Category Archives: All About Safety

HOG Group Riding Responsibilities

THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN REPRINTED FROM THE ROAD CAPTAIN’S HANDBOOK.
THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION OF GENERAL MEMBERSHIP RIDERS
GROUP RIDING RESPONSIBILITIES
FOR GENERAL HOG MEMBERS

Road Captains should strive to help maintain a safe riding environment by encouraging HOG members in the following areas:

IMPORTANT:

YOU, THE RIDER, ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY AND THAT OF YOUR PASSENGER.  WE IMPLORE YOU TO RIDE WITHIN YOUR CAPABILITIES AND THOSE OF YOUR MOTORCYCLE.  ENCOURAGE MEMBERS TO RIDE THEIR RIDE IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY

GENERAL GROUP RIDER RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Safety First
    1. All riders are asked to observe these time-proven practices in order to assure the safety and welfare of every person within the group, surrounding motorists, and pedestrians.
    2. Follow the suggestions of the Road Captains in all situations, unless, in your opinion, those instruction place the rider or any other individual in an unsafe condition.
    3. Maintain your motorcycle and equipment in a safe riding condition
  2. Meeting Places and departure Times
    1. Departure times will be reviewed at the Chapter meeting, in the HOGLOG and posted at Bakersfield Harley-Davidson.
    2. ALL MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS.
  3. Rider Briefing
    1. Advise riders of intended route
    2. Inform riders of any gas or rest stops
    3. Provide information concerning lead riders and sweeps of each group
    4. Review group riding practices, formations, and procedures
  4. Riding formations and individual positions
    1. Preferred Formation: The Staggered formation is the preferred formation for group riding under good road conditions, traffic, and weather.  This will be a double row, staggered, in one traffic lane.  The interval will be no less than one second between staggered riders.  (See attached diagram.)
    2. New members, guests, and any riders with little experience: NEW MEMBERS, GUESTS AND ANY RIDERS WITH LITTLE EXPERIENCE IN GROUP RIDING ARE ASKED TO MEET WITH A SENIOR OR HEAD ROAD CAPTAIN TO EVALUATE THEIR RIDING EXPERIENCE.  THE ROAD CAPTAIN WILL PLACE THE NEW RIDER INTO THE GROUP IN THE MOST APPROPRITATE POSITION CONSIDERING THE EXPERIENCE OF THE RIDER.
    3. Maintain position: We ask each rider to maintain his/her starting lineup position in the group until arrival at the destination.  Should a rider drop out, other riders in the group should maintain their same starting position.
    4. Change in Road Conditions: Under certain conditions the lead Road Captain will signal the group to form a single file formation.  The signal for this is the left arm held overhead with the index finger extended skyward.  Other riders in the group should give the same signal and begin to form a single file line increasing the space between the riders.
    5. Smaller groups:  Safety may dictate we form smaller groups due to the large number of riders.  ANY ROAD CAPTAIN WHO OBSERVES A SITUATION DICTATING HIS/HER GROUP SHOULD SPLIT UP WILL MAKE THE NECESSARY NOTIFICATION TO OTHER RIDERS TO SPLIT THE GROUP UNTIL THE SITUATION PASSES.
  5. SPEED, INTERVALS AND DISTANCES
    1. Safe Speed: Road Captains will establish and maintain a uniform, safe speed consistent with state law and the ability of the least experienced rider, surrounding road conditions, and safe riding practices based on his/her best judgment.
    2. Inexperienced Riders: In the interest of skill development and safety, Road Captains may choose to separate the group of inexperienced riders into a group of their own.  Any Road Captain who feels this may be necessary should make his/her concerns know to a Head or Senior Road Captain before the departure time of the scheduled ride.
    3. Speed Management:  All riders are asked to make an effort to maintain the same speed to minimize the effect of irregular speeds on riders at the rear of the group.
