RCMC Group Riding Procedures & Hand Signals

Rose City Motorcycle Club (RCMC) group riding procedures are based on a combination of information and materials developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and our own practical experience. The objective is safety, convenience and time efficiency in the assembly and movement of a group of motorcycles through a variety of traffic situations.

Group Riding Information
Following MSF guidelines, we here in RCMC ride in a "Staggered Formation." The following distance we use within the formation is based on the "2 Second Rule" of thumb. That is you should be 2 seconds back from the bike directly ahead of you and 1 second back from the bike either ahead left or ahead right in stagger from you, within the lane.
This following distance is to provide a space cushion around each rider that gives each one in the formation enough time and distance to brake and/or swerve in case of a sudden, unexpected hazard that requires evasive action by any part or all of the group.
If this doesn't seem to make any sense to you, watch what the other riders are doing and follow their example for following distance and space cushioning.
REMEMBER! Too much following distance can be just as bad as, and frequently is _WORSE_ than too little following distance. If the formation lacks uniformity in what we appear to be doing, then we don't "look" like we are "together" as group. And we become reguarded as random individual vehicles in the traffic pattern, and not like a group or unit trying to function as one vehicle. Too much following distance INVITES cars into the formation, splitting it up in traffic. And if we don't control our lane space the cars _WILL_ take it away from us. Be prepared! Non-motorcycling car drivers really do NOT understand what we do when we ride as a group or why. So, if a car starts to blindly move into or through the group - LET THEM IN. We can always re-form the group a little later down the road.
If you are new to group riding or are uncomfortable riding in a group, please let Lead and /or Sweep rider(s) know. Excessive following distance defeats the purpose of maintaining an equally spaced stagger formation. It is much better for your safety and the safety of the group, that you ride individually 1/4 mile behind the group. And we want to encourage you to be comfortable about making that choice.

Group Riding Hand Signals
Not to be confused with Traffic Signals
Most hand signals are given left-handed so that the right hand remains on the throttle and near the brake controls for safety. Following bikes can acknowledge comprehension of the signals they see by a quick flick of the dimmer switch.
 To gain the attention of the lead bike or the bike in front of you, flash your brights. The lead bike can then nod acknowledgment, or give the "Come Alongside signal when safe to do so. The following rider can then signal his/her needs.
(Click on the image for an enlargement)
Hazard in the Road 
Point immediately with emphasis. Sometimes done with the right arm.
Stop or Slow
Arm extended straight down. Palm back
Need Comfort Stop
Upper arm extended. Forearm straight up and down. Fist clenched. Short up and down motion like pulling a toilet chain.
You Lead
Arm extended down. Palm forward. Swing forward from the hip in an arc.
Single File
Arm and index finger extended straight up.
Double File
Arm extended straight up. First and second finger form "ram's horn" signal.
Check Headlight
tap on top of head with open hand, palm down
Need Fuel Stop
Arm out to the side. Point to the fuel tank.
Need Food, Coffee Stop
Arm out side. Fingers closed. Thumb to mouth.
Come Alongside
Same as "You Lead" but with ending with alongside pointing motion.
CB, Can you hear me
Tap helmet with index finger and then transmit "Can you hear me? You don't answer when I call"
Turn Around
Sweep your left arm around counterclockwise with the index finger pointing

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