When To Turn Around to See What Happened to Your Buddy?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Ray916MN, Oct 15, 2021.

  1. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Jul 23, 2010
    Central Minn.
    KLR riders don't leave friends or even asshats behind. :bmwrider
    We gots standards.

    klr_riders of redwing.jpg
    strommonster and miller806 like this.
  2. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

    Dec 20, 2007
    Delaware Ohio
    Any time I lead my friends/brother (no more than maybe four rider) I am all about watching the mirrors to make sure all is good.

    I had it happen where that almost didn't pay off. We were on dirt roads in WV. My friend wasn't showing up in the rearview mirrors. I went back, but there was an intersection that could have gotten me on the wrong track. I went toward the dead end where we turned around. There he was standing by the T10, tipped to the low side of the terrain. He could have dragged it around wreaking havoc with the body panels and bags, or wait until I came back. Took both of us to get it upright.

    I will say we also will normally stop at intersections if turning at that intersection.
    davidji likes this.
  3. Ray916MN

    Ray916MN Dim Mak

    Apr 23, 2011
    Orono, MN
    I'm pretty sure he was with another rider as he had me look up the guy on his phone and try to contact him. There was no signal so couldn't contact him.

    The rider who crashed was on an HD cruiser, wearing a mesh jacket, jeans, boots and short light riding gloves. The BMW rider who I presume was his buddy was on a R1250GS Rallye wearing an Aerostich. The rider crashed at the beginning of a very twisty 7mile section of 421. He mentioned that his buddy would be waiting for him down the road. I suspect the real issue was a big mismatch in riding skills leading to large gaps when the road twists and the desire of the leading rider to being able to enjoy the road and the trailing rider not desiring to hold the leading rider up, so it was understood that the lead rider wouldn't keep track of the trailing rider while riding the stretch.

    As we grow older and our selection of riding friends shrink maybe we compromise on who we ride with leading to these situations. Probably more important with age to ride with others and probably increasingly hard to find good riding partner fits.

    It dawned on me while driving home, that the reason I was riding alone when I came upon the crashed rider was because my early 70s riding buddy (I'm early 60s) after 2 days of riding, was hit with extreme pain from trying to pass a kidney stone. Normally we're equal paced, but he disappeared on me after about 1 mile after an intersection, so I pulled over waited a bit and was getting ready to turn around when he appeared. With much pain and effort he was able to ride back to the hotel but I was prepared to ride back to get my truck if he hadn't been able to make it.

    I foresee a day when I'll be carrying my PLB on street rides....
    mminob likes this.
  4. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Dec 11, 2015
    A corollary to this

    IF one decides to give up on a ride, let someone know.

    Someone I wont name (DAN) bailed on a ride.
    Then we spent a bit of time and effort trying to determine if he was in a ditch...

    only to later find him at his house.

    He bailed due to the weather suddenly going sour; with high winds and rain.
    Which we were hunting for him in.

    His lame excuse for leaving....

    He doesn't like to ride in the rain!
    bomose, doc moses and Meriden like this.
  5. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Feb 2, 2018
    I think I found his friend on the BMW

    Kaalsb likes this.
  6. JRMAL

    JRMAL Long timer

    Aug 6, 2015
    N. Michigan
    So true.

    It's kind of like watching your elderly mother driving..
    CA-Cincinnatus likes this.
  7. mminob

    mminob MotoHolic

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocean Beach,California
    That was nice of you to do what you could to help the fallen rider, and I'm sure anybody who is laying on the ground with a bike on top of them, would like some help ...

    With todays technology of the bike to bike communicators, or intercoms, it really is a great way to keep track of your riding buddies, friends, family, and talk to them while riding...

    You can sync your phone and even call 911 while laying on the ground, if you have signal ... Kinda pricy but may save you from a bad situation !:thumb

    Meriden likes this.
  8. Turtletownman

    Turtletownman Been here awhile

    Apr 27, 2014
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  9. steingar

    steingar higher life form

    Sep 27, 2010
    I was riding with my bother las May, and we haven't any communications gear. I realized that I was responsible for him while I was out front, I had to keep him in view in case anything happened. Very hard to do, he was all over the place.
    JRMAL likes this.
  10. r60man

    r60man Long timer

    Mar 14, 2013
    Centralish PA
    I have one good friend that I ride with. The rule has always been "ride your own ride", but within that we like to keep tabs in the mirror. You have to look in the mirror, so whats the big deal. The rider behind helps by positioning himself so that he can see the rider in front in the mirror, that way a quick glance, there he is all set. Road conditions and speed play a factor as well. But that is what works best for us.
  11. Gone in 60

