Memorandum for Record 13 November 2016
Subject: Group Ride Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the CVMA – Rhode Island Chapter
Duration: This SOP remains in force until modified by the Chapter Board of Directors, and under the authority, of a major vote by the Chapter membership.
1. General. The intent of this SOP is to provide information required to ride safely. It is not intended to restrict our actions, but instead, to help ensure that we all return home safely. At any time should these guidelines put anyone in harms way, use common sense and stay safe.
a. The key to safety when riding with a group is no horseplay and adherence to the Ride SOP. Any member observing unsafe acts by another member should bring it to the attention of the Road Captain and/or Tail Gunner.
b. We will set the example, and present ourselves as a professional appearing motorcycle group. We will operate and maintain our motorcycles in a safe and legal manner. We will not ride erratically or at excessive speeds as a group. Blocking is not allowed. No individual will ride in an inappropriate manner while wearing our patch. Inappropriate hand signals will not be given to motorists. Retaliation for a cage's bad road manners will not be tolerated. At no time will our actions on the road bring discredit upon the CVMA.
c. A cage will never lead us anywhere.
2. Rally Point and Departure Time.
a. The Ride Captain or Sr. Member that is attending ride will post Rally Point and Departure times to the membership by either e-mail or phone preceding the scheduled event.
b. The ride Captain will conduct rider briefing just prior to departure to establish a schedule for gas, rest stops, and intended route and review the group riding SOP including formations and procedures.
c. Members should make every effort to arrive promptly at the scheduled meeting time and be completely prepared for the scheduled departure time. This includes a full tank of gas and helmet when required.
3. Riding Formation and Individual Positions
a. The standard formation under good conditions of road, traffic, and weather, will be a staggered, in one traffic lane. The interval will be no less than one second between staggered riders, which will automatically make a two second interval between you and the bike directly in front of you.
b. The Road Captain will be at the head of the group and typically will ride just left of the lane center. The Tail Gunner will ride at the rear of the formation.
c. Order of March will generally be Officers, Full members, Auxiliary, Supporters, Non-patch holders, Guests, Road Guards, and Tail Gunner, then any one in a cage.
d. Anyone with little experience in group riding will be positioned at the rear of the group in front of Tail Gunner and Road Guards.
e. Under certain conditions, the Road Captain may signal the group to form a single file formation. The signal is the left arm held overhead with one finger extended. Drop back to a safe following distance from the rider in front of you and move into a single file
f. Sidecars and trikes will always travel in single file at the rear of the formation just ahead of the Tail Gunner.
4. Speed and Interval
a. The Road CPT will establish and maintain a uniform speed consistent with the ability of the least experienced rider, surrounding conditions, and the number of bikes in formation. This is especially important when considering new riders, new members or visitors. The Road CPT should continually check his mirrors to insure the formation is in good order.
b. All riders will make an effort to maintain the same speed to minimize the effect of irregular speeds on riders at the rear of the group.
c. All riders will maintain a safe distance and lane position between themselves and the rider directly ahead consistent with existing road, traffic, and weather conditions.
i. When riding in a staggered double file formation, riders must maintain at least a one-second interval between staggered riders (rider closest to you in the adjacent file). Whenever a single file formation is employed, a safe distance remains defined as a minimum of a two-second interval between riders. It is important to maintain a standard interval to discourage other vehicles from attempting to enter the formation, causing a dangerous situation. In heavy traffic situations, it is inevitable that other vehicles merge into the formation – should this occur; adjust speed and interval as required. Regain Order of March when it is safe to do so.
ii. The two-second rule interval is a general guideline for average highway riding. The interval may be adjusted based on speed and road conditions, generally the faster the speed, the greater the interval.
iii. If a gap occurs, it will be filled by moving forward, never by moving across.
5. Traffic Lane Selection
a. The Road CPT will move as an individual to whatever position is required to maintain a safe formation.
b. Riders will travel in the specified formation generally behind the Ride CPT as appropriate and safe.
c. Lanes are counted from left to right. The left lane is often referred to as the “Fast” or “Passing” lane, and is counted as lane number one. Remaining traffic lanes are then counted up until the right most, or “Slow” lane is counted. The Road CPT will attempt to lead the group in a single lane when conditions permit and:
i. 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 to avoid blocking faster surrounding traffic.
ii. On highways with two or more lanes each direction, the group will normally travel in the number two lane allowing faster traffic to pass to the left, except when passing slower traffic on the right.
iii. On 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(s) for traffic to pass.
6. Lane Changes and Passing
a. On multi-lane highways passes will normally be executed in formation if safe to do so.
i. The Road CPT will hold his or her position and signal for a lane change.
ii. All riders will hold their positions and pass the signal to the rear.
iii. The Tail Gunner will change lanes at the first safe opportunity, protecting the lane for the group, and allowing the Road CPT to see that the lane is clear and protected. The Road CPT should be aware of when the Tail Gunner has changed lanes by using his mirrors and should make a head check to insure no cars are beside the formation.
iv. The formation will change lanes using the “follow the leader” approach. The Road CPT will make a definite hand signal, indicating to the formation that he is moving into the other lane & changing lanes first followed by all other riders moving from front to the rear of the group.
