|Formation | Lane Changes | Emergencies | Hand Signals|
|Blocking | Correcting a Broken Formation | Additional Instructions|
|References | Member Space | FAQ|
|Bikes form two columns, riding in the tracks of a lane of traffic.||Group riding requires the full
attention of all the participants.
Riding in the group does not relieve any of the participants of their responsibility to exercise good judgement and does not place the responsibility for personal safety on the Road Captain.
Every participant is responsible for their own safety!
Riders will watch for signals from the Road Captain and other riders and pass the signals along to the end of the group.
|The ride leader is the Road Captain, at the head of the left column.||The Road Captain should be able to view
all bikes in the formation in his/her rearview mirrors, and be able to see
around vehicles the group approaches.
The Road Captain must be aware of the length of the columns, and must gauge the passing of merges, highway entrances and exits, etc., to allow for maximum safety and keeping the group together. He must make sure that he leaves enough time/space for the formation to get into the appropriate lanes before exits, etc.
All directions come from the Road Captain who makes all decisions regarding lane changes, stopping for breaks and fuel, closing of gaps, turning off at exits, any concerns of what lies ahead, accepting/rejecting radioed messages from other individuals, and so on. No individual will assert himself independently without direction from the Road Captain to do so.
|The second bike will head the right column, and will ride approximately 1 second behind the leader.||The tracks are safer than other parts of a lane because of tire groves; the centre can have oil on it or other debris, and the painted lines can be slippery, especially when wet.|
|Other riders will position themselves 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. There should not be any side-by-side riding since the entire width of the lane belongs to each rider. Allow room to swerve in case of an emergency or road obstruction.|
|Riders new to group riding should be positioned as close to the front as possible while more experience riders should ride at the rear of the group.||Experienced riders are more capable of handling any "ripple" or "rubber band" effects. Less experienced group riders should ride near the front of the group where the Road Captain may assess their progress and adjust the ride parameters to compensate if needed. Less experienced group riders should also ride closest to the center line of the road as that riding position requires less skill or experience. Really inexperienced riders should first ride with their friends and learn the basics of group riding before joining a formation for an extended ride.|
|The last rider is the Tail Gunner who may ride on whichever side of the lane he prefers, changing sides during the ride to best accommodate the situation at the time.||The Tail Gunner (sometimes called the
Sweeper) serves as the eyes of the Road Captain, watching the formation, and
informing the Road Captain of any potential problems within the group.
The Tail Gunner watches other vehicles, and informs the Ride Leader (and anyone else with radios) of hazardous conditions approaching from the rear, such as vehicles trying to cut into the formation and trucks passing with potentially dangerous wind blasts. He will watch for merging lanes, and will move into a merging lane (or stay in a merging lane just vacated by the group) in order to "close the door" on other vehicles that may otherwise find themselves trying to merge into the formation. At the request of the Road Captain, the Tail Gunner changes lanes before the rest of the formation to secure the lane so the formation can move into it.
All lane changing starts with a radio request from the Ride Leader to the Tail Gunner. The Tail Gunner will (when it is safe to do so) move into the requested lane and will inform the Ride Leader when the lane is clear. At this point, the Ride Leader has three options:
In the unlikely event of an emergency condition, the Road Captain will make every attempt to move the formation to the shoulder in an orderly manner. If a bike breaks down, let the rider move to the right. DO NOT STOP. The Tail Gunner will stop to help any rider who has to drop out of the group. The Road Captain will lead the group to a safe stopping place.
When the Tail Gunner stops to help someone, the last rider in the group temporarily becomes the Tail Gunner and will inform the Road Captain at the next stop that riders have been left behind.
Blockers will only be used when the Police are riding with the group - otherwise the practice of blocking is discontinued.
The Police will first block the intersection, then a rider will relieve the Police so the Police may move ahead to the next intersection. A rider assigned blocking duty must remain alert and watch for the end of the group ride so they may rejoin at the rear of the group without holding up traffic. Blockers waiting for the group to pass should not remove their helmets or get off their motorcycles.
If for whatever reason, a spot in the formation becomes vacant, there are two possible ways to correct this break: move ahead, or criss-cross to switch tracks in the lane.
Only the criss-cross method should be used. If a riding position becomes vacant, the rider closest to the vacant position will signal and head check, and then move into that vacant position. This will trigger a chain reaction all the way down the formation to the tail gunner.
The criss-cross method is considered to be safer because the action all happens in front of you and it is never necessary to pass a rider in some possibly unexpected way which may startle the rider being passed.
