The group was formed in 1999 as a spin-off of the Jacksonville Beaches chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA). A few years earlier, the chapter had been looking for a charity that they could support on a regular basis. The daughter of one of the members had multiple sclerosis so the local MS Society office was contacted to see if any help could be offered. The MS Society had their annual 150-mile, two-day MS-150 ride as well as a couple of shorter bicycle events for which they wanted better safety patrols so the chapter agreed to provide a number of motorcycles to patrol the course. They continued to do so for a couple of years until they discovered that the GWRRA did not sanction such rides as chapter events. None of the members who had been participating wanted to quit so they formed a separate group to concentrate only on escort rides and named the group the Safety Escort Riders of Florida. Since then, the group has grown from a handful of members to over fifty riding a variety of makes and models of motorcycles.
Almost all SERF riders are CPR and first aid certified and carry first aid supplies on their motorcycles. In addition, they carry extra water, tire patch kits, air pumps and tools to assist riders in need. All of the motorcycles have citizen's band (CB) radios for communication with base stations and between motorcycles. They also carry cell phones so that emergency services can be contacted if necessary.
The motorcycles generally patrol the route in pairs so that there is one to assist any injured cyclists and another to direct traffic or provide other assistance. They patrol at a moderate speed of 25-30 miles per hour which allows them to cover more of the route while still going slow enough that they can be flagged down by anyone needing help. Patrol areas are assigned in such a way that nobody should have to wait more than a few minutes for assistance.
Recently our services have expanded to include SAG (Safety And Gear) vehicles. Members patrol bicycle ride routes in larger vehicles (pickups and SUVs) so that they can provide rides to cyclists who are unable to continue due to physical or mechanical issues. Several members are also HAM (amateur radio) licensed to provide better communication with event organizers.
Although the SERF riders are reimbursed a small amount for their gas when patrolling non-charity rides, all costs for participating in charity rides are borne by the rider. They keep coming back because of the friendly reception they get from the cyclists. It is heart warming to do something for a good cause and know that the effort is appreciated. The expressions of thanks from the cyclists make it all worthwhile.Click SERF logo to return to home page