improve their riding.

Showing off to your mates is sure to end in disaster. If you want to compete, don’t join a group ride - join a track-day!

Be honest with yourself asking:
• do I try to keep up, even when I’m riding out of my comfort zone?
• am I relieved when the riding stops or anxious when it is about to start?

Always ride within your own capabilities, if run well, the marker system ensures you won’t get lost so there should be no pressure to keep up. Ride for the group not just yourself. It is important to be aware of the differing rider abilities around you. Use your observation skills and judgment to plan manoeuvres for yourself but with other group members in mind. Ride in a staggered formation on straight roads and when waiting at traffic lights.

Ride leaders should make it clear that the rider directly behind them is ‘controlling’ their speed. If you feel uncomfortable behind the leader, simply slow down and the leader should slow down accordingly. In this way, the leader can ensure that each member of the group should have a safe and enjoyable fun day.

Ride leaders may stop a ride to regroup should the group get too spread out.

Buddy System

Efficient use of the marker system depends on good marking at junctions; the group ride can fall apart if a junction where the route deviates: is not marked, the marker cannot easily be seen or leaves their position prematurely.

If you encounter such circumstances, think for the benefit of the group, your ‘buddies’. Mark the junction yourself and wait until the sweeper signals you can continue.

It’s also a good idea for the marker being relieved by the sweeper to ride with the sweeper, their ‘buddy’, until the next marker is reached. This ensures the sweeper always has support in the event of a problem occurring at the back of the group.


Riders within the group are free to pass and re-pass each other when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Invite quicker riders to pass if they want to.

Check if the rider behind follows you through when overtaking. If it’s tight, they shouldn’t do this but there’s no point leaving them stranded, possibly facing oncoming traffic. Move closer to the n/s kerb, allowing them space, until they’re through.

Leaving the group

If you intend to leave the group earlier than expected, inform the sweeper accordingly then make your way to the back of the group as you approach your point of departure to ensure other group riders don’t follow you and lose their way.

Inappropriate group riding

It is the responsibility of EAMG Group Observers, who witness inappropriate riding within an EAMG group ride, to raise such issues discreetly with the rider concerned. The approach should not be confrontational but made in the best interest of rider safety and EAMG.

EAMG Training Team
January 2017

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