Group Riding

Group Riding

atv rider

“The more, the merrier,” is how the old saying goes. How nice if that were always true.

The truth is, when it comes to motorized vehicles, perhaps another saying would be more appropriate: ” Two’s company, three’s a crowd.”

Before you draw the conclusion that I’m not in favor of group rides, perhaps I should mention that I consider group rides to be wonderful social and educational events. They are an important part of the ATV sport. However, those who participate should recognize that there are several inherent dangers to this form of the sport: 1.) Following too close, 2.) Dust white out, 3.) Maintaining a speed beyond the ability of all the members of the riding group, 4.) Managing group size, 5.) Maintaining communication within the group.

Following Too Close

Following too close is the cause for many broken fenders and bent racks on ATVs. It can also result in serious injuries to their occupants. In many areas following too close is not a problem because the dust from the ATV in front of you would be too thick to swallow. However, there are some who will still try to stay within arm’s reach of their riding buddies. Group rides should be planned with instruction that riders following one another should never be any closer than 30 feet behind the rider in front.

Dusty White Out

Group Riding

Large group activities are especially prone to creating a greater than normal amount of dust. If rides are conducted in “pods” as described above, this will be minimized, but never will it be eliminated. Even on a cold day in March, you will still find a dust cloud behind a group of riders.

A white out occurs when there is so much dust that a person can no longer see the trail or the rider in front of them. The appropriate thing under such conditions is to do is to reduce your speed so that there is sufficient space between the riders so as to permit the breeze to clear the visual path between the riders. Keep in mind that you are responsible to maintain a distance of 30 feet between you and the rider in front of you. DO NOT STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL. If you feel that conditions are so limited that you cannot proceed, you need to pull out of the trail so that those behind you do not run into the back end of you. If you cannot see, chances are the person in back of you is suffering from the same problem. Do not stay in the trail if you must stop!

Speed Beyond Control Varies by Individual

When it comes to speed and control there is no question that the skinnier you are the better agility and control you will have on an ATV. Does this mean that those of us who suffer from the effects of too many years behind a desk should not ride? No, absolutely not. But when it comes to people of different body types riding together the laws of physics do not permit people to have the same ability to go around corners safely at the same speed. Those with greater body mass require slower speeds in order to make a turn and not lose control. The laws of physics require that momentum travel in a straight line. Please trust me on this. There is a gravestone in the Salt Lake City cemetery with my very own brother’s name on it, at this very moment, simply because there was too little attention given to the limitations and capabilities of the total membership of a motorcycle riding club. The same laws of physics apply to ATVs.


Categories: ATV Riding Basics

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