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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 5/20/2005 8:02 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Maybe it's because we all watched CHiPs on tv back in the 70's. Or maybe because humans tend to want to be social beasts. But riding cycles side-by-side in one lane is not a good idea. CHips was just a tv show, and most scenes where done on a trailer with the bikes riding on top. Also, the REAL motorcops are highly trained professional riders.
 
Years ago I used to ride side-by-side with friends. It seemed we were always trying to talk to each other (not a good idea), and I was usually on the inside line, constantly watching the side of the lane and road edge to watch for problems, cracks, uneven road sections, etc. It wasn't as comfortable as when I was on the road by myself because I was constantly worrying about the other bike.
 
There are many reasons NOT to ride side-by-side;
1) Two cycles in one lane are wider than one car or truck. It "may" be good for visibility, but it leaves little room for error on either riders part. Why limit your options?
2)  You have to depend on your riding buddies capabiilties, attitude, skills, judgement, experience level to maintain a safe gap and control. We have enough to be concerned with our own riding. Why mix in another factor that will impact your riding?
3)  If something happens, say a car pulling out turning right into your lane, your options are limited. What if you have to suddenly move over, and you riding buddy wasn't paying attention? He/she has just compromised your options and put you into a further tight spot. As a riding buddy, I would never want to be responsible for my riding partner's possible injury.
4)  You might be a great rider, tons of experience, capabilities above average, attention levels above normal, excellant visual processing, but is your riding buddy everything equal and more? Has he/she experienced all you have and possess the same skills?
5)  You each react differently to stressfull conditions. You may be handle an emergency condition easliy because of your training and preparedness. Is your riding buddy exactly your equal?
6) What if your buddy suffers a serious brain fart and is suddenly into your lane section or bike?
7) Think of the MSF training where we stressed maintian a safety cushion all around you, or about utilizing your lane position to communicate or increase visibility. Riding close together violates that logic.
8) One of the benefits of group riding is you have extra eyes on the road, you can get info from other rider;s reactions. You can also learn from their riding style, and line through curves, etc. But, you really can't view this or have an opportunity to see what their doing if you are right next to them.
9) If you are constantly concerned about the other bike, then you have lost part of your riding focus. Someday you'll miss something critital that will affect both of you.
10) Riding in a staggered pattern gives the leading rider more room, and the option of indicating hazards to the following riders.
10) Cycle riding is one endeavour that allows us to be totally selfish, our riding is for us alone. Why give up part of the pleasure of YOUR ride, by worrying about the person next to you? And if you aren't worried about them next to you, you should be, because something WILL happen eventually.  
 
So, don't ride side-by-side, especially on any road anywhere near any city. I think the only place I might consider a brief side-by-side is in South Dakota on I-90, or maybe out in the middle of Nowhere Nebraska or Nevada. But, where do you see most side-by-side riders? On in-city interstates, or local backroads in the country, even on city streets (the absolute WORST place for it). If a cycle I don't know pulls up next to me I back off. If a meet a new rider and we decide to ride together I tell him/her I ride a staggered pattern. I have done thousands of miles in group rides with the BMW touring club I'm in. I have learned a lot from my fellow riders and enjoyed RIDING MY RIDE along with a group. Enjoy your ride!
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Tros
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   Posted 5/20/2005 8:16 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
  Sticky!


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GeoffG
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   Posted 5/20/2005 9:25 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hmmm...now, I agree completely with Andy, but in my experience riding side-by-side is not an issue, because I've not only never done it, I never see anyone else doing it either! Now, I live in Canada...
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1Hawk
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   Posted 5/20/2005 9:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

There is a time and place for everything.  While we normally ride staggered around town, out on the open road there are times when we ride axle to axle.  As you say, it isn't safe in an area where there is a multitude of safety issues but on the open road we have done this for years with no problems at all.

 

Hawk


In Nature, as in Society, most Creatures are Friendly.  The Secret, is Knowing those that are Not.  Therefore, Knowledge becomes the Key to Understanding.

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Tros
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   Posted 5/20/2005 11:10 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
No doubt. On the open straights side-by-side isnt too bad. Thing is, some people don't know when to stop the side-by-side riding in certain situations. The worst thing to see is a rookie rider riding side-by-side. Alot of bad things can happen when a rookie panics.


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1Hawk
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   Posted 5/20/2005 12:53 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Kansas said,

"No doubt. On the open straights side-by-side isnt too bad. Thing is, some people don't know when to stop the side-by-side riding in certain situations. The worst thing to see is a rookie rider riding side-by-side. Alot of bad things can happen when a rookie panics.

 

I agree totally Kansas.  Those of us that do ride axle to axle have been doing it for a long time and because of this we know each others style and comfort factor.  A newb has no business in this situation and because of their limited experience makes things worse for those around them in terms of safety.  In town, forget it, it isn't safe at all.