    Gone in 60 Been here awhile

    Jan 19, 2013
    Orange County CA
    That was very good on you to stop and help that downed rider. I had a very similar situation a few years ago, coming up on a lady with a Honda Stateline laying on top of her in 405 rush hour traffic. It appeared that she panic stopped and fell over with the bike landing on her, since nobody had stopped to indicate that she had been in an accident with a car. In fact, it was infuriating that nobody was stopping for her at all. She had the wind knocked out of her, and her knees and elbows were scraped up. I was able to help her to the shoulder and call 911. About 20 minutes after the fire truck and ambulance had arrived to help, another lady rode up, saying that she had lost her friend in traffic, and had doubled back to look for her. She saw the emergency equipment and feared the worst.

    The biggest lesson I took away was to have my emergency contact easy to find on me if I'm ever in the same situation and can't communicate with anyone trying to help me.
    CA-Cincinnatus likes this.
  12. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

    May 17, 2010
    Star Tannery, VA
    I don't do group rides often and usually only with one or two other people. We ride loose and don't always have each other in sight but we wait and back track as needed from time to time. So yeah, the delay sounds pretty extreme as described IMHO.

    On the other hand...
    I really think folks should be capable of handling their own business and acknowledge that just because you are on a group ride doesn't mean help is coming, the exception might be noob rides where you're taking riders out on their first field trip. Perhaps that's an unfair assessment due to riding solo so much?

    I joined a planned group ride a month or so ago with 6 people and were riding a mix of backroads, gravel, and semi technical sections. A GPS track was provided and every rider was advised well in advance of the ride that they should download it and be able to follow the track if separated. It wasn't my ride and I hadn't organized it but we lost a guy. I and the ride leader/organizer stopped and the lost rider texted the ride leader that he had been behind me and I had taken off on him and he was lost. Turns out he also didn't have the GPS track. I had no idea I was supposed to be watching for him and was not running sweep so he must have gotten confused and rather than wait for the sweep made a wrong turn somewhere. We asked the rider to drop a pin on his phone so we could back track and get him. We backtracked to the location he was supposed to be at and he wasn't there. Couldn't reach him on his phone at that point either. We ended up heading north to where others were waiting on us and the guy showed up while we were filling up with gas. Turns out he decided not to wait for us and had taken off and found us by shear luck.

    He could have avoided it three ways: Download the track in advance as told to. Let folks know he had failed to download the track and would get lost if separated. Wait for the sweep before randomly making choices about what road or trail to take. Wait for us to get back to him. I felt bad for the guy, felt bad that I apparently played into his getting lost, felt bad about the time we spent looking for him too. And that's why I don't do many group rides.
  13. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

    Oct 19, 2004
    I tell anyone that I ride with that I will watch for them in the mirror and if I dont see them for a minute or so, I'll pull over and wait. also, I never make a turn until all riders have caught up. These are about the only hard and fast rules I have about riding with other people.

    These rules were born out of past experiences. On one trip I was traveling with five guys. I was the fourth rider, and the fifth rider pulled over with bike trouble. The other three disappeared down the highway, and didnt wait or come back to check on us. After at least a half hour, we managed to get his bike limping along. I was plenty pissed that they left us for dead on the hot prairie. We stopped in the next down, seeing their bikes parked in front of a cafe. The first thing one guy says is, "where were you guys?"

    Years later, I was riding gravel in a remote area of upper MI, in a group of 10 or more, when my friend wiped out. His bike tumbled over him and he looked pretty bad. The group rode on without us. No cell signal. After a while a local happened along and called for an ambulance with his CB radio. One of the other riders eventually did come back looking for us after the ambulance arrived--this was a good thing, as he could secure the bike while I went off to the hospital. My friend ended up in a hospital for days with a ruptured spleen.

    Anyone who rides with me will not be left broken down or injured. I expect the same consideration.
    CA-Cincinnatus and Speedy23 like this.
  14. Roads and Trails

    Roads and Trails Just Ridin' Along Supporter

    Jul 31, 2006
    The 505
    A few years ago I was on an epic multi state tour with my 11 year old granddaughter, Rose.

    In the middle of nowhere in South Dakota we came upon a crash scene. Full dress HD was in the ditch, upside down. Rider was near the bike covered in a blanket, it didn't look good.
    After slowly riding around the emergency vehicles we continued on.

