There is no getting rid of pacelines, people look at them as free speed. This thread is just going to be for people who hate them to vent, you will not eliminate them. I have not seen any danger created by a paceline personally so far. A choreographed rotating paceline is not something I have ever seen on Ragbrai, I have only seen people who were willing to push the wind for others. As long as the front guy is experienced and not overly aggressive it works fine. The problem is you must pay attention in a paceline or bad things happen, wheels can overlap and reaction times can add up to disaster under braking.
I have ridden Ragbrai on a tandem and it creates a small paceline constantly. People assume it’s OK to just tag along, and for me it’s fine. I do not care if you are back there. It is part of the deal with a tandem on Ragbrai, it’s fast on the flat and creates a hole that other riders will fill. They don’t brake well so I can’t jam on the brakes and pile anyone up behind me. A tandem is heavy and stable enough that you probably can’t take me out from behind by crossing my rear wheel. So for me from the front, no harm no foul. I simply don’t have the time to try to tactfully get people to “peel off” the back for seven days. I do believe a tandem never belongs in a paceline with single bikes anywhere but the front. The difference in stopping distances makes this a recipe for disaster.
BTW I rode in a handcycle paceline last year and that is totally safe. The 3rd wheel makes wheel overlap a non-issue and most of them have a “draft bar” which is a rear bumper to rub against. My buddy literally rubbed the decals off the back of my bike with his front tire.
The pacelines will not stop, not with this thread, not with more rules. I think Ragbrai needs to continue to officially ban them, but they will still exist. The ban needs to be in place because otherwise they are condoning them. If they are not banned then paceline etiquette would need to be part of ride-right and its hard enough to get people to get a sip of water without taking out a neighbor. Maybe there needs to be an alternative non-sanctioned Ride-Right that talks about properly joining pacelines and how to properly drink through the day to a safe level. That may have been sarcasm.
So you guys can continue to highlight the dangers and you will be right, but they will continue to appear on the ride. People will overdrink, get sunburned, show up undertrained and underskilled. I will watch my back and attempt to stay clear of them, good luck in doing the same.