Your sight distance is how far you can see down the road at any given moment. The visual shadow is what you can’t see because of something like a large truck or group of bikes that is blocking what’s ahead.

If you want to decrease your visual shadow, you need to drop back a couple of seconds from the object that you can’t see past. Another way to decrease the visual shadow is to move to the right tire track. You may see the smart rider move to the right when approaching a large truck. He will get two benefits from this move. Anything that will give you a better look at what’s ahead and coming your way is a smart move. The most important part is to remember that if you can see further down the road, then others can see you earlier. The second benefit from the move is to reduce the truck wash and flying crap the truck will kick up and throw at you. 

When riding in a group, remember that the two bikes ahead of you are blocking your ability to see what is in the road that you may be about to run over. That is why it is so important to pass back hand signals and do it early enough to do any good. On several rides this year, the rider ahead of me pointed out something in the road too late for me to miss it. One dead squirrel is now even more dead. If you are riding behind a trike watch for them to swerve suddenly. That’s as good of a hand signal as you’ll probably get from them - as it is hard to signal and swerve at the same time.

With this in mind, where should we let a new rider position themselves? If we put them in the number two spot, they reduce their visual shadow caused by the bikes in front of them and don’t have a plate full of things that may be new to them - all on the first ride with the group. Or should we put them in the back and tell them to ride further back to give them time and room to think about the upcoming road in front of them? My personal thought is either one. However, the lead must take into consideration the new rider so they feel comfortable in a group and will continue to do group riding

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