 

Hawk


In Nature, as in Society, most Creatures are Friendly.  The Secret, is Knowing those that are Not.  Therefore, Knowledge becomes the Key to Understanding.

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Kathlene
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   Posted 5/20/2005 1:10 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I work with the CHP daily, so I asked a moto unit why they rode side by side (and they do ) and he said that is how they are trained. He said that in training they actually do courses where they are riding side by side, they practice bumping into each other.
I don't get it, and I usually don't do it. Only in the past couple of yrs have I rode up next to hubby, but only to get his attention and signal it time for a break.


 
.....aloha from San Diego, California
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1Hawk
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   Posted 5/20/2005 3:07 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Here's a little incident that occurred last year in Orange County while 2 Officers were riding axle to axle.  I thought you would find it interesting.

 

Hawk

 

MOTORCYCLE OFFICER HURT ON FREEWAY

(From Orange County Register, 2 June 04)

IRVINE, CA. A Costa Mesa Police motorcycle officer was injured Sunday night when he was struck from behind by a motorcycle traveling at more than 100 mph, authorities said.
Officers Dennis Dickens, 39, and Tony Yannizzi, 48, were riding side by side at about 65 mph in the southbound car-pool lane of the San Diego (I-405) Freeway when the collision took place just north of Jamboree Road, police said.
A third motorcycle, driven by Javier Gasga, 33, of Mission Viejo, ran into Dickens’ motorcycle from behind, police say. Dickens landed on Yannizzi’s motorcycle and tried to hold onto Yannizzi’s left leg but lost his grip and fell to the pavement, police said.
Gasga was catapulted onto Dickens’ motorcycle and rode it for about a quarter mile before losing control and crashing.
Yannizzi stopped his motorcycle, ran to Gasga and pulled him out of traffic. He then ran to Dickens, who was trying to crawl to safety.
“When I saw my partner rolling and bouncing, I thought for sure he was dead,” Yannizzi said.
Dickens suffered abrasions and a cracked pelvis.
Gasga, who suffered a collapsed lung, was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving.


In Nature, as in Society, most Creatures are Friendly.  The Secret, is Knowing those that are Not.  Therefore, Knowledge becomes the Key to Understanding.

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Smitty
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   Posted 5/20/2005 6:10 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Never rode side by side in my life of riding. Fact is I do NOT like riding with groups as I am a solo rider. True in my earlier yrs I would sometimes go along with the club to some picknic thing BECAUSE so many of them helped us in competitions be it scoring, doing paper-work, helping to get the course ready, cleaning up after, being flag people, or Observers so it was in respect to them & their work that I would attend & they KNEW I was a loner.

I would usually ride tail-end-charlie & if we had probelms with a bike dropping back OFTEN I could cure it in minutes or had the ability to scoot up to the front & tell the lead rider to hold back due to a probelm farther back.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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CaddmannQ
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   Posted 5/21/2005 12:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
1Hawk said...Javier Gasga.. ran into Dickens’ motorcycle from behind...Dickens landed on Yannizzi’s motorcycle...Gasga was catapulted onto Dickens’ motorcycle...
That is frickin' amazing! It's like something you'd see in one of those faked-up Hollywood motorcycle movies.
 
As for the side-by-side thing, this is something I rarely do, and never at anything but low LOW speeds.
 
A parade is one thing, but touring down the highway in a column of ducks is a totally different animal.


Cadd
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Smitty
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   Posted 5/21/2005 2:57 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
When two of us were honking it along in the dirt. We got to where one would take the right & the other would take the left. Only by that I mean like staggered two riders & especially in the spring we knew much of the terrain we were riding in. We both knew no matter what sort of water-hole we might come to the one first approaching it & knowing it was deep THEN he could swing to the other side as the other rider would be prepared. It took a few yrs to get a fellow comp rider that would think as we both did & believe me it payed off. Sure we both might race to a patch of muck, so we could rooster-tail the other rider, but then again we thought so much alike. Still note we rode in a staggered form & not axle to axle.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 5/22/2005 5:31:13 AM GMT

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 5/21/2005 9:18 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I agree with all the responses. Up here in Wisconsin I see a LOT of riders side-by-side, on city streets, two-lane highways (called letter roads by some), interstate, and even VERY busy inner-city interstate like in Milwaukee. Maybe it's just more prevalent up here, but I do see it a lot.

Sure, when you're out in the middle of nowhere, I90 in South Dakota, or I2 in Iowa, it might be ok to ride side-by-side, but that's about the only time I could justify it. I like the comment about newbies not riding side-by-side, and it goes with my comment about how can you learn from other riders if they're right next to you. If a newbie follows another rider they have a better view and opportunity to learn.

