Safety Guidelines

Bakersfield H.O.G. Chapter 1580 Safety Guidelines

Welcome! . . . . . . . Ok, as a Bakersfield HOG member, we do have some expectations but we want to expedite your comfort level, so read on . . . . . . .

  1. First, Always Ride Safe!!! Showing off does not impress us. We are recreational riders looking for fun, scenery and relaxation. There’s no competition during the ride and no races to be won along the way. The idea is to blend-in, not stand–out.
  2. Come to the monthly Membership Meetings. This is a great way to meet your new buddies and to find out what’s going on. We don’t bite . . . . . . . .so look for an empty chair, have a seat and introduce yourself to the table. See, you’ve already made some new friends!
  3. Whether you get them online, or in print – read the Newsletters!!! They are full of great riding events, director news, sponsor comments, and safety tips.
  4. Come on down to Bakersfield Harley-Davidson on Saturday mornings for coffee and donuts. It’s a great time to meet and greet.
  5. Introduce yourself to everyone. We’d love to meet you and yours!
  6. Volunteer! Help us build a better organization with plenty of activities and fun. Volunteering is one of the fastest ways to get to know people and what we’re all about. Stay active by participating and offering your ideas.
  7. We urge you to take a certified Motorcycle Safety Course. This may result in reductions on your insurance premium and if you are a member of HOG when you pass the course you will be eligible to receive a certificate worth $50 toward Harley merchandise.
  8. After you have read and understand the Group Riding section below, come ride with us! Until you are accustomed to riding with the group, you should ride one-up. Your passenger will be more than welcome once you are experienced and comfortable riding with the group.

Group Riding:

Staggered Formation

  1. Group riding is in a staggered double line. Bikes form two columns in a one lane. The first rider (Road Captain) is to the left side of the lane. The next is behind and in the right side of the lane and so on. Leave a minimum of two seconds between you and the bike ahead of you in the same lane, and one second between you and the bike to your right or left riding in the other track.
  2. Maintain your level of comfort! Do not feel you must keep up or meet anyone’s expectations and sacrificing safety as a result. We will not lose you and the group will adjust to everyone’s comfort level. Always think safety, safety, safety, for both you and your fellow riders.
  3. Try to keep the formation tight, but be willing to allow traffic to merge through the group to enter and exit the highway. Don’t feel impatient to regroup if a car integrates. We are not tied together. You do not have to act recklessly on the impulse that a car has split the group. Most cars are as uncomfortable being in between bikes and in time they will leave. Just be patient!
  4. Passing other vehicles should be done one-by-one, in two’s at the most – but never as a group. The lead bike should not attempt to initiate passing unless he/she estimates that there will be sufficient room and time to allow the entire mini-group to pass safely. The left-most rider should yield extra space so the right-most rider has room to pass.
  5. Maintain your lane position unless you need to ride up to fill a gap in the group formation.
  6. Fill gaps in the event a rider drops out of the ride. This should take place with riders in the column in which a gap has been created moving forward to fill in the gap, so that if there were five bikes in one column, and the second rider leaves, the rider who had been behind him moves up to taker his spot, and each rider behind moves up one space. Do not change over to the opposite track as this forces every rider behind you to criss-cross to re-stagger the whole group, which increases the chance that someone will clip another bike.
  7. At traffic signal stops, pull side-by-side. When starting out again, both bikes leave together with the left being allowed to accelerate a little faster in order to re-stagger the group.
  8. Hand Signals should be understood by every rider in the group and passed back when used by the lead riders.

Standard Hand Signals – Animated Example Images

  1. Avoid waving to other riders or pointing to things while riding in a group, which may be misinterpreted as hand signals.
  2. If another bike gets too close to your comfort level, signal him/her to back off.
  3. On turns at intersections, let the rider who was traveling ahead of you go first.
  4. Know the route ahead of you and never run stop signs or traffic signals to keep up… the group will slow down, pull over or exercise the Last Rider Rule, allowing all to catch up.
  • The Last Rider Rule: After making a turn, look behind you. If the group has separated from behind you – WAIT – at that intersection for the rest of the group to catch up, so they don’t miss the turn. Any section of the group ahead of you will be waiting at the next turn to direct you, and so on. This is important so that everyone knows where the group has made turns.
  1. If you are going to leave the group inform the group leader. If you become separated from the group, stay on the designated route. If you make any stops, stay within view from the road so as to be spotted by Road Captains.
  2. For Emergency Pull-Off, signal your intentions to the bike following and proceed to the shoulder. The Road Captain behind you will pull-off to render assistance. The remaining bikes should stay on the road and continue to the next rest stop or designated stop, whichever comes first.
  3. Pay attention to directions and instructions from the Senior Road Captain prior to departure.
  4. Each rider is expected to have his or her cycle in proper working condition with a full tank of gas. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. You should be alert and feeling well. Perform a safety check (tire pressure, turn signals, stop lights, oil, parts loosened by vibration). Your bike is to be licensed, inspected and insured.
  5. The club frowns upon alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs. You’re riding in formations and must be aware, sharp and alert.
  6. Group riding involves BrainPower, not HorsePower. It is easy to be mesmerized and/or hypnotized into feeling connected to the bike in front of you. It is important to avoid this, and to stay alert.
  7. Don’t be afraid to split from the group if you are uncomfortable or the group is becoming a “bad experience”. If the bikes you’re with are not riding safe or you’re having a tough time, hang a right and get “lost”. It’s fun to ride in a group but it’s sometimes more fun to cut loose on the back roads alone.