Some groups I want to ride with have members that dont follow the basic group riding style described in this article on Women Riders Now and elsewhere. Over time (a year) their poor group riding behavior has not improved. I quit riding with that group because I havent figured out a polite but effective way to discuss the safety issue with this rider (or two actually). What do you suggest I do?
A WRN Reader in Portland, Oregon
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List of Womens Motorcycle Riding Groups
Safe Riding Tips: Riding in a Group
How to Start a Motorcycle Riding Club
23 thoughts on How Do I Politely Leave a Motorcycle Riding Group?
Easy — just leave. If people can’t understand you are watching out for YOUR own safety, then they really need to pull their heads out of their rears. I know with many riding groups that different experience levels are all mixed in, but first you ride YOUR ride. Second, if they aren’t being safe and the leader of the group has not addressed this with everyone I would run, not walk but put that baby in high gear and say see ya. I followed a group doing U-turns when I was a beginner and it scared me so bad that I thought I was safe and nope, because I got so confused on what they were doing (so many doing U-turns quickly and together) that I dropped my bike. Not the funnest thing ever to do.I just went on a group ride recently and I was seeing newbie riders ride up on people’s rear and all I could think was back off, and if they go down figure out game plan. I have seen way to many accidents occur with groups and that’s when I said no more. So again, if you aren’t watching out for you and they aren’t watching out for you, then get out.Groups can be fun riding in but with different levels and people not addressing the issue beforehand and saying what beginners and intermediate level riders need to know and understand, then no way should you feel bad for walking away from a riding club or group for any reason. If you feel the need just write the leader of the group to express your concerns and enjoy the independent riding life.
Leaving a motorcycle group could be a very difficult thing to do, especially when friendships and/or enemies have been made. Turn in all colors and other related items to the appropriate person in the club and leave the group quietly, but tell your club president that you still respect what everybody is doing, especially if you plan to hang out in the motorcycle community. Keep a smile on your face and never ever say anything derogatory about the group regardless of how you feel. It’s a delicate balance but you will be respected later for it. Don’t join another group right away, cool your heels. The grass is not greener on the other side.
I have been riding for a few years now, about 15, after a 20-plus-year hiatus.I have chosen to not ride with large groups, as there may be more of a chance of folks that do not know how to ride with a group. I have been with groups that get separated, lost, do not communicate before and during the ride, do not know how to keep an eye on the riders in front of them in back or how to handle the position they might find themselves in within the group.I stopped riding long ago with people I barely know, or do not know their riding skills. I just won’t take that chance after seeing many bonehead moves. As far as staying with a group exclusively? You are missing out on a lot of good riding if you want to go with the “mob-rules” type mentality. Any group that tells you who and where and when you can ride, well they aren’t worth my time or yours!
Leaving was easy for me. After a small bit of riding with this particular group, being left behind, unsafe riding, etc. I went for a ride with another group that I felt did everything right and I was very comfortable riding with. I posted on Facebook that I just had the best group ride ever, the president of the group took offense (too sensitive and she rides with them occasionally) made some comments, my fiancé made more comments “cause he didn’t want me riding with them because he was afraid for my safety.” The pres just took me off the chat group. Put me back then took me off. I just let it be. They were unsafe and did some really silly stuff like they are “junior high” so they weren’t for me. I don’t think you have to explain anything. You have to ride with people that make you feel safe.
At the first break, get out your cell phone and “answer” a call. Tell the ride leader that you have an urgent situation at home and you need to leave the ride (do let them know – don’t just disappear as they may be worried something happened to you and go looking for you). Always know the route and how to get home or at least bring maps with you so you can find a fun route to do to get back to your “emergency.”
I started riding 44 years ago and I have been in this same situation, many times over the years. I have seen many uncalled for accidents and bump ups. There is no reasoning, there is no “stating safety concerns” and there is no “inviting a speaker to outline safe riding” to this kind of group. The “bulletproof” attitudes will bring the peer pressure and the majority of the group members will follow along. I love to ride and I have been do very blessed in my many adventures. My preference is a small “group,” or better yet, just my hubby and me. I will not stay in a group that is unsafe. I do not have any issues in leaving a group ride that is misbehaving. The safety of my ride and others around me is more important than a polite, tactful excuse to leave. So just hold your head up, wave goodbye and don’t feel bad about it!
I agree with some of the riders here. You should explain yourself, but you don’t have to give them any more than you don’t want to limit yourself. If they push, stand your ground. You are not required to give them any more than a courteous “I appreciate and enjoy the camaraderie, but I don’t want to limit myself to one group.” These aren’t gangs, and friends should understand. They will understand and welcome you back anytime, or you didn’t need to be with them in the first place.
I belonged to a wonderful group whose leader was very safety conscious and would remove from the club anyone who rode reckless or was a drama queen or king. It was the best group. Then he handed the presidency over to another member who didn’t care who joined and we started getting people who didn’t ride safely and they were the ones who lead the majority of rides. There were accidents left and right. One evening I almost ran into a van in an attempt to keep up. I pulled over, waved the riders behind me to keep going and I left the ride. I had a nice relaxed ride along the river and I enjoyed it immensely. I didn’t ride too much last year because the club’s new members just weren’t as concerned with safety. Most of the former members have left the club. I don’t dislike the new leaders and members. It’s just that I don’t feel safe with them. Our original president looked out for everyone’s safety. The new riders don’t care. So, I ride solo now.
