The purpose of riding in an organized group instead of an undisciplined pack is to provide the additional safety that a well-organized group inherently generates.
This comes from within the group and from the outside. When a group rides in an orderly fashion, people don't get in each others way, and the organization of the formation itself discourages cars from attempting to cut in. I have even seen trucks move to the far side of their lane to minimize wind blast when they see a well-ordered formation "single up" and move as far away from the truck as their lane allows.
Once riding rules have been adopted by a club, EVERYONE Riding with the SCRC is expected to follow them. Anyone violating the rules, and compromising everyone else's safety, will be warned, and if their actions continue, will no longer be welcome to ride with the club.
The following rules are compiled from a number of sources. Most clubs that ride in orderly formations follow similar rules. Details may vary from one club to another, sometimes because of the style of riding they do, or sometimes because there are a number of reasonable options, so they chose the one they prefer.
Remember that riding in a group does not mean you surrender any decision making when it comes to your own safety. Ride your own ride, and don't go any faster than you feel comfortable going.
* THERE WILL BE ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ON CHAPTER RIDES!!! *
One of the Road Captains or Officers will conduct a pre-ride meeting. Along with an overview of the rules, special route information such as road construction, known hazards and other 'issues' will be discussed. It's vital to pay attention during this meeting even if you are already familiar with the rules.
Safety: It is the immediate responsibility of the 1st Officer, 2nd Officer, Road Captains and Tail Gunners to assist in maintaining the safety of the group during chapter rides. Ride rules are implemented for one reason only, SAFETY. Riders not adhering to the ride rules, creating safety risks for the group while in formation, will be counseled and depending on the severity of their actions, may be removed from the chapter ride. Although the Officers, Road Captains, and Tail Gunners will do all they possibly can to assist with the safety of the group, it is ultimately the responsibility of each rider to insure their own personal safety.
Multi-chapter Rides: Whenever this chapter participates in Multi-chapter rides, we will make every attempt to stay together as a chapter. Each chapter is aware of their own chapters riding style and safety habits, and staying together is safer for all concerned.
Ride Leader: The Ride Leader 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 Ride Leader. The Ride Leader makes all decisions regarding lane changes, stopping for breaks and fuel, closing of gaps, turning off at exits, any concerns of what lies ahead. No individual will assert himself independently without direction from the Ride Leader to do so. Road Captains may be Ride Leaders or Tail Gunners.
Road Captains: Road Captains are primarily responsible for the safety of the group. They should be able to ride well and be aware of safety issues related to the group as well as standard road rules. Road Captains should also be proficient in all group riding hand signals that our chapter uses. Some of the Road Captains duties include but are not limited to; the riding safety of the group, conducting pre-chapter ride safety briefings, and addressing those riders in the group that may be a safety risk to themselves or the group, during a chapter ride. On occasion, the Road Captains will meet with other chapter Officers to discuss safety related issues and other miscellaneous chapter business. If a person or persons, member or guest, are found to be unable or unwilling to ride according to the Chapter Riding Rules, the Road Captain has the complete authority to ask the person or persons to leave the ride.
Tail Gunner: The Tail Gunner serves as the eyes of the Ride Leader. He watches the formation, and informs the Ride Leader of any potential problems within the group. He 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 Ride Leaders request, the Tail Gunner changes lanes before the formation, to secure the lane so the formation can move into it.
New Riders: The position of new (inexperienced with GROUP riding) riders within the group is significant. New riders should be positioned as close to the front as possible. This idea varies from chapter to chapter, where some chapters may have the newer riders placed in the rear of the group.
Lane Changes: 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 Ride Leader 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 with the problem bike. The Ride Leader will lead the group to a safe stopping place.
Each rider (and passenger) should duplicate all hand signals given by the rider in front of him, so that the signals get passed all the way to the back of the formation. The following signals are used in addition to the standard (right turn, left turn slow /stop) hand signals
Please take some time and check out these additional resources. Understand that all chapters and clubs are different and may use hand signals or maneuvers that differ from our own. Please feel free to contact a Road Captain or chapter officer with any questions. All links will open in a new window.