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Group Riding Etiquette


Some of these rules may sound silly, picky or even over-kill.  They are good to know even when you are with a smaller group, but with a large group - dynamics change and it's important to have a good system in place or the group becomes hard to handle and the ride can even be unsafe.

In a ride there are generally a lead rider, the sweep rider (the last rider) and riders in-between.  For very large groups or public rides their are even ride "marshals", usually these people are wearing orange reflective safety vests (along with the lead and sweep).  In any group ride the lead rider and sweep rider are identified to the group before heading out - make sure you know who they are.  The other thing that happens is that sleds are counted so that a missing sled can be identified later.  It's good for several people in the group to count sleds.


  1. Number one rule: Monitor the rider behind you.  Simply stop and wait if they are not there.

  2. "We never leave anyone behind". There is no way for followers to get in touch with leaders if something goes wrong.  The only system of communication we have is for a rider to stop if the rider behind is no longer there.  This works only as well as the weakest chain in the link, it's important that each rider monitor the rider (or even riders) behind.  If they are not there, simply stop and wait.  Eventually this will get to the lead and the lead will stop and come back.  A note for the second last rider, really watch the sweep - they have no one else but you.

  3. If you want to stop then stop.

  4. Don't be afraid to stop if you need to.  If you forgot a chin strap, your sled is making a funny noise whatever, it's OK to stop and check it out.

  5. Do not pass unless invited to

  6. This is important and it leads to problems if not followed (safety issues and people getting lost). Keep your order in the group unless you have been invited to pass - this can mean stopping if you have to.  In some cases with smaller groups people may ride along side when crossing large open areas, this can be ok but be prepared to return to your original order when getting back on the trail. 

  7. Stay to the right side of the trails

  8. No excessive speed on the trails

  9. Follow at a safe distance.

  10. The rider in front of you should be able to stop immediately and you will be at a safe distance to handle that.  On the other hand you should also not be so far back as to be out of visual communication with the rider in front.  Unless you are having problems keep up and maintain a good gap.Use hand signals

  11. Our club uses hand signals when out for rides.   "Stop" and "Oncoming Sleds" are probably the two most important. We also "Point" at debris and hazards.   When you see someone in front of you signal you signal as well and carry the message back for those behind.  See CCSO Hand Signals.

  12. Shoulder check when changing your "line" or "lane".

  13. We don't really have lanes in sledding so I'm not sure how else to say this, but before you steer left or right you should always shoulder check.  Things happen and all it takes for a dangerous incident is for someone behind you that doesn't know the rules about passing, had a laps in concentration or was just plain reckless or stunting.  And in some cases there is even a legitimate reason like a marshal passing a group.  The plain truth is you need to know what is there before you steer there.  This includes stopping or even getting stuck, remember to look.

  14. Do Not spin your track sending snow, dirt or rocks on the following sleds/riders

  15. This is a bad habit for some, especially at road crossings.  Many people are un-aware of just how much their sled throws back when they launch off of a drift or road, but the sledder behind sure is.

  16. Be patient with other riders as the ride is probably a family ride day.

  17. Do not showoff, hotdog or ride reckless, there are too many people present on group rides for stunting. 

  18. Do not go play unless the group stops and agrees it's ok to go and play.

  19. You will know if this happens.  There is a discussion and agreed upon meeting spot and time for it to end.

  20. Road crossings - ya wanna do what?.

  21. The Lead rider will stop, usually dismount and check the road for traffic.  The second rider will cross the road when instructed and advance a few hundred yards down the trail, stop trail side and wait.  It's important the second rider stops far enough down the trail so all riders can safely fit on the trail single file after crossing the road.  When the last rider has finished the road cross, the lead will pass the group and the ride continues.  With very large groups, larger road crossings or a difficult cross, the second rider may also help with the road crossing.  In this case the next rider will lead the group and stop it at a safe distance across the road

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