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intechpc
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   Posted 5/22/2005 7:15 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I don't trust anyone enough to ride axle to axle.  I and a couple of guys from work go out quite often on lunch with our bikes.  We always ride staggered and even that takes my utmost concentration to pull off safely.  Being trained to do it is one thing but with a group of guys just out for a ride, I can't see myself ever being comfortable with that.

Now, staggered versus single file I can tell you I'm riding staggered every time.  It's a safety thing.


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karen627
An object at rest CANNOT BE STOPPED!!



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   Posted 5/23/2005 2:57 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
If a newbie follows another rider they have a better view and opportunity to learn.

Hmm.  Well, since you're an MSF instructor and I'm a total beginner, I'm gonna tell you you're wrong.  lol  Well, no, I won't...  But if you have a moment, I'd like to know what you think of my approach to riding with someone else?

I passed the MSF BRC a little over 2 months ago, just rode my first 500 miles, and only a week or so ago got comfortable getting the bike up to 55 mph (the speed limit for a lot of the roads around here, if you want to go anywhere).  My husband, on the other hand, has a lot more experience.  When we ride, I take the lead and he rides a little bit behind me (staggered, obviously).  The reasoning is that it's better if he's "stuck" behind me going a little slower than he's capable of (say, my 53-55mph on a 55mph road, rather than his 60-65mph), rather than him in front unwittingly going faster than I can handle. 

We tried riding today with him taking the lead, and neither of us liked it.  I didn't like it because he'd have occasional moments where he'd go just a little bit faster than I liked (he'd realize it pretty quickly and slow back down -- I wasn't going to speed up to catch him); and he didn't like it because he couldn't both watch the road and always be able to see that I was doing okay.

I thought letting the newbie set the pace would be better...?


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intechpc
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   Posted 5/23/2005 6:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I also thought I remembered being taught in the MSF to put the newbies at the front of the pack in a group ride.  Am I not remembering correctly?   I understand Andy's point and he's right that you can learn quite a bit by riding behind an experienced rider and seeing how they handle things, but I do believe that contradicts what th MSF tells us.



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CaddmannQ
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   Posted 5/23/2005 7:45 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
My experience is that multiple newbies on a group ride is a bad idea. You should break up into smaller groups with one newbie to a group.

The newbies should at first spend some time out in front of the group, so they may be observed by the other members. After this they should spend some time at the tail of the group, but should never be the very last (sweep) rider.

What you will find is that people will often ride better and faster when they are in the front, and will ride slower and more poorly when they are in the rear. This IMHO has everything to do with divided attention. A rider in fornt has only the road and any oncomming traffic to monitor. A rider behind must also watch the rider(s) in front of him. The sweep rider watches the entire group. The distraction of seeing those who ride before you --when they brake, turn in, etc. distracts you from the perception of your own ride.

Still, a newbie on a group ride should be allowed to take various positions once he and the group are comfortable with that, so that they learn to cope with what that part of the ride entails.


Cadd
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1Hawk
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   Posted 5/23/2005 12:19 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I agree totally Cadd.  I often find it refreshing to actually follow behind the newb at a safe distance;  only because they do have a tendency to be unpredictable and often don't hold good lines.  Also is the fact that I can't help them if I can't see what they are doing be it positive or negative in the greater scheme of riding.  On a group ride I want the newb at the rear just in front of the sweep rider so they can get used to riding in a pack and they have someone with them who is experienced.  I would rather not put a newb in the middle or up front until they have been with us for a while and there experience has a solid foundation.  Either way it is the safety of the pack that must come first.....

 

Hawk 


In Nature, as in Society, most Creatures are Friendly.  The Secret, is Knowing those that are Not.  Therefore, Knowledge becomes the Key to Understanding.

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 5/23/2005 8:12 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey thanks everyone for reminding me of one of the main rules of group riding, especially with newbies (group riding being anything more than one bike). The newbie sets the pace, not the experienced riders. the exception being a formal group ride with a ride captain and sweep. Then the ride captain sets the pace, but being aware of the pace of the group as a whole. The hazard of a newbie following an experienced rider is the feeling of having to catch up or keep up. Sorry if I mislead anyone, and I appreciate the input and correction. Guess an old road dog can still learn, or at least be reminded.
 
Whenever I group ride it is always in a staggered pattern, not single file, unless some hazard, road conditions or circumstance is better for single file. Like, fun curvy roads. If a person in the group drops out the staggered pattern readjusts and everyone moves to the new position.
 
For riders with some experience, and a good comfort level, being in the group behind some experienced riders does give the rider some instruction about lane positions, line through a turn, braking markers, etc.
Again, thanks everyone. I prefer to be challenged about a subject, that means people are thinking about it!
Enjoy your ride!
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RedDog
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   Posted 5/23/2005 8:26 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Excellent one Andy! Hope to meet you in Wisconsin. If we get time for a ride, I give you space.


