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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen, and I'm sure you have too, "Guards" (designated riders in the middle of the pack in a Group Ride, that block traffic at intersections), in Group Rides.

This topic was touched on in another Thread, but I thought I would isolate it here for more in depth discussion.

Some have said that many Constabulary's will intervene if Guards are used, but how can you possibly get every Constabulary on board with your plans, when you are doing an inter-State ride?

What's the best way to approach, keeping the group together at major intersections where a turn is required, if you DON'T use "Guards?"

I suppose the number of bikes on the ride is a definite factor. If it's only one or two bikes, it's not an issue really. You just have to watch for each other, and that's easy to do when there are only a few of you.

But in the case of last month's ride to Rhode Island, where the numbers were as massive as they were, the lack of "Road Guards" would have spelled disaster had they NOT been there to keep the group together at intersections. (I haven't forgotten about two-way communications between the front and back riders, but that's another topic).


-Soupy
 

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American Legion Rider
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This is where communication comes in. You have no more rights on the road than anyone else. So it is the responsibility of the leader to keep the pack together by communicating with others in the pack and especially the sweeper or sometimes called shotgun. Don't have a way to communicate? Then you shouldn't be leading a pack unless you are animals and we've all seen packs of them on motorcycles. JMO :thumbsup:
 

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the only large group rides I've been on have been sponsored rides (March of Dimes Bikers for Babies) and the towns we passed through had the police blocking intersections if/as needed....I rode in '09 & '10, in 2010 there were 6000 bikes but we spread out enough that a lot of blocking wasn't needed but the cops were still there just in case....
 

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American Legion Rider
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This might help soupy. I've never heard of the bread crumb method but the following is from a HOG chapter.

http://www.sunsethog.com/group-ride-orientation

And here are the guidelines for PGR. Scroll down until you find the statement about road guards.

http://168.144.8.80/pgr/guidelines.htm

There is a reason for not doing it. You become liable. In this sue happy country, people look for reasons to get rich off someone else.
 

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The part I'm somewhat uncomfortable with is that when there is a hole, you do not switch [tracks] to fill the hole, but move forward only. That does mean that in all instances you will have to pass someone in the opposite track. There are many situations where it's just normal to use the entire roadway (like on curves) and one does not know that the person ahead (staggered) will not be changing tracks.

I have trouble seeing the animation showing where on curves everyone should stay in their own track. I feel that is too limiting. And anyway, people don't do it well.

However, if everyone knows what is going to happen, everybody is alert, and the roadway is straight, then it would work fine. I have been in large group rides where no one ever mentioned any procedure at all.

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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #7
I tend to encourage "single file" if the roadway narrows enough to warrant it.

Mainly, having people who pay attention to signals from the front (hand and turn) and pass them along in a timely fashion, and watch their mirrors, makes the trip a WHOLE lot easier!!

-Soupy
 

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I have trouble seeing the animation showing where on curves everyone should stay in their own track. I feel that is too limiting. And anyway, people don't do it well.
That is one of the reason I don't get involved in large group rides. Also I'm uncomfortable riding in a group where I don't know the experience of the riders mainly behind me.

I do ride in a group that is normally 8 to 10 bikes, but we all know each other and our riding habits.
 

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In staggered formation if someone has to leave they peal off and you don't move forward to fill the hole until it's safe. So never on a curve. This way is safer than having everyone after the one that leaves switch positions from him on back. Only the one line moves forward one position. No zigzag switching. Does that make sense? This is also safer than columns of two because everyone has their own space.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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Getting back to the road guard question. I have no problem with the officially sanctioned charity rides using local law enforcement to direct traffic. But where I live and ride, I see groups of bikes, some only a half dozen or so, pulling out of gas stations, restaurant and motel parking lots etc, stopping traffic too. Usually one or two of the guys in the group (black t shirts, no safety vests) will pull into the middle of the intersection and stop traffic with their bike.
Hey, welcome to town. Enjoy yourself while you're here. Spend lots of money. Heck I'll even recommend some great roads to explore. But don't play traffic cop while you're here. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
...................But don't play traffic cop while you're here. ;)

That's kinda where I was going with the OP. It's not something I would consider for a half dozen bikers together, but in large groups, it is very useful.
My concern is what the local Constabulary would typically enforce for local laws. I don't want to create a problem, only solve one.

