Safety on a Group Ride.
Bike riding is a simple and fun right? Jump on, pedal, have a chat with your mates, enjoy the wind in the hair. Until an 18 wheel juggernaut rolls past and then your realise "this is also very serious stuff". There area lot of things we can't control, and if you want assurances that the risks are all eliminated, you would never leave the house. We can however minimise many of the risks. We have ride leaders to contribute to our safety,but we can also contribute individually.
My goal is that every time I go out I will become a better road user. There might be 1,000 ways to achieve that, but I can't do them all right now. It's like eating an elephant. You have to do it one bite at a time. So here is my plan: I will always take some time to read articles about road safety and cycling etiquette, and then practice. It might be new or perhaps something obvious as the nose on your face, but it needs to be front of mind and become a habit. It could save your life so I reckon it's worth the effort.
A couple of things I have read are relevant here: 1.) three riders in a group are 10 times more visible to a motorist that one on her own - so it is obviously safer to ride in a group: 2.) Apparently you can retain 9 items in your pre-conscious. So here are a few things to make group riding even safer.
Hand signals are not just for within the bunch. Signal to let drivers know what's going on. Front, centre and back of the bunch please.
Left hand riders stay as far left as possible and if there is a useable shoulder, use it. (if your'e not comfortable there, get in the right line)
Right hand riders not more than 1.5m from their partner.
Right hand riders should not echelon out to the right. A slight alternating stagger will let everyone see plenty.
Do NOT straight line through multi-lane roundabouts.
Riders at the back are responsible for communication with following drivers and sending information up the line. You gotta know whats going on behind us. Don't sit on the back unless you are prepared to take that responsibility.
Pass all calls up and down the line. (pass 'em don't scream 'em)
Rider on the front need to occasionally check that the pace is OK.
PLEASE call out if the pace is too hard and BEFORE you get gaped. (there is nobody in the gap to hear you once its a gap)
Lets have fun and be safe.
Did you check that there was 9 bullet points? You are taking this seriously aren't you? Well done.