Group Riding

Group Riding

Organising, leading, or participating in a group ride is an activity that a lot of riders would like to undertake. However, many riders are somewhat intimidated and reluctant to participate because they are not really sure how it is actually done. There is a good chance they have participated in a group ride and have become aware that there is a lot more going on than readily meets the eye.

There is also the chance that they have been on some group rides that were conducted by riders that were long on enthusiasm but really didn’t know what they were doing and this may have resulted in an unfavourable experience and no desire to lead or even join another event.

One of the most satisfying aspects of belonging to a chapter is to be part of a group of Harley Davidson motorcycle’s riding through the countryside and is a great feeling. The universal smiles and waves from people along the way is something you don’t get with any other motorcycle.

Motorcycling is a common interest that we all share and enjoy. It’s the wind in your face, the smells of the land around you, and the feeling of unobstructed freedom. But with these sensory pleasures comes responsibility, to ourselves and those around us. Group Riding adds another level of responsibility; all members in a group ride need to work together for the safety of all. There are several approaches for safe group riding. Each Chapter may differ in their approach but usually the goal is the same… group safety.

The following pages present some of the key elements that describe Birmingham Harley Owners Groups (HOG) Chapters’ approach to group riding. Familiarise yourself with this approach before you ride with us.


The Group – Roles & Responsibilities:


Lead Road Captain:

The Lead Road Captain is in-charge of the ride. He / she assumes the lead position in the group next to the center line in the lane. Lead Road Captain duties include:

Plan the Route, create a map of the route or write a written description of the route to include known hazards or areas of construction if known.

Responsible for completion of waivers and the sign-in roster for the ride.

Responsible for conducting the pre-ride briefing to review the route and safety information.

Call the establishment at our destination if possible and give them a head count.

Assign & coordinate road crew responsibilities within the group.

Coordinate turns, passing and lane changes with the Tail Rider and / or Sweep

If the lead Road Captain suffers a breakdown, the Tail Rider will assume the responsibilities of Lead Road Captain and lead the ride to a safe area to stop being mindful of the group and NOT to stray into a carriageway.


Tail Rider:

The Tail Rider brings up the rear of the ride group and assists the Lead Road Captain with group safety and integrity. Tail Rider responsibilities include:

Rides at the rear of the group, in front of the Sweep Rider so that they have the best view of the group and route of travel.

Maintains the pace according to the ride plan and the pace established by the Lead Road Captain. No one is allowed to fall behind the Tail Rider. Any rider that is not experiencing difficulties and still cannot maintain the established pace is automatically off the ride and on their own.

Determining when the group is ready to leave the start location and any intermediate stops signalling to the Lead Road Captain to proceed and watch out for traffic until the entire group is underway.

The Tail Rider is replaced by a qualified road crew if they have to slow down or drop out for any reason. There must always be a competent person in the road crew position.


Sweep Rider:

The Sweep Rider is the last rider in the group and is located behind the Tail Rider. The Sweep Rider’s responsibilities include:

Providing assistance to any rider that encounters problems i.e. mechanical problems (See Breakdown) and has to either slow down or drop out of the ride. The rider should stop on the side of the road or in a safe area as soon as possible.

Remain with the rider to ensure they are ‘ok’ and have the necessary information to enable recovery.

Notifying the Lead Road Captain by radio or mobile telephone as soon as possible.

The Sweep Rider should have a mobile telephone and the appropriate emergency phone numbers to be used in the event of a breakdown or a mishap.

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