November 2003 Safety Thoughts

Understanding the Ride Rating System

by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer

A few years ago the Board of Directors adopted for use by the Chapter a Ride Rating System.  While we reference the Ride Rating System when we talk about our riding events, it’s been some time now since we’ve explained what this ride rating system is and how it should be used by the membership. I'd like to devote some time to explain the ride rating system in terms I hope can be understood by all our members.

This system is comprised of two parts:

  1. A Rating System for the rides.
  2. A Rating System for the riders.

The rating system for the rides should be fairly easy to understand. We originally rated all our rides as one star, two star, or three star rides.

The easiest is the one star ride, requiring some minimum rider & riding skills.  The hardest is the three star ride, requiring a much more rigorous set of rider & riding skills.  The two star ride requires what I consider to be average rider & riding skills.  To emphasize how the rating system works, we changed terminology from stars to skulls, implying a one skull ride took less skills and experience to ride safely than a 2 or 3 skull ride required.

I'll not repeat the complete rides definitions here, but refer you to the Ride Rating System located on the Safety Pages of the Chapter web site and reprinted in many issues of the Pig Tales.  The important point here is that the rides are rated by the Road Captain and/or Event Coordinator for that event.

This is done to provide the membership with a guideline for determining what level of riding skills are needed to participate in the ride, using the planned route, riding with the group.  It is not done to exclude anyone from participating in the activity.

The rating system for the riders is a bit more difficult to understand.  This is because it's designed to provide a criteria set that each rider uses to rate their own riding abilities.  The criteria outlines several specific qualifications we want to see in a rider in order to ride safely within a group.  The criteria set increases with each step from minimum skills (one star) to average skills (two star) to advanced skills (three star), with each rider skills level matching a ride rating level.

In order to have the Ride Rating System work effectively for the safety of the whole group, each individual rider must fairly evaluate their own riding abilities to determine if they can expect to ride with the group for any given ride.

This does not mean anyone is specifically excluded from participating in a ride.  It does mean that if you don't have the requisite skills/experience, you should plan to meet the group at the destination, riding separate from the group, perhaps with another rider of similar or higher skills/experience.

Remember, we've developed the Ride Rating System as a tool to assist in providing safer group rides for everyone involved, regardless of your individual skill/experience level, but the system will only work if each member actively and voluntarily participates in rating themselves as a rider.

This month we’re having an Activities Committee meeting to plan next year’s riding activities.  To ensure we have enough riding activities to meet you your particular skill level, I would encourage everyone to review the complete ride rating system, honestly rate their own riding abilities skill level, then attend the activities meeting to assist in planning riding activities that match your abilities.

Ride Safe!  

Ride Rating System

Words of Safety