I'd sure encourage you to discuss this at greater length, in hopes that a better understanding of "group riding etiquette" could be established. If one person can avoid what you are going through, it would be effort well spent.
Thanks, we're working on the recovery.
If I had to numerate some personal good rules for group riding off road, I'd be a terrible person if I didn't give credit where it's due.
The group I normally ride with, Caveman riders, has long asked and talked about just this. On road riding has it's own issues and is best discussed seperatly.
1. Have your bike in good condition for the ride and practice basic repair skills in the garage with the tools on the bike so you know what works and what doesn't.
2. Know the conditions of the trails/roads you intend to ride, if you don't know the trails, ask others who live near or ride that area what their experience is. Photos and video really help here.
3. Know your riding limitations, be ready to try new stuff but don't try things that you know you are not ready for or are obviously too dangerous. I'd rather be the guy at the bottom of a bad hill than the rider tumbling down it.
4. Find riders who share your comfort level, riding style prefrances, and speed. Nothing more stressful than unfamiliar trails and people who are seemingly always stopping and waiting for you. (This is not to discourage anyone from pushing the envelope of comfort or riding with better riders to gain experience and knowledge. Just make sure you all know the skill level of the ride and pace the group intends to keep.)
5. For a ride leader:
A. Make sure the riders know the skill level of the ride and intended pace.
B. Allow time in the ride for the unexpected
C. Be aware of group size and the limitations of a large group.
D. Make sure you have several other riders in the group who know the route, have emergency tools, and are capable experienced riders. Having a gps route to share is also a good stop gap when you don't have others familiar with the route.
E. Be aware at all times of the riders with you and if anyone is struggling to keep up, keep the group together and have a designated last rider to play clean up. Stop often to make sure the last rider is there and has not had to stop to help another rider.
F. Keep the pace fun but remember large group rides go slower and require longer time to cover the same distance as a smaller group.
G. At each turn allow the last rider to arrive before you continue.
H. Let each rider know that they are responsible for the rider behind them, not keeping up with the rider ahead of them.
I. Let other riders know before entering difficult or hazardous areas, and watch for other groups, vehicles, and obsticals ahead.
J. Have easily identified hand signals for vehicle approaching, stop, ground obsticals, low fuel and and a signal that isn't turned off after a turn.
6. As a rider be aware of your own physical condition on the ride. Summer heat is an obvious problem and getting heat exhaustion can cause slower reaction times and bad decisions. Take frequent breaks when tackling hard trails.
7. Gear!!! ATGATT. Spend the time to find the right gear, make sure it fits and use it all the time. Misfortune strikes without warning.
I hope most of this is obvious to people and common sense rules the experiences of our rides. Nothing will protect you from every danger motorcycling presents, but being aware and ready can improve the odds you have greatly of making riding in groups fun and safe.
I continue to try to analyze what issues contributed to my accident. It still appears to be no one issue, but a combination of several that have only become apparent in hind site. I will ride again, a bit wiser, a bit smarter and hopefully safer, for myself and those whom I ride with. I wanna be riding with my friends for many years to come on and off road.