    4. Rider Separation:  All riders are asked to maintain a safe distance and lane position between themselves and the rider directly ahead; to be consistent with existing road conditions, traffic, and weather conditions.
      • Generally accepted Safe Following Distance
        1. Position Within the Lane Lines: A safe lane position is generally accepted as riding immediately to the right or left of lane center.  This will keep the riders just off the center oil stain, while maintaining the staggered formation, distance between riders and other obstacles, and providing necessary lane protection.
  6. TRAFFIC LANES
    1. Lane Selection: The front Road Captain will attempt to guide the group in a single lane; where the traffic flow appears to be most consistent with the speed of the group; using lane changes only when necessary to pass slower traffic or to avoid a hazardous condition and avoid blocking faster surrounding traffic.
    2. Two Lane Highways:  On two lane highways in each direction, the group will generally travel in the number two lane (aka: Slow lane) allowing faster traffic to pass to the left; except when passing slower traffic in the right lane.
    3. Three Lane Highways: Highways with three or more lanes in each direction, the group will normally travel in the number two lane keeping the right lane open for other vehicles entering and exiting the highway and the left lane open for faster traffic to pass.
  7. LANE CHANGES AND PASSING
    1. Lane Management: On a multi-lane highway, the double row staggered formation will generally be maintained.
    2. Lane Change: The lead Road Captain will communicate to the sweep the need for a lane change and in which direction using the CB radio.   The sweep will then, when safe, complete a lane change and notify the lead Road Captain when the lane is clear for the group.  The lead Road Captain will then signal his lane change and move into the appropriate lane after visually checking to ensure the lane is clear.
    3. Individual Lane Changes: There may be a time when a rider within a group may need to make a lane change for safety.  That rider should signal his turn with a turn indicator, make a visual check to ensure the lane is clear, and make the lane change.  When the safety issue no longer exists, that rider can reenter the formation when safe.
  8. EMERGENCY STOPS
    1. Emergency Stops: If a rider must pull over immediately, or has an accident:
      • ONLY the rear Second Sweep Road Captain will accompany that rider to a stop.
      • The front Road Captain should be informed if he/she is not aware of the situation.
      • Once the front Road Captain is informed, he/she will pull the remainder of the group over as soon as it is safe to do so.
      • PLEASE RESIST THE URGE TO PULL OVER IMMEDIATELY TO ASSIST.  IT CAN BE VERY HAZARDOUS AND INCREASE THE CHANCE OF ACCIDENTS IF WE BLOCK THE ROAD WITH ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT AND PEOPLE.
    2. EXCEPTIONS: The only exception to the above would be that trained medical personnel would be expected to pull over and render assistance if there is an accident.  Personnel stopping to render assistance should follow safe riding practices when doing so.
    3. Bike Problems: Any rider who observes a problem with another rider?s motorcycle or equipment should inform that rider as quickly and as safely as possible.
  9. HAND SIGNALS
    1. Standard Signals: At all times, we urge that standard hand signals be used for changing the formation to a single row and back to staggered formation, all turns, lane changes, slowing and stopping.  Turn signals should be used at all times also.
    2. Pass them Back: All hand signals should be relayed to the rear of the group to allow all riders to take appropriate precautionary measures and be aware of changes in speed and direction.
    3. Standard Hand Signals: Bakersfield HOG will use standard hand signals whenever a hand signal is used.

