April 2005 Safety Thoughts 

Hog Talesí Between The Lines - Group Riding 

Safety Officer, Dave Hansen 

Did you read the article on Group Riding in the March/April issue of Hog Tales? If you didnít, you probably should. While itís not exactly how we do things, it does reinforce the concept of and need for structure for group riding. Iíd like to share with you some observations I made about this article. 

This specifically equates to our Ride & Rider Rating System. 

While we donít have a formal checklist or documented program to cover these items, itís things Iíve covered on numerous occasions during my Safety Talks. 

Part of our Road Captain training materials includes a pre-ride prompter, personal checklist & questions for the group, including route, medical needs & hand signals materials to help guide them through an effective pre-ride meeting. 

I would note here that our hand signal set is well-defined in my Group Riding Techniques manual & will differ some from various other published hand signals. To avoid confusion, study, memorize & use our hand signals, not those from Riders Edge or other chapters or organizations. 

This is our main riding formation. It provides a tight group formation while maintaining reaction spacing for individual riders, providing the 1 second stagger, 2 second directly behind spacing is maintained. Again, this is a time spacing; actual distance between bikes varies with travel speed. 

Our Road Captain training discusses what to do in these situations, although any situation can be different than the various contingencies we try to prepare for. 

We generally do not follow this procedure. When entering or exiting a freeway, timing is critical in order to merge or exit from other traffic. It is important to signal these maneuvers to other traffic. It is important to keep your attention on the merge or exit maneuver. This leaves little time or attention for changing formations too. 

While changing to single file for on & off ramps may seem to make sense at first glance, detailed analysis of the maneuvers reveals the flaws: 

While there are additional points & analogies that can be made, I hope these few Iíve discussed point out that the techniques & programs we have established for our Chapter rides are well founded. Their effectiveness of course, depends upon how well each member knows, understands & follows them.

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety