Safety Corner

Riding Staggered
When riding in a group, a stagger formation should be observed for safety reasons.  The minimum recommended spacing to the bike directly in front of you should not be less than two seconds (the two second rule).  The bike in the lane to your left or right should not be less than one second ahead of you.  You will find that two seconds is a long distance when riding at highway speeds.  That is it's a long distance when everything is going well.  When things go wrong, however, two seconds distance is gone in the time it takes to figure out you are in trouble.

The two second rule is a rule of thumb you should try to adhere to when possible, especially at highway speeds.  There are times, however when it is best to squeeze together while in city streets & while slowing for a stop.  This will help prevent cars from entering the group.  


Group Stopping
When stopping as a group at an intersection, break stagger formation and pull up beside the bike in the adjacent lane.  This will reduce the length of the group be 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.



Group Parking  
Parking in an orderly method substantially reduces the time for all to get off the road and out of traffic.  There is risk of injury for the last bikes that may be blocking the road in an attempt to stay with the group.

A good way to park, if there is room, is for each bike to pull ahead of intended parking place and then back up into your spot.  You can see how this is done on the image to the right.  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.

Passing on a two lane road  
It is usually 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 lead biker decides to pass the car, each biker must decide on his 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. 


Passing on a freeway into a faster lane
As a group, it can be difficult to pass a slow moving car on any road with two or more lanes of same-direction traffic.  This is especially true with moderate to heavy traffic.  Often there is not enough room for the entire group to get between cars in the faster lane.

The way to accomplish this is for the last bike to pull over one lane to the left and hold his position.  Each rider should move to the left lane as the cars in front of the rear biker pass them.  You can then pass the slow car as a group after the lead rider moves to the left lane.  

The lead  rider should move back to the right lane after passing the slow car by a safe distance.  It is very important that the lead rider maintain speed to make room for all the other riders.  Each rider should move back to the right lane one at a time once safely cleared the slow car.  This can be a real slick choreographed move for other motorists to observe.

Passing on a freeway into a faster slower  
During a lane change into a lane moving slower than the group (usually to the right), the FRONT bike moves over first.  Now, what do the rest of the bikes do?  Legally, if the whole group moves like a "brick" (everyone changing lanes together in one movement), that is considered to be parading and can cause problems if any emergency arises.  Also, remember that you and you alone are responsible for your own safety.  So, if each bike individually changes lanes in order following the first bike to change lanes (whether from the front of the back), you can reduce your risk factor, change lanes legally, and still look REAL GOOD while doing the maneuver.

It is important that the lead and tailing bikers talk to each other before the ride and come to an agreement on how they intend to pass cars.

 Standard Hand and Arm Signals

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.
Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees vertically.

Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard.


Extend your right arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard.
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.
Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your index and pinkie finger extended. This indicate that it is safe to return to staggered formation.
Raise your left arm and repeatedly move up and down in a pulling motion.  This indicates the leader wants the group to close ranks.
Extend your left arm straight out with your elbow bent 90 degrees. Carefully extend your middle finger to clearly demonstrate your dissatisfaction with the other guy. NOTE: It is not recommended you do this when you are alone.

P.S. The last hand signal is only for your personal amusement and should never be used when you are on a motorcycle!