NOTE: No one, except the Tail Gunner, is to change lanes before the Road CPT. Always make a head check before you begin the lane change and always maintain safe distances. There is also times when there will be minimal traffic and the Road CPT may signal a lane change and move over without waiting on the Tail Gunner.
b. There are times it will not be possible for the entire group to change lanes as described above. When this situation arises, the Road CPT will signal for a lane change and signal the group with one finger extended into the air. This indicates that changing lanes as a group is not possible. The Road CPT will then change lanes when it is safe to do so. Everyone signals, head checks, and changes lanes front to back, as individuals, when safe to do so. Should the group become separated, continue in the direction of travel and regroup when safe to do so.
c. On two-lane roads with two way traffic (one lane each way), a single file formation should be used when passing other vehicles. The Road CPT should also maintain a steady speed after the slow moving vehicle has been passed allowing the individual riders room to move back into formation ahead of the passed vehicle.
d. If for any reason the group becomes separated, merge safely back into the formation, returning to your original position using good safety practices. Blocking of other vehicles to insure group integrity is not allowed.
7. Dealing with Curves
a. On any stretch of curvy road and in any corner, a group may ride in single file momentarily, to enable each rider to corner at his own speed and to have as much room as possible for maneuvering. This is especially important to riders with little experience in a group, as they may “wobble” or be nervous about making turns with another bike to their side or riding close behind them. The lead bike usually will not signal for single file at each turn but will expect riders to choose their own path of travel.
a. It is recommended that members hold an EZ-Pass if possible.
b. When approaching a toll booth, the EZ-Pass/Cash Lanes closest to the right
will be used.
c. Riders will regroup on the right when safe after leaving the toll booths.
9. Unscheduled or Emergency Stops
a. Unscheduled stops for gas, rest room, or rider fatigue can lead to confusion in the group, and confusion can lead to accidents. The Road CPT should be informed that a stop is necessary in order to lead the group in an organized fashion to the next convenient and safe place to stop.
b. Any rider with an equipment problem should inform the Road CPT, one of the Officers, or the Tail Gunner as quickly and as safely as possible.
c. In emergencies, the Road CPT will halt the formation as soon as it is safe to do so. We will never leave a member stranded on the side of the road by them selves.
d. If a rider must pull out of formation immediately, with a mechanical breakdown, for example, only the Tail Gunner or assigned formation mechanic will stop to assist. If there is an assigned mechanic, they should be at the rear of the formation. The Road CPT will be informed of the situation and will halt the formation as it is safe to do so.
e. Any rider observing a problem with another rider’s equipment should inform that rider as quickly and safely as possible. If it appears that a stop is necessary, the Road CPT should be notified.
f. The Road CPT should use good judgment and common sense when choosing a location to halt the formation. Areas with hazards to motorcycles, such as broken glass, trash, loose sand, gravel, and fresh asphalt should be avoided.
10. Accidents. In the event the formation comes upon the scene of an accident or if someone in the group is involved in an accident, the Road CPT will halt the formation at the earliest possible moment. It may be necessary for the group to disperse and park separately to avoid creating additional hazardous conditions.
a. Road Captain. Has full charge of the group until arrival at the destination. The Road Captain will:
i. Lead the group ride in a manner consistent with the objectives and guidelines established in this SOP consistent with his best judgment in situations not specifically covered in these guidelines.
ii. Brief Tail Gunner and Road Guards on the route, responsibilities, and other details pertinent to the ride prior to departure.
iii. Conduct a rider’s briefing prior to departure.
iv. Exercise the responsibility for the final decision with regard to ride termination due to inclement weather, hazardous conditions, or other difficult or unsafe conditions.
v. Instruct any rider to ride in a specific position within the group, or leave the group entirely, for reasons of misconduct, disorderly or unsafe riding, or faulty/unsafe equipment. Common sense and tact should be used.
vi. Ensure a well maintained First Aid kit is available.
vii. Ensure a well maintained tool kit is available.
viii. Designate a 911- notification caller within the group and identify other riders with cell phones, first aid kits, and tools.
ix. Establish and maintain a uniform speed consistent with road, traffic, and weather conditions to accommodate the abilities of the least experienced rider.
x. Exercise responsibility for initiating all maneuvers within traffic in a safe manner.
xi. Generally lead the group ride in the standard formation – staggered, double file, in one traffic lane.
xii. Generally lead the ride from the front of the formation, riding just to the left of lane center.
xiii. Maintain a safe interval from traffic in front of the formation. This distance may be increased at the discretion of the Road CPT, but will not be decreased.
xiv. Adopt a single-file formation when conditions warrant. Conditions may include poor visibility, narrow road, mountain / curvy roads, traveling directly adjacent to parked vehicles, or any other condition which may severely restrict the ability of riders to perform emergency avoidance maneuvers.
b. Tail Gunner. The Tail Gunner will assist the Road CPT in the performance of his/her duties and may be required to assume the duties of Road CPT in his/her absence. The Tail Gunner will:
i. Be responsible for bringing First Aid Kit to the ride.
ii. Be responsible for brining a well-stocked tool kit to the ride.
iii. Ride at the rear of the group (except when conditions dictate otherwise) unless required to take on the responsibilities of the Road Captain.
iv. Observe any hazardous conditions or conduct, take immediate corrective action, and inform the Road CPT at the earliest safe opportunity.
v. Generally ride where he can best see the formation. Lane protection is the Tail Gunners added responsibility. On the highway, as the group prepares to make a lane change, the Tail Gunner will make the lane change as soon as is safe to do so, followed by the Road Captain, then the remainder of the group.
c. Road Guards. The Road Guards will assist the Road Captain and Tail Gunner in the performance of his/her duties and may be required to assume the duties of Tail Gunner in his/her absence. The Road Guard will:
i. Block Roadways for the safety of the entire group in the absence of a Police escort or traffic controls in order to keep group integrity. Traffic laws should not be violated.
ii. Break off with Tail Gunner to recover any member who makes an unscheduled stop.
12. Questions concerning this SOP may be addressed to the Chapter Board of Directors.
**Signature on File**_ **Signature on File**_
State Representative Commander