RedDog
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1Hawk
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   Posted 5/23/2005 11:34 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Understanding that the newb should for all practical purposes be the weakest link, the ride captain should base the pace on that rider as opposed to pushing the riders limits.  Often I will ask the newb how they are doing and if they are comfortable with the pace.  I will check this answer with the sweep privately in an effort to be sure the newb is doing ok as opposed to being all over the place because they are being pushed.

 

Hawk


In Nature, as in Society, most Creatures are Friendly.  The Secret, is Knowing those that are Not.  Therefore, Knowledge becomes the Key to Understanding.

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CaddmannQ
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   Posted 5/24/2005 7:34 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I've always felt that on a group ride that all riders should have a reasonable knowlege of every other rider's experience and capabilities, and respect that knowlege.
 
If folks on a ride don't know what to expect from each other, they will sometimes get the unexpected.
 
This sad story came from the Vulcan forum recently:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Out on a group ride, 6 bikes. I am mid-pack. the bike in front starts dragging his pegs through a left hander, then he low-sides and starts sliding.

I move to the right, as well as I can in a left hand turn, and as I am going around him, his bike flips (low-side to high-side) and as it rolled it hit my bike. I went down on the right hand side of my bike and rolled over the handlebars.
 
The impact tore the throttle body right off the engine block, as well as damaging gas tank, fender, possibly bent frame, etc. The Ins. company declared it a total loss.
 
I was extremely lucky and walked away with some cuts and bruises. I managed to avoid a head-on collision with the bike, as well as a telephone pole and fence after I went down.
 
The other rider did not make it. He died of head trauma the next day, in spite of the efforts to save him."

++++++++++++++++++++

This is the sort of thing that happens when riders are not aware of each other's skills. The author had too much faith in the rider ahead of him, and was following too closely. When the first rider went down, he was taken out too. 


Cadd
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GeoffG
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   Posted 5/24/2005 8:42 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Cadd, reading that story--it's tragic, but I have to ask: helmets? As in, yes or no?

C'mon people, a simple low-side (or even a high-side) at reasonable speed shouldn't result in death, especially not from "head trauma," especially not in this day and age of high-tech, effective helmets.

I know, my questions have little to do with the question at hand (relative spacing of riders in a group), but still...
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pms07
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   Posted 5/24/2005 9:08 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
CaddmannQ said...
My experience is that multiple newbies on a group ride is a bad idea. You should break up into smaller groups with one newbie to a group.

The newbies should at first spend some time out in front of the group, so they may be observed by the other members. After this they should spend some time at the tail of the group, but should never be the very last (sweep) rider.

What you will find is that people will often ride better and faster when they are in the front, and will ride slower and more poorly when they are in the rear. This IMHO has everything to do with divided attention. A rider in fornt has only the road and any oncomming traffic to monitor. A rider behind must also watch the rider(s) in front of him. The sweep rider watches the entire group. The distraction of seeing those who ride before you --when they brake, turn in, etc. distracts you from the perception of your own ride.

Still, a newbie on a group ride should be allowed to take various positions once he and the group are comfortable with that, so that they learn to cope with what that part of the ride entails.

You've got it exactly correct I think.  Recently did a group ride as part of MC mentor program.  8 riders total with 3 of us very experienced road captain types (over 30 years riding/instructing each), 2 moderately experienced and 3 fairly new riders (<1-6 months riding each).  It was a good ride but the main lesson for me was that the group was too big.  We broke up into groups of 4 and that was more practical, then into two groups of 2 and one group of 4 to accomadate varying experience levels.  It worked out but in the future I think we'll do more individual evaluation of experience and skils prior to deciding group size...
 
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GeoffG
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   Posted 5/28/2005 11:14 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
GeoffG said...
...in my experience riding side-by-side is not an issue, because I've not only never done it, I never see anyone else doing it either! Now, I live in Canada...

OK, I take this back. Just this afternoon, I came up on and passed a pair of Harley riders going down the (rural, 2-lane, somewhat curvy) highway side by side. I'd really never noticed it before...
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CaddmannQ
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   Posted 5/29/2005 6:40 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
GeoffG said...
Cadd, reading that story--it's tragic, but I have to ask: helmets? As in, yes or no?

C'mon people, a simple low-side (or even a high-side) at reasonable speed shouldn't result in death, especially not from "head trauma," especially not in this day and age of high-tech, effective helmets.

I know, my questions have little to do with the question at hand (relative spacing of riders in a group), but still...
I don't know about the helmets. It was on a cruiser forum, so it's likely that the helmets were either small or non-existant, but I can't say for certain.


Cadd
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