The Drop-Off System is not suitable for use on motorways or trunk roads – please see section entitled “Motorways and Trunk Roads” for EKAM recommendations.

The Drop-Off System is popular with large groups going on long rides. Understanding the system is important, as every rider needs to do their part to avoid anyone getting lost. One rider, the leader, will stay at the front and is responsible for navigating the route. Another rider, the sweeper, will stay at the back in last position. These are the only two riders who maintain their position in the group.

At every junction, the rider immediately behind the leader stops as close to where the leader indicates (ensuring it is safe to do so) and marks the junction and indicates the route which the other members of the group should follow. All other riders pass the marker except the sweeper. The marker then re-joins the group in front of the sweeper.

This approach involves the entire group and the marker gets rotated from front to back and naturally moves up to the front again. The method works provided everyone makes clear, safe markings and doesn't forget they are in the No.2 position, when it is their turn to mark.

Nobody, other than the sweeper, is allowed to ride last for any reason whatever. If you want to leave the group you should pull in to the left in a safe, visible position and wave other riders past. When the sweeper arrives he will stop and you can then inform him/her that you are leaving the group and why.

Some points:

  • Always arrive for a group rideout with a full tank of petrol and an empty bladder.
  • Petrol stops will be determined on the lowest tank range of participants. You are advised to fill up at these stops.
  • The leader and sweeper will wear some kind of distinctive vest.
  • If you are in the number 2 slot, don’t get too close to the leader, they may only slow for a junction whereas you will have to stop.
  • A roundabout should be marked by parking in a safe visible position on the exit.
  • When going straight through at a crossroads where you don't have right of way you may mark it if you wish. The default action in such a case is to continue straight through. Therefore if there is no marker when you arrive you should proceed straight on. If you do decide to mark such a junction you should do so by parking in a safe visible position on the far side of the crossroads.
  • When you are marking a junction make sure you park in a position not to obstruct any other road users.
  • If necessary point in the direction that riders arriving at the junction should proceed in.
  • Give clear directions with arm signals NOT indicators.
  • There is no need, when using the drop off system, to keep the rider behind in your mirrors.
  • There is no need to play catch-up. With the drop off system there will be a marker waiting for you at the next junction.
  • Everyone should keep a safe distance behind the rider in front when following; “tail-gating” is frowned on.
  • Members of the group may overtake or be overtaken during the ride (except the leader and the sweeper), depending on the pace that each rider has chosen at a particular time, so be aware and execute any overtakes in a safe and sensible manner:
    • Only overtake where it is legal and safe to do so
    • Use good indicators and mirrors and allow plenty of room
    • Be considerate to other members of the group and all other road users
  • To avoid unscheduled stops and to be safe please make sure all luggage carried on your machine is secured safely before starting.
  • When you are the marker, wait for the sweeper to arrive, even if this takes a long time. There may be a breakdown further back of which you are unaware. If necessary switch off your engine. If you leave your position everyone behind will suffer and the run will fall apart.
  • If you are unsure as to whether you should mark a junction, mark it anyway. It is better to mark a junction that doesn't need marking than not to mark one that does.
  • If someone has gone the wrong way, stop the sweeper and let them know.
  • Ride your own ride, don't allow yourself to be pulled or pushed along.
  • Enjoy yourself at your own pace.


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