Each rider (and passenger) should duplicate all hand signals given by the rider in front of them, so that the signals get passed all the way to the back of the formation.
|LEFT TURN||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed on through the group, by extending the left arm horizontally.|
|RIGHT TURN||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed on through the group, by extending the left upper arm horizontal with the forearm bent 90 degrees vertically upward.|
|SLOW DOWN||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed on through the group, by extending an arm horizontally and making an up and down movement of the arm with the palm down, parallel to the ground.|
|STOP||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed through the group, by extending an arm towards the ground with the palm facing backward with the fingers spread.|
|U-turn||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed quizically through the group, by motioning rapidly in a horizontal circle with the left hand and with a single finger extended.|
|Block Lane Change||The leader (after having the Tail Gunner secure the lane) raises his left arm straight up. Each rider repeats this signal. Then, as the leader lowers his arm to point to the lane into which he is moving, he actually initiates the change. All other riders lower their arms at the same time and change lanes too.|
|Fill in from rear||After having the Tail Gunner secure the lane and putting on his directional signal (which is repeated by each rider), the Ride Leader raises his left hand to his shoulder and "pushes" his open hand toward the lane into which he wants to move. This signal is repeated by all riders, and each rider in turn, rearmost first, moves into the space ahead of the riders behind them.|
|Single up||When conditions warrant single file (narrow road, anticipated wind-blast from trucks, obstruction, pedestrians, etc.) the Ride Leader will raise his left hand straight up, holding up just his index finger. All other riders will repeat this, and the two columns will merge into one. will be signaled by the Road Captain, and passed on through the group, by raising the left hand over the head and pointing up with the index finger. When single file is signaled the riders should begin increasing their distance to 2 or 3 seconds between motorcycles.|
|Resume Staggered Formation||After singling up, when single file is no longer necessary, the Ride Leader will raise his left hand with thumb and pinky out, other fingers closed, rotating his wrist back and forth (indicating left, right, left, right). All other riders will repeat this and resume staggered formation.|
|Tighten Formation||When the Ride Leader feels that the formation should be tighter (bikes closer together) (usually after being informed by the Tail Gunner), he raises his left hand with fingers spread wide and repeatedly closes them into a fist. All other riders repeat this and close up all unnecessary space in the formation.|
|Road Hazard||This is a signal that can be initiated by ANYONE seeing a hazardous condition on the road surface (road kill, oil, gravel, significant pot hole, etc.) - point the left or right hand downward at a 45° angle at it. All following riders will repeat this, and all riders will avoid the hazard. A hazard can also be indicated by extending the left leg for a hazard on the left or extending the right leg for a hazard on the right.|
|START YOUR ENGINE||signaled by the Road Captain rotating, in a circle, his/her vertically extended arm over their head, and saying "lock and load"|
|ENGINE STARTED AND READY TO GO||signaled by the rider placing their hand on the top of their windshield or by holding their hand over their head.|
|STOP YOUR ENGINE||signaled by the Road Captain making a horizontal movement with their hand under their chin.|
|SPEED UP||signaled by the Road Captain, and passed on through the group, by extending an arm horizontally and making an up and down movement of the arm with the palm up, parallel to the ground.|
|SIGNAL LIGHT ON||signaled with the left upper arm horizontal with the forearm vertically upward, with the fingers toward the helmet, and making a "C" with the thumb and forefinger, opening and closing the fingers several times.|
|COMFORT STOP||signaled by any rider by extending the left arm upwards and tapping the palm on top of the helmet several times. The signal should be passed ahead by the other riders to the Road Captain.|
|NEED GASOLINE||signaled by any rider by patting or pointing to their gas tank. The signal should be passed ahead by the other riders to the Road Captain.|
signaled by any rider pointing to their mouth. The signal should be passed ahead to the Road Captain.
The group will be led by a Road Captain and the group is expected to follow the Road Captain and watch for his/her directions.
SCRC International - Club Riding Rules where it says: standard State Patrol (staggered) formation - the Canuk version might be called the "Dudly Doright flying staggered formation" or some such thing.
has a good listing.
On an official Club ride, we should consider the space between (and including) the Road Captain and the Tail Gunner as our Member Space:
what's an official Club ride?
what is this Member Space supposed to accomplish anyway?
what are the patches for? is it a gang?
what's the right thing to do when stopped by the police?
what are these responsibilities?
are members disciplined, and how?
can non-members ride in this Member Space?
what about "attitudes"