FINAL THOUGHTS

ALL ROAD CAPTAINS ARE ASKED TO ABIDE BY AND ENCOURAGE OTHER HOG MEMBERS TO ABIDE BY THE FOLLOWING:

If you, for any reason, are uncomfortable riding as we request, riding without a valid California driver?s license with a ?MI? motorcycle endorsement, proper insurance coverage, or are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, we respect your wishes, but ask that you not ride in our group.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE THE ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SAFETY, AND ALWAYS RIDE WITHIN YOUR CAPABILITIES AND THAT OF YOUR MACHINE?S.

Group Riding

GROUP RIDING…SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Your Bakersfield HOG chapter holds at least three group rides each month.  We have the Fun Run, the Dinner (Breakfast) Ride, and the Ladies of Harley ride.  For all of these group rides the dynamics are the same.

Bakersfield HOG uses the dealership as the meeting point for most group rides.  We do this because of the large, long alley just east of the shop that allows us to line up before we leave.  HOG wants all general membership riders to utilize the right (south) side of the alley to line up 2 by 2.  The Ride Leader will line up in the front along with the Chapter Officer attending to the group.  Road Captains will use the left side of the alley (the north side) to position themselves within the group and to position the sweeps at the point of the group where the separation, if any, will occur.  ONCE THE GROUPS ARE SEPARATED, PLEASE DO NOT PASS THE ROAD CAPTAIN/OFFICER MAKING THE SEPARATION TO GET INTO THE FIRST GROUP. The group is separated for safety reasons and we need to keep the numbers about the same in each group.  In other words, we don’t want 30 riders in group 1 and 10 riders in group 2.

Unless otherwise stated in the Rider’s Meeting, all group rides will start our in the staggered formation.  The staggered formation is used for safety reasons.  By riding 2 seconds behind the rider directly in front of you and 1 second behind the rider just to your right/left, the group is readily seen by approaching vehicles from all directions.  This doesn’t guarantee that a driver will not turn into the group but it sure helps.  IF A MEMBER IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH GROUP RIDING, INFORM A SENIOR/HEAD ROAD CAPTAIN OR CHAPTER OFFICER BEFORE THE RIDE.  HOG WILL MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO HAVE THAT RIDER FOLLOW THE GROUP WITH A ROAD CAPTAIN TO ENSURE A SAFE ARRIVAL. Group rides must maintain their formation for the safety of the entire group.

Let’s say you’re riding along in a group and a member pulls out.  What do we do with that empty space???  Answer: NOTHING.  Continue riding in the same formation as long as the group is moving.  When the group stops at the next stop sign or traffic signal, line up 2 by 2 and fill the vacant position then.  IF A RIDER FILLS A VACANT POSITON WHILE THE GROUP IS MOVING, ALL RIDERS BEHIND HIM WILL BE MOVING ABOUT CREATING A VERY UNSAFE CONDITION.

Whenever a group leaves from a standing start, the lead rider on the left has the right of way to move first.  Anytime a group is being led, the lead rider should use the left side of the traffic lane to lead the group.  So, when you’re lined up 2 by 2, remember, the rider on the left leaves first to establish the staggered riding formation.

Another question recently asked was…How does a group enter a freeway via an on-ramp?  Remember, the on-ramp is designed to gain speed to enter the freeway AT THE SAME SPEED OF THE VEHICLE MOVING ON THE FREEWAY. We don’t want to be traveling 45mph when entering traffic traveling 65mph.  This will create a very unsafe situation.  Our bikes will accelerate up to freeway speed rather quickly so make sure we enter the freeway at a speed consistent with traffic.  Also, ANYTIME A GROUP RIDING IN STAGGERED FORMATION ENTERS A FREEWAY, THE GROUP SHOULD AUTOMATICALLY REVERT TO SINGLE FILE TO ENTER THE FREEWAY AND THEN RE-ESTABLISH THE STAGGERED FORMATION ONCE SAFELY ON THE FREEWAY. No hand signals are necessary…this should be done automatically.

What about lane changes on a freeway???  When a lane change is to be made on a freeway, the lead rider will notify his sweep and ask  the sweep to access the lane desired.  When safe, the sweep will move to the desired lane and notify the ride leader of the change and the vehicle description of the car currently using the lane.  As riders in the group see the lane change, they will begin moving into the desired lane ONLY AFTER CHECKING TO ENSURE THE LANE CHANGE IS SAFE. The group will make the lane change only when vehicles have passed their position and they are changing lanes in front of their trailing rider  to ensure group integrity.  Group riders should not make a lane change, unless necessary to avoid a collision or road hazard, during a group ride unless and until the lane change is directed by the group leader.  Although this sounds confusing, it’s much simpler when observed during a group ride.

These are a few of the questions that came up for discussion at the last Road Captain’s meeting.  If any member has a question concerning any aspect of riding with HOG, please e-mail it to Director@bhog.owenfreeman.net.  We’ll get your question answered and let you know what the correct answer is.

