[Elist] The "Sweep" Rider

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 16 14:49:42 PET 2011

A guideline  by John Del Santo
When a ride is being planned and set up, one rider takes the responsibility of being the Ride Leader. The Leader's job is to set the rules, and also chooses a responsible, experienced person to be the  “Sweep” Rider or “Back Door”….the very last bike in line. There should be an alternate Sweep so that if the main Sweep needs to stop for someone, the alternate then takes over right away. Ideally, the Sweep rider has some means of communication with the Ride Leader. The Sweep will be keeping their eye on the group in front of them and if someone in the group is riding unsafely and endangering other riders, should not hesitate telling them to behave or leave….Don’t worry, their feelings have been hurt before.   
The Sweep should know the route of travel or the final destination for the ride.  At the pre-ride talk,  all riders should be told that if they need to leave the ride unexpectedly….they should wave-off the Sweep rider so the Sweep knows that there is not a problem. At the pre-ride meeting the Leader and Sweep should discuss what method they want to use to accomplish lane changes.  When riders in the front of the group make Right-turns-on-Red, that tends to leave riders in the back of the group stranded….So it’s a good idea to avoid this practice on group rides. 
On the Freeway some riders act as if permitting a car to cross their column of bikes is a violation of their religious and constitutional rights, and can make a driver already in a panic about missing his exit quite dangerous.  Do address this problem...It's best to ride in sub-groups of four to six bikes and provide a gap of four or more car lengths between each sub-group.  We are not a “convoy”.  We are individual vehicles.  Even Army convoys and funeral processions lose their right to individuality once they enter a freeway.   Anyone leading a ride should be aware of a strange quirk of Physics that happens.   In one big, long group….If the lead rider is going a steady 65 MPH, then the riders in the back of the pack will be going 85 MPH. ? ? ?   Maybe an Engineer could explain that.               Regarding group rides read more at :
 :http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/streetsurvival/group_motorcycle_safety/viewall.html#ixzz1XvsZSM9e  (thanks for the info).
The Ride Leader will always signal early, and slow down gradually.   Periodically riders should check the riders following in their rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down a little so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without the unsafe pressure of doing the “100 MPH Catch-Up” Trick. 
If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.
Enjoy each other’s company, but ride your own ride. 
Read more at on group rides at :  www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Group_​Ride.pdf
In the event of one of the group riders having a breakdown, a slip & slide, an unplanned dismount,  a collision, or a medical problem….. That’s when the Sweep rider becomes in charge of the area. He or She will send someone to call for whatever help is needed,  will send another rider at least a quarter-mile down the road to stand OFF the roadway and slow down oncoming traffic,  and then the Sweep sends everyone else away from the scene….up the road to a wide safe area….. Everyone will want to stand around the scene and be concerned,  but you don’t need a big clump of people standing next to the road waiting to be slammed into by an inebriated or distracted driver coming around the bend.  The only riders that stay will be someone who is a Nurse, Doctor, EMT or Mechanic…. depending on who is needed. 
Quote for the Day :  There is no bigger pain in the butt than someone who shows up for a group ride with an almost-empty gas tank.  

   John Del Santo
    ( 619 ) 223 - 0421
  At Intersections,  and 
  In Your Blind Spots,
 "Check Twice for Motorcycles".  

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