Welcome to Blue Knights Delaware Chapter I Rider Safety News!
*** April 2017 Quick Tips ***
Hello all. With our Ride to the Tide rapidly approaching I thought this might be a good time to go over these group riding tips. These apply to all group rides no matter what size the group is. This is a police escorted ride so some of the below may not apply.
Organizing the ride:
First off Safety is the number one concern during a Group Ride. Safety is the primary responsibility of everyone participating in the ride.
Road Captain and Sweeper need to be experienced riders, know the
Ride routes, planned stops and well versed in hand signals.
All riders need to be aware of their skill level and know their MC.
A Group Ride is not the time to learn how to ride in a group. Clubs should organize practice group rides. If riders will be riding with a passenger and aren’t use to riding while carrying a passenger, they need to practice riding with the passenger before the ride.
Arriving for the ride:
T-CLOCKS, Pre-Ride MC Inspection, should be done before arriving.
Riders should carry a first aid kit, cell phone and a tool kit.
Arrive ready to ride, full tank and with appropriate protective gear. DOT helmet – 67% more likely to suffer deadly head injuries by not wearing a DOT helmet.
Filling up gas tank – At the start of our Ride to the Tide last year we encountered the following problem. We found three big bikes had gas leaking from their gas tanks. Apparently the riders had just topped off their gas tanks before arriving to the start location. As the sun began heating up the temperature it caused the gas in the tanks to expand and began leaking out of the overflow. This creates a hazardous condition with so many people and bikes being closely together. A carelessly discarded match or cigarette could be disastrous. Manufacturers recommend not filling your motorcycle’s gas tank all the way to the top to avoid this potential problem. Leave several inches of space for the gas to expand especially during the hot months.
Road Captain pre-ride discussion: 30 minutes before ride start time.
The recommended size of a manageable group of riders is seven bikes, but can be a little larger if the group is experienced group riders.
Discuss hand signals, route destination and planned stops along the way in case group gets separated.
The least experienced riders should ride at the rear of the group. The speed of the group should be at a comfortable level for the less experienced riders so they will not fall behind. If riders don’t feel comfortable keeping up with the group they should drop out rather than trying to ride beyond their limitations to keep up.
Go over group formation.
Staggered = 2 seconds behind rider in front, one second back from rider in front on other side of lane.
Single file = 2 seconds behind rider in front.
Trikes & Side Cars = single file, 2 seconds behind.
Do not ride side by side = No Safety Margin!!!!!
Keeping group together:
Intersections are the most dangerous situations for riders due to other traffic entering from numerous directions.
When making a turn from a traffic light or stop sign, make it one rider at a time and then reform into a staggered formation if called for.
If parts of the group get separated by light or traffic, the group can pull over and wait if it’s a small group or the separated riders can just meet up at next planned stop or designation. It is not wise to speed or ride beyond your limitations to try to catch up. Safety is more important than the integrity of the group.
Blocking intersections for riders to make it through is not a good idea unless being done by the appropriate authorities. This can be very dangerous and can easily become a liability issue for you if an accident were to happen.
Just because an intersection is being controlled by a police officer or a civilian still be on the lookout for a vehicle driving into the intersection.
Parking motorcycles at planned stops or designation:
Organize so only space needed is utilized.
Park so group can depart area as easily as possible.
Use caution when pulling out and reforming the group.
Leader signals and others relay the signal back. Leader moves over first when he/she knows all riders can safely change lanes. The rest of the group follows and forms back up in same formation.
If the Group Leader and Sweeper are in radio contact with each other the Leader can advise the Sweeper of the intended lane change and the Sweeper can move over first to block vehicles approaching from the rear.
Dropping out of group:
If you know you will be dropping out of the group at some point make sure to let the Leader and Sweeper know. It’s also a good idea to let the rider behind you know so your leaving is expected.
The riders to the rear will then adjust their positions if riding in a staggered formation.
If possible signal the riders behind you by activating your four way flashers and pull over safely from the group. The Sweeper will pull over to assist you.
Again, don’t speed or ride recklessly to try to catch up with the group. Just plan on meeting them at the next plan stopped or designated area. The Sweeper will notify the Leader of the situation.
Hazardous road conditions:
Single file formation is best.
Make sure to pass signal back to each rider.
Try not to ride over small obstacles on the roadway as this may cause you to lose control and could possibly cause your rear tire to kick the obstacle back to riders behind you. If you cannot avoid the small obstacle make sure you are aware of the procedure for riding over an obstacle.
Slippery road conditions should cause the group to slow down. Riders should avoid excessive lean angles, braking and should roll off the throttle while passing through the slippery area.
Night time & bad weather:
Slow speed down; give riders more space for safety concerns.
Look for hand signals.
Use other vehicles lights to scan ahead.
Keep a watchful eye on riders behind you.
Bruce Taylor / Safety Officer / Blue Knights DE 1 April 4, 2017
De 1 safety course workshop will be held on April 1 & 2 and will be at the State Police Range in Smyrna .