But that said, .......let's face it........a large group of bikers rolling thru town IS a "problem" on one level or another, for SOMEBODY.

-Soupy
 

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When I was driving a cage in France I saw blockers used. The club ride would arrive at an intersection and sure enough they would have a designated blocker. The guy would drop his bike onto its kickstand and start acting like a traffic cop. It was effective to keep the riding group together and to resume traffic flow for those of us not involved in the ride. I think it was a great idea. It was a win for everyone involved. These were not small groups they often ran to well over 100 riders.
 

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I was heading home the other day through Berea, OH (smalltown USA), and there was a large group of riders turning right heading north from one semi-major intersection to another, and they had guards in place to keep the group together.

Now granted, I am likely of a different mindset since I like bikes and safe practices, and am also former military, so can understand the need for your own guideon to keep groups together.

That said, I don't see a guide there to be in conflict with the local constabulatory - not like they are directing other traffic, rather they are keeping their own traffic together. I did not see a single rider break formation or do anything inherently risky or dangerous...they were all traveling single file. Now, their turn time from beginning to end did exceed the length of the light, so I guess the argument could be made that they should have communication and allow the larger group to break into smaller groups to adhere to the timing of the local traffic guides (lights), but I don't think anyone was out of line, insulted, or anything.

Of course, locally, there seems to be a higher appreciation, or at least awareness of bikers and their needs than in other parts of the country. I can't drive past more than 1-3 houses in the burbs without seeing some sort of bike in the driveway/lawn/parking area. They are dotted all over apartment complexes too...
 

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A bike group that rides together and wants to stay together needs blockers or similar folks. I would be happy to fill that role for any ride I am involved in doing. Yes it seems less than official but it serves a purpose. The cages and other cross traffic can readily understand what you are doing and are safer because of it. The bikers get through the intersection much faster so they present much less threat to local traffic. It is a win-win situation so I am all for it.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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Are we talking only approved and sanctioned charity type rides or any large group of riders? Because at work when we move oversized loads with blockers and spotters, we need to get a permit. And we're only allowed out at certain times of the day so we don't disrupt the flow of traffic.;)
 

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CTX, I am talking any ride. I saw it when I was in France. I was in a rental cage and a large group of riders was out on a ride. We both approached the same intersection at about the same time. The french riders deployed a traffic coordinator at the beginning of their group. That person directed traffic as if he was a traffic cop for about 4 minutes until the whole group had passed through the intersection. At that point he rejoined the group of riders and those of us held up by the group resumed our journeys.
The blockers/traffic cops had done what was needed. They had gotten us to work with them to minimize delays and to prevent breaking up the riding group. Those of us who waited a few minutes did far better than we would have if we had tried to merge with that long line of bikes at the stop sign involved. It truly was a win-win even if the local laws did not sanction it.
 

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Illinois has passed a law allowing road guards. They have to pass a training class and be certified and permits are required in advance. They are still working out the details last I heard.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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Illinois has passed a law allowing road guards. They have to pass a training class and be certified and permits are required in advance. They are still working out the details last I heard.
Its good to hear this issue is being addressed. Hopefully Wisconsin has something similar in the works. The only other thing I might hope for is a way to make it easier to spot these certified road guards. At the very least, a special high vis jacket or vest that says road guard would be helpful. Short of fully decked out escort motorcycles with markings and emergency lights....;)
 

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We have a local bar in conjunction with a local MC shop that hold various charity rides through out the year. They choose to use the bar as the meeting place (though they are strict, no drinking and riding) because of the ease of starting out. Less traffic, more visibility. They use road guards to get bikes started out. I don't know if they use blockers throughout the ride or not. But I love seeing these charity rides. We have a Truckers Convoy in September. Interstate 84 gets closed down till the convoy goes through. It supports the Make a Wish foundation. It's so awesome seeing things like this. Once I have enough experience to feel comfortable riding in a large group, I plan on donating my time like this. It's a win win situation.
 
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