Rider Safety...

Safety is of the utmost importance when riding. See and been seen. Here you'll find a number of great safety tips to make your riding safer and more enjoyable. If you have some additional safety related information you would like to share with the group, please contact our Safety Officer.

Hand Signals

Most hand signals are given with the left hand so that the right hand remains on the throttle and near the brake controls for safety.

Staggered Formation

Ride in formation. The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to manoeuvre and to react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A single-file formation with a minimum 2-second following distance is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or manoeuvring room is needed.

side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. You don’t want handlebars to get entangled.

Periodically check the riders following using your rear view mirrors. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this procedure, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.

If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.

For mechanical or medical problems, use a cell phone to call for assistance as the situation warrants.

If a rider leaves during the ride, the rest of the group should re-form the staggered formation by criss-crossing into the next vacant position. Although it would seem more efficient for the column directly behind the missing rider to move up, we do not recommend it because passing another rider within a lane can be risky.

Safe Riding Tips

Few activities build camaraderie and memories faster than chapter rides. They are one of the core H.O.G.® Chapter activities. That’s why it’s so important that they’re conducted safely.

Group Riding Tips

There are a number of factors that come into play when planning or participating in a group ride. Here are some suggestions for making your rides safe and successful.

Planning the Ride

Leading the Ride

Participating in a Ride

Emergency Stopping

Overtaking

Keep the Group Together

Safe Riding Tips

Motorcycling is a fun, exciting and practical way to get around. But, like any other activity, it has risks. The reality is that you are exposed and vulnerable; it is up to you to avoid accidents and injury. Risk – and how you treat it – is what safe riding is all about. To help you reduce and manage risk, use the following tips as a guide:

Other Tips for Touring

Now, take responsibility for your riding, learn more ... and go enjoy yourself!

Short Checklist for Group Riding:

Wet Weather Riding

Rain and bad weather produce low light conditions and other vehicles produce road spray all combining to limit your visibility to other road users. Waterproof boots and gloves are also a must. Throttle, clutch and brake controls on a motorcycle all require feeling and dexterity of your hands and feet. Once your hands and feet get wet, it will only be a short time before they get cold and you reduce or lose your ability to manipulate your motorcycle controls.

Also, being wet and cold will distract you from your attention to riding, something you don’t want to happen while you are riding in the rain. You want to maintain your mental edge. You should have clear lenses for your glasses or a clear face shield to permit clear vision. Be aware of fogging of your glasses or visor in rain conditions. Opening your visor open a bit or moving your glasses further away from your eyes will permit air to flow on the inner side of the lenses and keep them clear.

The first 10 to 15 minutes of rain is the most dangerous with the rain water mixing with the oil, dirt and road debris that has been sitting on the surface to create a greasy, slippery coating on the road. This usually washes away within this time so if you can, pull off under a bridge or other dry spot and use this initial raining time to put on your rain gear and adjust your riding attitude and style to suit these new conditions, by the time you’re ready to go again the road will be less slippery.

Note that your bike set up is more critical in these conditions and you should always be checking your lights and tires prior to riding so you are prepared. The condition and traction ability of your tire’s contact area can make the difference between the weather being a minor inconvenience to taking a ride in the back of an ambulance. Check your tire pressure and your tread depth prior to all rides. Your tire pressure should be at the manufacturer’s recommended rating and your tires should have enough tread to channel away water from under your bike’s tires.

Research shows that a motorcycle will have 75 to 80% of maximum traction in wet weather. If you have been applying good riding techniques in our motorcycle riding style in the dry, apart from the reduced traction, nothing else should change when it rains. What wet riding does require is good smooth application of your clutch, throttle and brakes. Wet riding is to be a lot less forgiving than dry weather riding when it comes to errors of under or over application of the bikes controls. Do your accelerating and braking in a straight line, set your corner speed in advance, smooth application of your clutch, throttle and brakes will keep the wheels of your motor from breaking free from the traction of your tire’s contact area. Keep your eyes up and identify hazards well ahead of time so you can make smooth adjustments. Remember to look where you want to go.

Hydroplaning occurs when a tire cannot channel all the water out from under the tire and the tire rides up on top of a thin layer of water and removes all of your traction. You might get away with this on a four wheel vehicle but a crash is almost inevitable on a motorcycle. Many factors affect when a motorcycle will hydroplane; water depth, speed, weight, width of tire, tire tread depth and tread pattern. All tires will hydroplane when presented with the right combination of these factors. The experts say keeping your speed below 90km/h will reduce most of this risk, but there are no guarantees. If you do hydroplane, do not steer, lean or apply any braking but maintain your direction, look ahead where you want to go and PRAY. Scan the road surface for hazards such as puddles and smooth black tarseal can help avoid potential hydroplaning situations. Riding in the track of the vehicles ahead may also help avoid these situations as the tires of that vehicle will disperse the water on the road so your tire won’t have to work as hard. Also, when the vehicle ahead hits a puddle the spray from the puddle will indicate a hazardous situation for you to avoid.

Along with the risk of hydroplaning in pooling or ponding water, you must also be aware of varying road surfaces reacting differently to rain. Steel plates, earth, painted road markings, and railway tracks all change their coefficient of friction (grip) to differing degrees when wet.

Rain + Night (a double whammy). Every drop of rain lying on the road, in puddles, on your windshield, on your glasses or visor, refracts light given off by headlights, tail lights and street lights into your straining eyes. Add flashing emergency lights to this equation and you may overload your optical inputs. Remember to focus on the the outside white line on the left your lane of the roadway to avoid being dazzled by oncoming lights.

Good luck, ride safe and have fun