    About 10 miles further I see another big Harley pulled off the road. The rider was on his cell phone.
    I turned around, stopped, and asked him if he was riding with some one. He said his friend should be right behind but isn't. He was upset.

    Fearing he was so distraught he might not ride well, I told him to follow me. He demanded to know what happened! I tried to be calm and told him to just
    stay behind me.

    We rode back to the scene and one of the cops pulled him aside him to talk.

    Rose got a big dose of real life that day.
  15. 3sum

    3sum local Triumph fanboy

    Aug 27, 2009
    Locust Grove, GA
    To eliminate these stories, I’ve only ridden with friends for years. We all know each other and our wives. We don’t stop if someone gets out of sight but will not make a turn until all are together. We generally only rode with 5 or 6 max in the group to keep it fairly tight and not create a train.
    Takataka likes this.
  16. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Mr. Dual Sport Rider

    Apr 3, 2006
    Meridian, ID
    The people that I regularly ride with like to get spread out a bit, especially off road. Give the dust time to settle.

    If I'm leading, I'll stop every once in a while at the end of a long straight until I see my riding buddy, then I'll continue on. But sometimes it's all tight stuff and I know that the guy behind me doesn't want to be in my dust, so it might be a while before I check. I've had two different cases this year with different riders where they dumped it and I didn't know for a while. The hard part is deciding how long to wait, since they might have stopped to take some photos or something. In one case the other rider dumped his T7 right at the last spot where I remembered seeing him behind me. After waiting an appropriate time I headed back slowly, checking downhill from the road just in case he had slipped off of the edge. When I finally saw the downed bike I was thinking "I know he was with me at this point, oh, there he is." Helped pick it up and we continued on our way.

    The other case the rider dumped it on a steep loose downhill section. By the time I decided to go back and check, he was coming, so he had been able to handle it.

    The last two times I dumped my bike while following, one was right in front of my riding companion in a water crossing, so he had the privilege of wading in and helping me pick up my KTM. The other one I was watching the leader head on out of sight right after I stepped off of my bike, so I picked the thing up myself and caught up.

    When riding dusty dirt roads, sometimes you don't see the other guy for five to ten minutes at a time. I'm okay with that.
    Takataka likes this.
  17. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

    Oct 26, 2010
    In the garden behind the dacha
    You're either riding together and looking out for each other or just a bunch of guys going in the same direction.

    It shouldn't take more than three or four minutes for a slower rider to catch up. If you wait that long and no one shows, go back.

    When a slower rider does catch up, give them a minute to relax and catch their breath, especially if riding rough terrain.

    There is a significant difference between a few friends riding together and the social conformity of the road captain/formation riding club BS.

    Finally, you have a mirror so use it. Anyone who has "lost" their riding buddies is probably not paying attention. You should know how long it has been since the last time you spotted the guy behind you.

    We were riding in a group one time and one guy ran out of gas. We gassed the bike and stopped for lunch at a restaurant along the road. We were almost finished by the time the guy "leading" the ride finally returned.

  18. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

    Jul 14, 2010
    And refuse to recognize/admit when they can't.
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  19. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

    Jul 14, 2010
    First sentence says it all. :thumb:thumb
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  20. dmitriy_adv

    dmitriy_adv Dmitriy M

    May 17, 2012
    All over the USA
    My answer is “it depends” on the group and type of riding we’re doing. I think the more important thing is to establish a protocol for that ride that everyone in the group understands and follows.

    Also, I think it’s important to realize that while riding in a group might provide some safety net, it doesn’t make you invincible. If you break yourself, your buddies might lift the bike off of you and take pictures, but you’re still hurt, waiting for an ambulance, and going to the hospital. If in an area with poor signal, it’s very good to have a Spot / inReach type device to expedite this process.

    On a dual sport or adv ride, we usually do the “you’re responsible for the guy behind you” system. Even without having an emergency, this is critical to make sure that people simply don’t get lost. If you’re in an unfamiliar area with no signal, a rider taking a wrong turn can be a huge pain to track down. Then we typically stop every now and again to recollect the entire group, take pictures, or make sure everyone makes it through a tricky spot.

    On a purely off-road trail, where there is no real turns and we’re just following a trail - with a larger group we’ll typically stop at every road crossing (usually every mile or two) and make sure the rider behind is coming. If it’s only me and another person, we’ll use a pair of Lynq trackers. It gets tricky if it’s dusty or when there is a large disparity of riding skill, but I view these rides as a social activity, so stopping and chatting is part of the fun. If I just want to go fast, there are hare scrambles and enduros almost every weekend.