Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fast and Furious?

Every so often we will hear someone suggesting that our ride-outs are "too fast". Let's see if we can shed some light on this.

With every participant's safety firmly in mind it is our policy that ride-outs should be run at legal road speeds where road and traffic conditions permit.   Our ride-out leaders* do exactly this.  In the pre-ride briefings participants are advised that everyone should 'ride their own ride", i.e. at a pace which is comfortable and safe for them. 

Because we want everyone to have a good time and not become lost each we employ the drop-off system where a rider 'marks' a junction by their presence, indicator lights and hand signals.  There also are regular stops to gather everyone up and there is a Tail-end Charlie or sweep rider.  There is absolutely no need to keep up with others who, for various reasons, may be riding at different speeds.  

It's a fact that some riders will negotiate bends more swiftly than others.  This may be due to higher levels of competence and confidence, an easier to ride machine or a combination of these.  While they may appear to be riding much faster they are simply carrying a more constant speed through bends.  They are not slowing down as much on bend entry and then having to recover their previous pace when the road opens up. 

If someone feels some sort of a need to 'keep up' it is a choice they are making, either consciously or unconsciously.  A motorcycle's speed is completely dependent on the input of its operator.  Only the individual rider can adjust their speed to what is appropriate for them in the circumstances.  It is completely and utterly their responsibility and most importantly, their choice.

Should ride-outs be run at speeds below the speed limit when it is perfectly safe to be at the speed limit?  In short, never.  Just as it is incumbent on road users to avoid hazards* there is an equal responsibility to avoid becoming one or creating one.  

In terms of group riding traveling in an artificially slow manner quickly creates a multi-vehicle rolling road hazard, never mind the mounting frustration of those stuck in the queue behind.  There is also the fact that most Highway Codes clearly state that you should not hold up other traffic. 

If someone is of the view that a Peak Rider Adventure ride-out is ‘too fast’ it is simply because they are riding faster than they are comfortable with.  The solution is simple; slow down and ride at a pace better suited to current abilities.  Better, safer riders are self-aware and honest with themselves.  

Ask yourself the question, "Would I like to be a more proficient and safer motorcycle rider?"  If the answer is no then you may need to question whether motorcycling is really for you.  If the answer is yes there are numerous ways to further develop riding skills.  The worst that can happen is that you will become a better, safer rider and have even more fun.

Our ride-outs are voluntary participation social rides.  They are wonderful opportunities for experiencing the many joys of motorcycling and sharing laughter with friends old and new.  Our safety record and the steady growth in numbers of enthusiastic attendees are proof of our success.  We hope to see you soon. 

*Peak Rider Adventure's UK ride-out leaders hold RoSPA Gold accreditation.  Those who have earned this distinction are acknowledged as among the most proficient and safest of British road riders.  To maintain this status a rider must undergo a rigorous and comprehensive re-test every three years. 

*A hazard is defined as any real or potential danger and anything which would cause a road user to change speed or position. 


© Mike Moloney 2015

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