The silver lining of this is that it's opened a dialogue about how we, individually and as a group, can best protect our safety while out on the roads. Despite my best efforts, this is the 2nd time I've been hit by a car (neither of which resulted in serious injuries, but both were hit-and-runs by drivers who were 100% at fault). The saying that cyclists need to ride as if they are invisible is true. Got me to thinking that perhaps I should enroll in some type of defensive riding or bike safety training. Does anyone know of anything like that offered in the area?
Specifically w/ regard to the comments and feedback by the other members, in my experience w/ other bike groups, at the beginning of the ride we broke out into pace groups or ride cats (think I'm mixing my running w/ biking). It can be as informal or formal as we want it. I've also offered to volunteer to help in any way I can to make sure we don't lose anyone along the way. These rides should be fun and safe for all.