Remember, our HOG motto is to “RIDE AND HAVE FUN.”  These guidelines are so we can ride and have fun as a group.  There is nothing better than riding with your friends and ending up somewhere to have some fun and friendship.

RIDE SAFE AND RIDE WITH HOG

Riding-in-Traffic Tips

Assistant Director Don Oldaker found these excellent riding tips on the Internet. Read and think about these and you’ll be a much safer rider. Close your eyes and recall your last ride in heavy traffic. Imagine the vehicles surrounding you, crowding you, cutting you off. Imagine yourself monitoring closing speeds, reading street signs, noticing and anticipating traffic lights. Then imagine guessing what pedestrians will do, or how slippery that painted line might be. And those drivers with cell phones, newspapers or screaming kids to deal with…Imagine trying to guess what they’re going to do. Riding in traffic can be a nightmare, especially for street-riding newcomers. Is it any wonder so many motorcyclists crash and burn while riding on congested streets? It’s amazing how many different tasks motorcyclists deal with on a normal traffic-choked commute. Doing it successfully means processing a multitude of items at once and reacting correctly to each. Doing it wrong can mean roadkill – – the human kind. Here are 15 smart strategies for dealing with traffic-choked streets.
WATCH DRIVERS’ HEADS AND MIRRORS Watching the head movements of drivers through their windows and mirrors is an excellent way to anticipate sudden moves. Most drivers won’t lunge left or right without first moving their heads one way or another (even if they don’t check their mirrors.)
TRUST YOUR MIRRORS, BUT NOT TOTALLY Your bike’s mirrors can be lifesavers, but they don’t always tell the entire story even if they’re adjusted properly. In traffic, always buttress your mirror-generated rear view wit ha glance over the appropriate shoulder. Do it quickly and you’ll add an extra measure of rear-view and blind-spot knowledge to your info-gathering tasks.
NEVER GET BETWEEN A VEHICLE AND AN OFFRAMP This sounds almost too simple, but drivers who decide to exit at the last minute kill plenty of riders each year. The simple rule, then, is to never position yourself between a vehicle and an off ramp. Passing on the right is generally a no-no, but in this day and age it’s sometimes necessary. So if you do it, do so between exits or cross-streets.
COVER YOUR BRAKES In traffic you must often react extra quickly, which means not fumbling for the brake lever or pedal. To minimize reach time, always keep a finger or two on the brake lever and your right toe close to the rear brake pedal. When that cell phone-yakking dorkus cuts across your path trying to get to the 7-eleven for a burrito supreme, you’ll be ready. rivers, especially in heavy traffic.
BE NOTICED Make sure drivers and pedestrians can see you, even from a distance. Ride with you high beam on during the day and wear brightly colored gear, especially your helmet and jacket.
BE READY WITH POWER In traffic, ride in a gear lower than you normally would so your bike is ready to jump forward instantly if asked. Doing so gives you the option of leaping ahead instead of being limited to just using the brakes when that pickup suddenly moves over.
TRAFFIC SLOWING? STAY LEFT (OR RIGHT) When traffic slows suddenly, stay ot the left or right of the car in front of you. This will give you an escape route if needed. It will also keep you from becoming a hood ornament if the car behind you fails to stop in time. Once you’ve stopped, be ready – clutch in, your bike in gear and your eyes on the mirrors. You never know.
PRACTICE THE SCAN Constantly scanning your entire environment while riding – from instruments to mirrors to the road ahead to blind spots to your left and right rear – keeps you aware and in touch with your situation, and therefore better able to react. Dwelling on one area too long – watching only behind or in front of you, for instance – is just begging for trouble.
LEFT-TURN TREACHERY When approaching an oncoming car that’s stopped and about to turn left, be ready, Your brights should be on so the driver can see you (during the day), but don’t rely on this to save you. Watch the car’s wheels or the driver’s hands on the steering wheel; if you see movement, be ready to brake, swerve or accelerate, whichever seems best for the situation.
STUDY THE SURFACE Add asphalt conditions to your scan. Be on the lookout for spilled oil, antifreeze or fuel: it’ll usually show up as a shiny pavement. Also keep an eye out for gravel and/or sand, which is usually more difficult to see. Use your sense of smell too; often you can smell spilled diesel fuel before your tires discover how slippery the stuff is.
RIDE IN OPEN ZONES Use your bike’s power and maneuverability to ride in open zones in traffic. In any grouping of vehicles there are always some gaps; find these and ride in them. Doing so will separate you from four-wheelers, give you additional room to maneuver and allow you to keep away from dangerous blind spots. And vary your speed. Riding along with the flow can make you invisible to other drivers, especially in heavy traffic.

