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Safety and Group Riding Standards for ALL DOOFAPALOOZAS, FESTS, HWY 43 RIDES, ETC. If you plan on attending, we expect you to familiarize yourself with and follow these guidelines. We want to have a blast, but we want everyone to get there and back in one piece. Feel free to add your own safety comments and info.

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Old 05-17-2010, 04:29 PM
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Group Riding - READ THIS before heading out!!!

Some Group Riding Tips and other such stuff for a nice safe Doofapalooza

Group rides are not sanctioned by this forum or by, LLC nor are they limited to members of this forum. These rides are independent get togethers of individual riders in the name of friendship, are open to the public, there are no charges or fees involved whatsoever, and everyone who attends does so at their own risk and expense. Any and all liability is the responsibility of each rider. The Doof Clenas Motorcycle Forum & Collective and any member thereof serving in any capacity, as well as, LLC, shall be held harmless for personal injury or property damage due to any accident or incident that takes place during any event, or any training session, endorsed or otherwise organized through the use of The Doof Clenas Motorcycle Forum & Collective website or forums.

That being said, it is prudent to follow some general and well established safety guidelines be it a Doofapalooza or a local ride.

Make sure that you print maps of the area you are planning on riding ahead of time. No maps will be provided. If you can't or don't want to take the time to research the area and print your own maps, maybe it is better to stay home. Google is a great source to locate virtually any area and print maps:

The information found in this safety forum is a compilation of common knowledge and writings from experts in the field. Please be aware that your safety is your responsibility first. Any asshat conducting themselves in an unsafe manner while at a gathering of Doofs, Zints, or Delinquents, will be asked to leave immediately.

Some Ideas That Work:

A. Pick a destination for the ride along with intermediate stops ahead of time. Each ride should have a “Cat Herder” (Ride/Road Captain) who will take a head count at the beginning of the ride, at each designated stop and at the end of the ride.

B. Break up a larger "Group" of riders into "Mini-Groups" (no more than 5 - 8 riders).

C. Faster Mini-Groups head out first ending with the slower Mini-Groups heading out last. Be honest about your riding ability.

D. Each Mini-Group should have a "Lead Rider" and a "Sweep Rider". One rider will be designated as "Final Sweep" and is the last man to arrive at each stop.

E. All riders will stop at each intermediate stop and remain until the Final Sweep arrives. This way, we know that all riders have arrived safely at manageable intervals.

F. If anyone or any group decides to not be part of the ride, that's fine. Do your own thing, but you are on your own. Just let us know what is going on ahead of time so we don't waste time looking for you. If you go on the ride and decide at some point you wish to leave the ride, do so only at one of the designated stops and not before you have notified your Mini-Group Leader and the Cat Herder of your intentions.

G. The goal is for everyone to have a great time and ride where and when they want and with whatever size group they prefer AND at their own speed and comfort level.

H. No one is expected to go on any or all rides. Do what you want. But if you decide to ride with the group, then play along and most importantly, be safe around other riders.

What NOT TO DO!!!!!!!

1. Do not follow too closely, it is the number one cause of accidents in group riding. Know the stopping capabilities of your bike (one-up, two-up, loaded, unloaded, etc.) and adjust your following distance accordingly.

2. Don't make sudden changes in speed, stop abruptly, or make sudden, un-signaled turns unless required for “emergency maneuvers”.

3. If something falls off you or your bike, DO NOT stop or suddenly slow down. Rather, allow the Sweep rider to retrieve it or if necessary wait until an opportune time and exit the formation in order to retrieve the lost item. Pretend you're pulling a trailer.

4. No side by side riding at any time other than straight and low speed portions of your route AND only if the rider ahead of you invites you to come up beside him/her.

What TO DO:

1) Organize the ride. This can be as informal as standing around in a parking lot, or as complicated as a special meeting to hand out maps and cellphone numbers. The Cat Herder will head up the pre-ride meeting, making sure to review the where, how and safety rules (follow distance, formation, hand signals, etc.) for the ride. The Mini-Group Leaders will handle specific details for their respective groups.

2) Remember that riding in a group does not mean you surrender any decision making when it comes to your safety. Ride your own ride, and don't go any faster than you feel comfortable going.