Only you can decide what is safe and comfortable for you. Do what’s right for you. In the past I was riding with a group that I was very uncomfortable with two of the five riders style. I discussed it at a lunch stop and it fell on deaf ears. Needless to say, by late afternoon, I just took my on path to our final destination. The three other riders that night at dinner stated that they wished they had known I was breaking off, cause they would of joined me. The next morning, I attempted to discuss my concerns over breakfast with no luck. I rode my on ride that entire day. You just gotta do whats right for you .I do so much solo riding. I find very few select friends that I enjoy riding with. Ride safe.
Just got a call and have to cut out and head home. Enjoy the rest of your ride and get home safe.
I was in a similar situation last summer. People that I’d ridden with in the past had gotten very reckless and arrogant in their riding style. I notified a friend (who is a very safe rider) that I was going to leave the group and return home. It is important to ride your own ride, at your comfort level. If there are any safer riding people in the group, perhaps you could approach them, discuss your concerns, and initiate your own group of “safety first” riders.
Tough question. I am an instructor. I’ve seen both options used by riders of the group: 1) talking with the bad riders, and 2) just leaving the group, each possibly can have a disappointing outcome. I’ve found some solutions. Have an instructor come in and give a seminar or open discussion, upgrade the rules and bylaws and have people sign it for each ride with a release form. Have the leader of the group pull the poor riders aside and talk to them. Accidents happen quickly and they can be very serious caused by a simple mistake or lack of thought. Most of the time every rider is trying to do their best but everyone is at a different level and can only be as good as their experience. Everyone should practice more. Good luck!
Tough question. I am an instructor. I’ve seen both options used by riders of the group: 1) talking with the bad riders, and 2) just leaving the group, each possibly can have a disappointing outcome. I’ve found some solutions. Have an instructor come in and give a seminar or open discussion, upgrade the rules and bylaws and have people sign it for each ride with a release form, have the leader of the group pull the poor riders aside and talk to them. Accidents happen quickly and they can be very serious caused by a simple mistake or lack of thought. Most of the time every rider is trying to do their best but everyone is at a different level and can only be as good as their experience. Everyone should practice more. Good luck!
I don’t think I’d make a “deal” out of it. Just don’t ride with them anymore. If anyone in the group asks you why you’re not showing up for rides, a simple, “I’m not comfortable riding in a group; I don’t feel safe riding with the group.” Try to find a group that you are comfortable with. I like to ride at the back (as in the very last bike) with large groups of people where I don’t know their riding styles, that way I can observe what they do and how they behave toward each other and I can give myself plenty of room to react to unsafe behavior, including making a u-turn and going home if need be. Our HOG group is very safe, but we occasionally participate in large group rides and some of those folks make me very nervous.
I don’t think I’d be so worried about being polite. I’m very safety oriented, so if a group is riding in a way I’m not comfortable with I’m just out. I’ve actually left in the middle of a ride for this reason.If you do really enjoy the group, aside from the riding issues, simply state your case for why they might change some of their riding practices. But I’m with Gail; I don’t think it’ll happen. Get your own group of like-minded folks and ride on.
Maybe you could offer to host a group riding class as an opening for discussion.
Why do you need to give any explanation as to why you’re leaving the group? Your safety comes first, so if you want to leave for whatever reason, just leave and keep it moving. You don’t owe them anything. There’s other riding groups near you. Check on Facebook and Meetup.com.
It is my time to take the road less traveled. I simply feel safer away from it all. You darlings will always be my friend! Most groups are unsafe. Last month two female riders died in a group ride mishap. You would not have written this letter if you were up to confronting those who lead the group. Vote for safety and happiness always.
This is a tricky situation. Large groups that are not formalized with a leadership structure and regular group ride training are bound to be more dangerous. Either select a riding group that is large and well-structured where you can bring the riding concerns to the attention of leadership, or ride with a small group of riders you know well enough to comfortably discuss riding style and form agreements.Except for a couple special situations, I ride solely with my husband and a few select friends… but then again, I ride mostly to get away from people. LOL!
If your group doesn’t have bylaws, maybe you could suggest a class for the group. Or better yet, offer a seminar on group riding. There are plenty of hints and tips on various forums on the internet. I would not directly approach the people in question as they may think you are being condescending. Some people ride like they do for lack of knowing any better. Good luck!
I don’t have enough info about your group or groups, but I’ll try to offer some sort of help. Most organized groups, clubs, etc. have a designated leader. If so, then you and the other safe riders bring this issue to them. Or if you are a little bolder, confront the people in question and ask if the could ride be more considerate to the others by riding safer. There are other things you can do, but I am running out of space. If you can’t find a solution, then when you and your group are together just say, “I’m sorry but I cannot ride with you folks due the infringement of my safety while riding with some of you. Thank you.”
Start your own riding group. Unless there are bylaws and written rules governing the group, anything you say to the person(s) is going to fall on deaf ears unless there are consequences for poor group riding.
Here is a story we did on How To Start a Riding Group for those interested.