******A big shout out to Dave , president of Victory Riders . . thanks for letting us use your Safety Tips.******
These are the guidelines by which we will conduct our Group Rides. Make sure you understand them and if in doubt, contact one of the Officers or talk to the Road/Ride Captain before the ride. Remember that riding in a group does not mean you surrender any decision making when it comes to your safety. Ride your own ride, and don’t go any faster than you feel comfortable going. Always remember that even when riding in a group, You and you alone are responsible for your own safety.
The Road Captain will lead all group rides and the group is expected to follow him/her and watch for his/her directions. A Ride Captain will be designated if the Road Captain is absent or if we ride in split groups.
We will normally ride in a standard Staggered formation (see figure below). In staggered formation, the bikes form two columns, with the leader at the head of the left column, so he/she will be able to view all bikes in the formation in his/her rear view mirrors, and be able to see around vehicles the group approaches. The second bike will head the right column, and will ride approximately 1 second behind the leader (and in the opposite side of the lane). The other riders will position their bikes 2 seconds behind the bike directly in front of them, which puts them 1 second behind the diagonal bike.
This formation allows each rider sufficient safety space, and discourages other vehicles from cutting into the line. The last rider, or Tail Gunner, may ride on whichever side of the lane he prefers. He will have to change sides during the ride, based on the situation at the moment.
The Road/Ride Captain will communicate with the group using Hand Signals. You have to understand the meaning of the hand signals to ride safely and know what is happening. Once initiated by the Road/Ride Captain, every rider will repeat the hand signals until it reaches the end of the group.
The group must obey all traffic signals and obey all traffic laws.
Do not run stop signs unless some special arrangements have been made or the group is under police escort and they are securing the intersections.
These signals will not cover every communication need, but they should provide sufficient means for the group to communicate while riding. Hand signals are to be repeated by every rider in the group.
With your right or left arm extended, move your index finger in a circular motion.
Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow fully extended. (Normally, we will use turn signals).
Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees vertically. (Normally, we will use turn signals).
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard. Note: Hazard warnings can be initiated by any riders in the group.
Extend your right leg at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard. Note: This method can also be used (left leg) to point towards a hazard on the left.
Raise your left arm up and down with your index finger extended upward.
This indicates the leader wants to speed up.
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and move your hand up and down.
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle with the palm of your hand facing rearward.
Position your left hand over your helmet with your fingers extended upward. This indicates the leader wants the group in a single file formation. Usually this is done for safety reasons. (In single file the distance between riders increases to 3 to 5 sec)
Raise your left arm and repeatedly move up and down in a pulling motion. This indicates the leader wants the group to close ranks.
Other hand signals commonly used are:
* Low on Gas: Pointing to the gas tank
* Need Food/Drink: Pointing Hand to mouth
* Emergency vehicle near: Tapping on top of Helmet … need I say more?
* Someone forgot his/her Blinker: Arm extended with fingers and thumb ...opening and closing rapidly pointing at the offending rider. Also known as ...“the sign of shame” …
* Turning around: Left arm extended with hand circling.
Links to check out
Prep:All riders are responsible for making sure their motorcycles are mechanically up to the task. Before you even meet up with the group, make sure you’ve taken care of all those maintenance issues. You really don’t want to be the reason for stopping the group for something mechanical you could have prevented.
All riders are expected to arrive at the meeting point on time to take part in the pre-ride briefing. You are also expected to have enough gas to make it to the next designated stop.
The Road/Ride Captain will brief the group on the general conduct of the ride to include: route, stops and any particularities of the chosen ride.
If you are an experienced rider but new to Group Riding, inform the Road/Ride Captain. Novice riders and inexperienced Group riders’ positions within the group are significant. They should be positioned as close to the front as possible.
There is no shame in being new at group riding. You’d be amazed at how many bikers have never ridden in a group.
If you know you will have to leave the ride before it ends, inform the Road/Ride Captain.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Any concerns should be taken up with the Road Captain before the ride starts or as soon as possible thereafter.
Check your riding position by checking the rider’s mirror ahead of you. If you cannot see their face in their mirror you are too close. Keep your position within the lane and do not cross from one side to the other side of the lane if it can be avoided, as this may disturb other riders and cut off their vision.
If at any time you feel you are riding at a level beyond your current skill level, you should drop out of the group ride. Trying to keep up with the group may be hazardous to you and the group.
If during the ride, you must leave the group, exit from the side you are riding on, preferably at a location that does not disturb the other riders. Signal to another rider that you are leaving, so he/she may inform the Road/Ride Captain at the next stop. Preferably and if feasible, you should wait until the next stop to leave. Maintain your position within the group and do not pass. If you need to change position wait until the next stop then change your position when the ride starts again.
Maintain a constant speed within the group. Do not accelerate past another rider or brake late and pass another rider.
If you are riding with a passenger, instruct your passenger on the proper riding technique and appropriate protective gear.
If you get separated from the group, find your way to the next stop to rejoin the group. Large groups may be a road hazard so riders must be aware of other motorists wishing to enter or exit the roadway and provide space for them to pass through the group.
If the group gets separated at a traffic light the last rider of the forward group becomes the temporary Tail Gunner of that group. The lead group will either stop if safe to do so or leave a rider to wait for and direct the following group at any intersection where the group turns. As riders drop off the forward group to wait for the following group the last rider in the group will temporarily assume the Tail Gunner duties.
When stopping as a group at an intersection, break the staggered formation and pull up beside the bike in the adjacent lane. This will reduce the length of the group by half. Stay in this formation until you are through the intersection. Because the group is half as long it will take half the time to clear the intersection and increase the odds of keeping the group intact.
If you don’t make it through the intersection with the group, don’t worry. Don’t take a chance and run a red light. The leader will know that you are not with the group and will slow down, or wait for you down the road.
Passing is probably the single most dangerous maneuver in group riding. In most cases, we will not pass cars or other “obstacles” on group rides. If the Road/Ride Captain decides to pass, he/she will increase his/her speed when passing any vehicle to provide room for the following motorcycles.
It is very difficult for a group to pass a slow moving car on a two lane road. Generally, we will not pass a car on a two lane road, particularly on local rides, unless it is going very slow. If the Road/Ride Captain decides to pass the car, each biker must decide on his/her own if it is safe for him or her. DO NOT follow the bike in front of you unless you are certain that it is safe for you too.
IMPORTANT: After passing the car, keep going. You must make room for all the bikes behind you. On a two-lane highway no more than three motorcycles should enter the passing lane at any one time. When they have passed and pulled back in, the next three riders may begin passing.
In the event of an emergency requiring a stop, observe the following procedures so that the emergency may be resolved in the safest manner possible. We do not want a group of motorcycles on the side of the road in an unsafe manner under any circumstance.
Problem Bike Stops – All Others Continue
If a bike or rider problem creates a stop, the rider should signal and stop in as safe a place as possible, preferably well off the road. All other bikes are to continue with the Lead Road Captain to avoid having a group of bikes on the side of the road.
Only the Tail Gunner Stops to Help.
It is the Tail gunner’s responsibility to stop and render assistance to the problem bike. The Lead Road Captain will lead the group to a safe location.
In the event of an accident, the group should work together to ensure everyone stops in a safe location. The Road Captain will assign riders to help with the accident scene as needed.
A good way to park,if there is room, is for each bike to pull ahead of the intended parking place and then back up into your spot.
This can be done very fast because you don’t have to wait for the bike ahead of you to finish the job.
If you find yourself at the end of the group and can’t get off the road while waiting for others to park, GO AROUND. Come back a minute or two later when things have settled down and take your time.