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The Drop Off System

The whole idea behind the system of riding called the drop off system, is to provide a series of movable markers for all the riders in the group to follow, irrespective of any gaps which have occurred in the ride, so that riders don't have to "keep up" with the rider in front.

It acknowledges the fact that the ride can get strung out over a long distance, due to a variety of reasons - e.g. Road works, traffic lights, give way junctions, roundabouts etc. Also, not all riders will have access to a map, and might be on unfamiliar roads.

It allows the riders to ride at their own pace without worrying about keeping up, getting lost, or which way to go.

How it works.

The Drop off system will be explained to all riders in a briefing at the start of the ride, where riders should get to know their colleagues. The group will have a designated 'Ride Leader' and a 'Back Marker'. The positions of these two riders will not change throughout the run. They will be introduced to all the riders in that group and be easily identified by a day-glow jacket or other identifier if possible.

Riders in the group may alter their own relative positions

As they see fit whilst out on the road providing they always remain between "The Ride Leader" and "Back Marker".

When the Ride Leader makes a direction change at a junction or roundabout the new direction of travel should be marked by the rider directly behind the ride leader, (The Marker). To do this, the Marker should pull in at the side of the road, in a safe place where he/she will be visible to the rest of the riders, so the direction can be indicated to the following riders.

It is most important that the marker stops in a position where :-
The Marker

Should maintain that position until he/she can rejoin the rear of the section in front of the approaching Back Marker. The Back Marker will always try to give sufficient space for this to happen otherwise the Marker should allow the Back Marker to pass, then overtake when a suitable opportunity presents it self, thus re-establishing the correct running order.

It could happen that number two rider forgets to mark a direction change - in which case the next rider (Number three) should take it upon himself to drop off and mark the direction change to prevent the chain from breaking.

Do Note

It is always better to mark all direction changes rather than assume that the route is so obvious it is not worth doing.


As number two rider, you might think the ride direction is apparent - but you don't know when the riders behind might get split up, and one of them might not be familiar with the junction in question.


Any riders wishing to fall out from the group or who have a breakdown should report, en route, to the Back Marker who will note the situation and act accordingly.

If it is impossible to mark a direction change because of the danger to the Marker or other road users it is better that the direction change goes unmarked. Sometimes the Marker can park up safely a short distance away and return to the direction change on foot to direct followers.

The Drop Off System allows for the riders to go at his own pace and still remain part of the riding group. Speed limits should be observed at all times.

However, in this imperfect world, the group may sometimes become very 'strung out', causing anxiety to some riders, and the Leader may then decide to stop, in a safe place, to allow the group to re-form before continuing.


The Run Leader

At the start of the run, the leader should explain the System to his group and ensure that they can recognise each other on the road, stressing the danger of a rider inadvertently joining another group, or even a totally separate set of riders going the same way.

He should not make a DIRECTION CHANGE unless he has at least two riders in view behind.

He should ensure that the 'no.2' rider stops at a direction change, pointing out if necessary the best place for him to pull in, bearing in mind visibility and road safety, having noted such places in his preparations.

If it is not possible to mark a direction change because of danger to the Marker or to other road users, it is better that the direction change goes unmarked. Sometimes the Marker can park up safely a short distance away and return to the direction change on foot to direct the following riders.

If the Leader has previous knowledge of such a problem, it should be mentioned at the pre-start briefing, and the possibility of a 'follow-the-leader' treatment of that direction change.

On a long run, it can happen that the group becomes very 'strung out', causing anxiety to some. The Leader may then decide to stop in a safe place to allow the group to re-form.

Back Marker

The Back Marker should familiarise himself with the route beforehand.

He must be especially aware of any following traffic when pausing for the Marker to rejoin in front of him and be prepared to carry on past the Marker if conditions demand, slowing for the Marker to overtake him in due course.

Experience with this system has shown that the Back Marker needs to leave a large gap in front to allow the Marker to rejoin easily and safely.

He should also be on the lookout for any rider dropping out and act accordingly, either waiting with the stationary rider if the problem is temporary, or making note of the stationary riders details, and reporting this to the Run Leader if the rider is leaving the run permanently.

You are in charge of your motorcycle at all times and responsible for your own safety.

Gwent Group of Advanced Motorcyclists cannot accept any responsibility for actions you take or any incident that might occur.

Always ride for yourself and within your own capabilities.