BASIC MOTORCYCLE RIDING RULES
Preparations before Departure
- Be sure your bike is in good mechanical condition!
- Dress appropriately!
- Arrive at the departure point with a full tank of gas & an empty bladder!
- Leave on Time!
General Riding Information
Most states recommend staggered formation group riding.
The lead bike rides to the left side of the lane. The second bike rides on
the right side of the same lane at "one hippopotamus" or two-bike lengths
apart. The third bike rides on the left side of the lane directly behind the
leader at two-bike lengths behind the second bike and four bike lengths behind
the leader. The fourth bike rides on the right side of the lane at two bike
lengths behind the third bike and four bike lengths behind the second bike.
Subsequent bikes follow the same pattern.
Note: Trikes should ride in the center of the lane only!
Rules for safe group riding include but are not
- The Road Captain serves as the eyes of the Ride Leader
- No rider should assert himself independently without the direction of the
Ride Leader/Road Captain to do so.
- Group safe riding should be in an orderly fashion normally standard
staggered formation at a distance of one hippopotamus or two-bike length
- Each rider and passenger should repeat all electrical and hand
signals as directed by the Ride Leader.
- Anyone seeing a road hazard (oil, gravel, pothole, etc.) should point to
it. All other riders and passengers should repeat this signal using
left arm or right foot.
- Once directed by the Ride Leader the Road Captain should first secure the
new lane then allowing the group to merge into it together.
- LANE CHANGING TO THE LEFT OR RIGHT ON A MULTIPLE LANE HIGHWAY (PASSING)
The leader will flash his turn signal to
prepare the group to shift to the new lane. All other bikes should flash the
same turn signal. When it is safe the Road Captain moves into and
"blocks" the new lane. Other bikes in the formation do not move from their
positions until signaled to do so by the leader.
Once the leader determines the new lane is safe, he
hand signals the group to shift to the new lane. At this signal, all members
of the group simultaneously shift to the new lane. Note: No one moves until
the bike in front of him has started to move.
THE HAND SIGNAL FOR SHIFT TO THE LEFT LANE IS:
The leaders left hand touches the upper part of his
helmet and the subsequent extension of his arm pointing horizontally to the
THE HAND SIGNAL FOR SHIFT TO THE RIGHT LANE IS:
The left hand held at a position signaling a right
turn (arm held up, bent at the elbow with forearm vertical) and then raising
and curving his arm in an arc pointing over his helmet to the right.
At night, the Road Captain must flash his headlight from low to high beam to
indicate he has moved to "block" the new lane and in order for the leader to
identify which headlight is the Road Captain.
- SINGLE FILE: The leaders left arm is fully extended above his helmet with
his index finger pointing up. All members of the formation should repeat this
hand signal. When this signal is given, all bikes immediately move to form a
single column in the center of the lane being careful to maintain proper
intervals. All bikes maintain single file until the leader signals double
file. Single file is used when the group passes through construction
zones, when on narrow lane roads and at the discretion of the leader.
- EMERGENCY STOP: Sound your horn and pat the top of your helmet with
your left hand. Bikes in front of you must repeat this signal until the leader
responds and begins to halt the formation as quickly as possible and in as
safe a manner as possible given the circumstances.
- GAS: If you need gas, sound your horn and point to your gas tank.
Bikes in front of you should repeat this signal also. The leader will
pull into the next gas station. No rider should assert himself
independently at any time!
- STOPLIGHTS: If the formation becomes separated by a stoplight, the leader
should stop the portion of the formation that cleared the light. He should
stop on the right shoulder of the road in as safe a manner as possible and
wait for the remainder of the formation to come through the light. Under
NO circumstances should any driver run a red light or speed up to
clear a yellow light.
- CARS: If you are driving a vehicle other than a motorcycle and are
following the formation, please DO NOT try to be a part of the
formation. Maintain a safe distance behind the bikes.
- Speed: The leader should try to ride within 5 miles of speed limit
(sometimes riding with traffic). If anyone is dissatisfied with fast speed,
continue to keep up, blow horn for the adjacent rider and give the THUMBS DOWN
sign. Everyone should repeat this sign to signal the leader to slow down.
The above ride rules are a combination of basic safety
recommendations used throughout the biking communities.