3) When picking your route and the stops you'll make along it, consider the stamina of the group, the experience of all the riders, and the limits of the motorcycles in the group. Go for shorter more scenic runs, rather than 5-6 hour rides. If it's going to be a long ride, be sure to have a few break stops along the way.

4) You'll need to communicate while on the ride, so make sure everyone knows the signals you'll use. Some common hand signals can be found at the bottom of this page. A downloadable pdf can be found here.

5) When creating your formation, it's wise to have your experienced riders at the lead and running sweep. Consider positioning the less experienced riders immediately behind the leader. This allows the front rider to adjust the pace if necessary.

6) Ideally, the sweep rider will have a cell phone to call for help if a motorcycle is disabled, or if there has been an accident.

7) If the goal of the ride is to keep the group together, the leader should only go at the pace of the least experienced rider.

8) While riding, don't fixate on the motorcycle in front of you. Instead, remember your basic training. Look well through the turn to where you want to go.

9) If the group is riding faster than you are comfortable with, let the sweep rider know you're dropping out and ride at your own pace. So you may reach your destination a few seconds behind the others, but you will get there, and that's what's important. Keep in mind, it's all about fun.

A Special Note About Competition
Motorcyclists change when riding in groups and when riding with others a wholly different persona sometimes emerges. We can develop competitive spirits. While a little competition never hurt anyone it needs to be redirected when riding with others on the street. Peer pressure is not the real danger it is your own personal pressure to perform that is dangerous.

10) All riders are also responsible for making sure their motorcycles are mechanically up to the task.

11) If it's going to be a large group, divide the group into smaller 5 - 8 rider mini-groups. That way, if something goes wrong, you don't have 25 motorcycles sitting on the side of a busy highway. Also, smaller groups can more easily navigate through city streets.

12) On the road, motorcyclists should have at least a 2-second cushion in front and behind them. If you want to keep the group tight, consider a staggered formation:

Leave enough room per lane so each rider can maneuver side-to-side if need be. Avoid side-by-side formations as they shrink your space cushion. Maintain your position within the group unless the rider in front signals you permission to pass or conditions allow for passing on the left as per normal, legal and prudent driving practices without infringing on the lane of another.

Ride a different track. Just because you are riding a staggered formation does not mean that you have to stay in your track. There is a whole lane at your disposal without encroaching on the traffic rights of others. You use the staggered formation to give each rider maneuvering room in case you need it. Rather than ride over a patch of shiny or unusually black surface assume you need the maneuvering room and avoid the questionable surface.

13) As turns get sharper, or as visibility decreases, move back to a single file formation. You'll also want to use single file when entering or exiting a highway, at toll booths, or when roads have a rough or questionable surface.

14) At intersections where you've come to a stop, tighten the formation to side-by-side to take up less space. As the light turns green, or when traffic opens up, the bike on the left proceeds through first.

15) Obey the rules of the road....stop passing zones...speed limits.

16) Changing Lanes as a Group

There is virtually no time (absent an emergency) when a group of riders should all move at the same time into a different lane, in regular traffic conditions. The wide gap required for a whole group to move is difficult to find in heavy traffic, and if it exists, it will be an invitation for other drivers to jump into it, perhaps while the group might be moving. Additionally, such a maneuver could be interpreted as “parading”, which may arguably not be covered under some insurance policies.

Changing Lanes into Slower-Moving Traffic

Changing Lanes into Faster-Moving Traffic

Some great animations of group road manuevers!

17) Your mirrors only say NO. If you see a problem in your mirrors they are telling you NOT to move into that problem. If they do not show you a problem that is not the same as them saying YES go ahead and make your move. HEAD CHECK EVERY TIME.

18) Lead Riders, when parking, try to get the group off the roadway as quickly as possible. If you need to pull over to the side of the road, make sure it is in a safe area and easily visible (ie. sufficiently past the crest of a hill) to traffic. If a Doof Loop (U-Turn) is required, try to find either a parking area or wide enough spot in the road to pull over before initiating the Doof Loop. The group should proceed with the Doof Loop with the same safety considerations as proceeding from a Stop sign at an intersection.

19) If you or your significant other are planning on bringing a truck or trailer with tools, we'd appreciate you letting us know well in advance. Nothing like a support vehicle when you are in the middle of nowhere, just sayin'.

Some Common Hand Signals

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