Corner Marking Explained
At the beginning of each ride the Branch appoints both a Ride Leader and a Tail-End Charlie. Ideally, no-one passes the Ride Leader and the Tail End Charlie passes no-one.
Ride Leader: The Ride Leader is responsible for guiding the group to our destination and for setting the pace of the ride. In the interests of safety, members are requested not to pass the Lead Rider, but if you do wish to ride ahead of the Lead, essentially, you will be on your own. Remember, persons riding away from the group will be considered to be, 'On their own.'
Tail End Charlie: The Tail-End Charlie will always travel at the rear behind the slowest rider. He/She will be wearing a "Coloured Safety Vest" for easy identification. At no time whatsoever will the Tail End Charlie pass any rider, therefore you are requested not to stop at inappropriate times and places and as a result, split the group up. (eg: Toilet Breaks/Refuels etc, should be taken at designated stops if at all possible).
Corner Markers: When approaching a corner, junction or any other change in direction, the Ride Leader will indicate with his/her left arm for the rider immediately behind him/her (the second rider) to MARK the corner.
To do this, the second rider should pull over at a safe distance before the turn and indicate to following riders with his arm and bike indicators, which direction to take. On exiting the corner, the Ride Leader will again indicate with his/her left arm for the rider immediately behind him/her (the third rider) to MARK the exit to the corner or junction. The third rider, should pull over just around the corner, preferably within view of the second rider and indicate with his/her arm the direction of the ride.
Both of these riders should remain where they are, indicating the required change of direction until signaled to ride on by the Tail End Charlie. The reason for this is simple, if someone breaks down one member can stay at the corner, the other can go back, after a reasonable time, and find out what the problem is? However, please don't under any circumstances leave a designated corner 'UNMARKED' until instructed to move on by the Rear Rider.
Be safe when corner marking. Parking on the 'riding line' is very dangerous. Park as far to the left as possible, or better still, mount the curb side, traffic island, median strip etc where appropriate. Otherwise you are likely to get run into, not by the bike approaching but by the one behind who does not have a fair view - or worse still, the car behind the car who cannot see you. If someone is carrying a little too much speed, then the riding line should include the 'wide' riding line and the 'straight ahead' riding line, especially at 'T' intersections.
The most common problem that we get with the corner marking system is when members fail to watch for oncoming riders, or they anticipate a greater time prior to the arrival of the Tail End Charlie and get tied up, with for example having a smoke or chat with their pillion.
This both slows the ride, leaves on-coming riders uncertain as to which direction to go, and inconveniences the Rear Rider who 'due to club policy' must stop and wait for the corner markers to get moving.
Another protentially dangerous problem is where the corner marker fails to clearly indicate (for whatever reason) the direction of travel. This puts a great deal of uncertainty in the mind of the oncoming rider who, at the last possible minute, may have to choose which direction to take.
The advantage of using a corner marking system is that it makes for a smooth ride where riders at all levels from learners to the experienced can freely travel at their own pace.
If they wish to travel faster, they will end up corner marking more often. If they ride at a leisurely rate then only occasionally will they be required to corner mark.
Effectively, riders can travel at any speed they wish.
Other advantages of this system are that no-one ever gets lost and there is no need to be constantly looking at a map - in fact, you don't even have to know where you are going.