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Motorcycle Drop-off System for Group Riding

Mark Jaffe May 17, 2022

The Drop-Off System for group riding is popular with large groups going on long rides. The system works for riders familiar with the route and those that aren’t. It’s particularly useful for motorcycle tours abroad. Understanding the system is important, as every rider needs to do their part to avoid anyone getting lost. One rider, the leader, stays at the front. They’re responsible for navigating the route. Another rider, Tail-End Charlie, stays at the back in the 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 Tail-End Charlie. The marker then rejoins the group in front of Tail-End Charlie.

This approach involves the entire group. The position of ‘marker’ gets rotated from front to back and each rider 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’s their turn to mark.

Nobody, other than Tail-End Charlie, 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 Tail-End Charlie arrives he’ll stop and you can let him/her know you’re leaving the group and why.

Practical tips for making the drop-off system for group rides work

Safety advice for the drop-off system


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