Group riding is a fun activity for people of all ages, and there are many ways to participate in a group ride. Group rides with friends and family is the most common. In any group ride scenario, follow these safety tips when riding in a group:
It’s not a race!
Riding together is not a competition (unless you’re racing), so ride at the group’s pace and enjoy the ride.
Be aware of spacing.
Start slowly and try to keep a bicycle length gap between your bike and the one in front of you. Ride close and in two lines when possible for better visibility. On a narrow road or on hilly or winding roads, move to a single file line to allow cars to pass. Don’t allow space for a vehicle to fit between you and the next rider. When riding at night, allow a little extra space for position changes. Try to keep three feet of clearance between you and other bicycles in the pack.
Ride predictably and slow safely.
Don’t make sudden movements to the left or right, and keep your pace steady with the pack. Know how to properly adjust your speed, and slow with control and caution. If you want to stop to rest, pull off the road completely and allow other bicyclists to pass you on the left. Never brake suddenly, unless there is an EMERGENCY situation.
Watch out for yourself and others.
Notify others of an obstacle in the path with a hand signal. Do not shout out to others to warn them of the obstacle, and don’t make abrupt movements on your bike.
Announce aloud what moves you plan to make on the road, like saying “stopping”, “turning left”, or “slowing down.” If you need to fall to the back to rest, clearly state your intentions and ensure the riders around you know what you intend to do. Point out nearby obstacles to alert the group, and signal all turns.
Be prepared and take care of yourself.
Keep hydrated and eat for energy. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion. Ride at a pace you can maintain for the majority of the ride.
In Large Organized Rides
(like medical cause rides and bike club rides)
Cyclists of all skill levels – from the curious beginner to the avid expert – will participate in these types of group rides, so be prepared to deal with every situation and put safety first.
In Racing or Race Training Rides
This type of group ride is very different. Some racers will purposefully swerve to prevent those behind them from passing. Some will lurk behind the front runners to draft for the majority of the race, then sprint in the final stretch toward the finish line. These make for exciting races for both the racers and the spectators.
Group rides are a great way for children to increase their skill level and enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family. Children should always be properly equipped to ride with a well-fitting helmet and bicycle. If you know a child cyclist that needs a helmet they can’t afford, please fill out this form.
Adults should ride on the outside flank of the child, closest to traffic, and help point out upcoming obstacles (like opening car doors, cars pulling out of alleys or side streets, and turning vehicles) to children. If there are enough adult cyclists, they can form a “bubble” around children cyclists to protect them from obstacles and traffic. Resist the urge to pull ahead and “lead” your child on your bike.