Anticipate the “STUPID” Move

I was motoring down Renfro Road the other day and began approaching the intersection of Brimhall Road.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this intersection, Renfro is a through road and Brimhall intersects into Renfro with a stop sign at a “T” intersection.  Drivers on Brimhall Road must turn either north or south and can’t go straight across.

I was traveling southbound and when I checked the intersection.  I saw  a large black pickup truck waiting to turn right, or north towards me.  I looked unter the truck and noticed another vehicle waiting to turn left, or south.

Having been through several driving schools as a police officer, I anticipated the car behind the pickup making a turn directly in front of me.   I let off the gas and prepared to brake accordingly.

Holding true to my beliefs, the driver began turning across the northbound lane directly into my path while the truck was still waiting to make the right turn.  There was no way the driver of that vehicle could have seen me or any other vehicle approaching and simply pulled out.  Once she cleared the truck, she stopped abruptly as I was braking my Ultra Classic.  I was able to let off and go around her front fender.

Had I not anticipated the “stupid” move, I would have certainly struck the vehicle.

I slowed and she stopped beside me which gave me an opportunity to inform her that motorcycle riding is safe until drivers like her get on the road.  She said she couldn’t see me and I told her she could not see anything except the side of the truck that was next to her vehicle at which time I drove off, albiet, with a higher heart rate.

The point of this information…Watch and anticipate that drivers will make the worst possible move at the worst possible time.  Remember, these people are talking on cell phones, eating, text messaging, and doing everything else except concentrating on their driving.  By anticipating their poor driving habits, you’ll be able to go home on your Harley rather than go to the hospital in an ambulance.

RIDE SAFE AND STAY ALERT

Dave Fisher, Road Captain

Dragging a Peg

If you are new to motorcycling, someday as you become more comfortable in the saddle you will be about half way through a curve when you will hear a scraping noise which will be accompanied by a shuddering vibration through one of the footpegs/footboards.

If you are like most people, you will immediately get a clenched feeling in the pit of your stomach – snap the throttle closed and try to get the bike upright by shifting your weight away from the dragging peg.  Worse, you may try to brake in mid corner.

All of these are not only incorrect, but dangerous.

Closing the throttle and leaning away from the peg that is scraping along the pavement will LOWER the bike on its suspension and cause the lean angle to INCREASE, not decrease.  Braking will cause the bike’s weight to shift to the front suspension, lowering the front end and pushing the footpeg further into the ground. Since you are already using a bunch of your available traction just in cornering, braking may also cause one or both tires to slide out from under you, resulting in your scraping a lot more than just a footpeg.

There are three things you can do when you hear/feel a peg scrape to solve the problem:

(1)  Since you should have already been accelerating through the turn you can gradually roll on the throttle to raise the bike on its suspension;

(2)  You can shift your weight toward the dragging footpeg (which will make the bike stand up a bit to offset your weight shift); and

(3)   You can widen your turn, if possible, by countersteering away from the downward side.

If you can’t widen the turn, it is better to ride through the turn even with a peg scraping than to try to stand the bike up and brake.  The footpeg will lift up on its pivot, and most motorcycles have several more degrees of lean between dragging a footpeg and scraping the frame or something that will lift the wheels off the ground.

Think about it  –  and ride safe           Don Oldaker – Safety Officer