Here’s the good news – we ride our scooters! While others sit back and appreciate the look of their scooters, work on them with their bare hands, make them into monuments of ingenious upgrades and add-ons, we use our scooters for their God-given gift of moving us around with pleasure! Our lot is much better, we think. But it does require us to use other skills besides using our hands to make scooters fun!
We ride as a group – cuz, hey, nothing looks cooler than a bunch of us nerds going down the street. We turn heads, everywhere we go! But let’s get from Point A to Point B successfully – it doesn’t look cool when one of us does something during our group ride that causes the rest of us to look like dweebs (do people still use that word?).
So here are some BASIC rules to follow, when you go on a group ride with us.
For the uninitiated, don’t worry about getting lost, or not keeping up, or which route will be travelled. In most group ride situations, someone is assigned to be the Ride Lead for the group, and someone to be the “Sweep” (who makes sure he/she is the last one to arrive, and will make sure those at the end get to their destination safely). Routes are specifically chosen to accommodate all scoots in the ride. This is especially true of every LSG group ride. All you have to do is hang out in the middle and be a good “middle rider.”
Scooters are little, and so are hard for people in cars to see. That is why we ride in staggered lines. We’re bigger that way! A staggered line is such that two scoots can fit across one lane, but are “staggered,” so no scoot is directly beside another. Scoots in staggered position are typically .5 to 1 second apart. This means, if you are on the right side of the lane, you’ll have a scooter to your left about a half second away. Following another scooter on the same side of the lane, however, really should be a full second away. But let’s face it. When going slowly, it’s probably okay to leave less space. Just leave more space the faster you go. And always, regardless of speed, leave yourself an “out” – always look for where you can go in case the scooters in front of you or beside you do something that might cause you to crash.
If someone is not paying attention and is weaving back and forth across the lane, not staying true to his/her position, all the scoots behind must re-adjust to maintain the staggered positioning. Which is why, if you are, say, the third scooter in a group ride, and you’re moving back and forth across the lane mindlessly, you’re gonna cause the folks behind you to get upset. Any extra movement for the whole group to make adds more opportunity for stupid things to happen. So don’t be “that person.” Pay attention and stay in position.
When stopping, pull along side your lane “partner.” He/she is probably pretty cool to talk to! When going, whomever of you was in front again takes the front. If turning onto a cross road, keep the same position.
Are there times we ride single file? Yes! This is up to the Ride Leader to determine if necessary. He/she will give the signal to get into single file if needed (see the next blog “Hand Signals”). Winding, narrow roads are such a time. Roads where visibility may be compromised is another. Rides requiring multiple turns in short order should be in single file. Drastic hills up or down as well. Remember to leave plenty of room between you and the scooter in front!
Next blog: Hand signals. We are amazingly adept at communicating with our hands, so we’ll use them.
Debbie Swanson, our Safety Officer, will provide safety tips and links from time to time. Debbie has been riding for over 10 years and was also an instructor for Master Drive for 12 years. She is a card carrying member of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation...so listen up and stay safe!