Riding Safety

Group Riding

Santa Maria H.O.G. Road CaptainsThe Road Captain will be in charge of all official group riding. He or she will make decision concerning direction, route, rest stops, speed and riding positions. Everyone should be aware of the route and stops before departure. The road captain will lead the group and the Sweep will bring up the rear and stop with anyone needing assistance. HAND SIGNALS: There are two kinds of hand signals. One is to communicate the Road Captains intentions to the group and the other is to communicate an individual’s intentions to other riders and drivers on the road. The use of hand signals are not mandatory; if they are to be used, the road captain will make it known at the pre-ride briefing. If the road captain uses hand signals they should be passed back through the pack so that all riders know the road captains intentions. RIDING YOUR OWN SPEED: The HOG group will ride at speed limits or a safe speed for conditions. If you wish to ride at a faster speed, please find other spirited riders to form your own group to our destination and don’t push other riders. Know your limits and ride your own ride. OWN SPEED: STAGGERED FORMATION: The hand signal for staggered riding is holding up two fingers in a “V” pattern. The road captain will ride in the left hand 1/3rd of the lane. The second bike will ride in the right hand 1/3rd of the lane and so on. All bikes should have a minimum of two seconds following distance behind the bike in front of them. Bikes on the right should be a minimum of one second behind the bike on the left and two seconds behind the bike in front of them. It is very important for all riders to maintain this spacing. Changes in the following distance cause the group to stretch and retract like a rubber band. This forces the bikes in the rear of the pack to ride faster, then slower, to stay with the pack. This spacing gives each bike one second in front and one second behind and the space next to him to swerve into if needed to avoid a hazard. SINGLE FILE: The hand signal for single file formation is the index finger in the air. Single file riding is for two lane roads with lots of curves and hills. In single file formation you should have a minimum following distance of two seconds. BRAKING: If you must use heavy breaking, remember there is another rider two seconds behind you who may not be able to stop. If you need to dodge an obstacle or brake hard, try to divert your bike out of the line of bikes so you don’t get rear-ended by the bike behind you.

Freeway Passing

The hand signal for passing is the same as turning left, which is, the left arm extended out horizontally. When the lead road captain signals that he is going to pass, the sweep bike may pull out to signal all bikes to move to the passing lane. This should always be done from the front to the back.  It is sometimes safer to break the group in half and wait for another passing opportunity. Passing should be done in the staggered formation. Before starting to pass each rider should do a mirror check and then a head check of your blind spot. Never return to the original lane until you can see the car / truck you have just passed in your mirror. TWO LANE PASSING: When the road captain makes the decision to pass, only that number of bikes that can safely make the pass should follow him into the left lane. When those bikes have passed and returned to their original lane, a few more bikes may pass. Don’t think that because you are a group that you have some right of way over other traffic, you don’t. If part of the group gets separated from the rest of the pack, don’t panic. Catch up when you can do so safely. TURN SIGNALS: Turn signals should always be used when turning or changing lanes. If you use your left arm to signal along with your turn signal, you will be much more likely to be seen. NEW RIDERS: If you are a new rider or have not ridden with a group, let the road captain know so you can be placed with riders that can help you learn the rules of group riding. LEAVING THE PACK: If a rider drops out, an open space will be left in the group. Each rider should check their mirror, do a quick head check of their blind spot and then cross over to the other side of the lane and fill the opening. If a rider has a mechanical problem, the last two riders should stop with the disabled rider. The rest of the group should keep going until it is safe to pull off the road. No bike should be parked closer than 8 feet to white line. After the problem has been ascertained, one of the riders will ride forward to the group with information on the problem and the road captain will decide what action the group should take.

Chapter Rider Safety Handbook

Group Riding Hand Signals
When the lead RC displays a hand signal it is up to everyone in the group to pass it back to the riders behind them. This can be relayed by the rider and/or their passenger.The following hand signals will not always be used with every group ride, but you are encouraged to be familiar with them. Hand signals used are at the discretion of the lead RC.
LEFT TURN
Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow fully extended.
RIGHT TURN
Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees vertically.

HAZARD LEFT
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard.  Additionally the rider may extend their left leg to indicate a road hazard on the left side.
HAZARD RIGHT
Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your elbow bent to 90 degrees and point towards the hazard over your helmet.  Additionally the rider may extend their right leg to indicate a road hazard on the right side.

STAGGERED or SIDE-BY-SIDE FORMATION
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.
SINGLE FILE
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.

SLOW DOWN
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and move your hand up and down.
STOP
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle with the palm of your hand facing rearward.