I. Introduction:

Organized riding allows us as a group to display our pride, discipline and camaraderie, but most of all, it’s safe riding. Rolling Thunder® Inc. Fl. Chapter 8 has developed this plan with the upmost safety in mind. When it comes to group riding, it is necessary that everyone knows the riding plan and complies with with the plan and all driving laws and regulations. Group riding does not exempt us from compliance to driving and traffic laws.

1. Organizing the ride. A pre-ride group briefing (This can a simply brief, or for more formal and longer rides, more comprehensive. It can take place while at a staging area, or with special ride meetings prior to the event.) In either case, Its purpose is to identify the road captain, road guards and formation positions, discuss the route to be taken, hand out maps,exchange phone numbers, discuss special instructions, planned rest and or fuel stops, weather and road conditions.

       a. The Formation: The formation may vary depending on the specific event. When flags are being flown by a color guard the flags always lead behind the road captain. Then the L&R flank guards, chapter president followed by the members. The formation is intended to be a balanced mixture of seasoned riders and those less experienced. A rear guard is also assigned to minimise stragglers and ensure no one is left behind should there be a brakedown or other incident. Unless designated otherwise, there will be no other position assignments. Note: Consideration should be given to positioning the less experienced riders in a mix with those more experienced. Guest riders or non members will take their place in the formation behind the RT members. There may be a time when other than members may be placed up front as a courtosuly to other RT Chapter members or organization presidents.

      b. The Route: When picking the route and stops made along the ride, consider the stamina of the group, the riding experience of all the riders, and the limits of the motorcycles. Remember, in many cases there will be guest on the ride. If it's going to be a long ride, be sure to have a few break and pit stops along the way. We have a mission to achieve, however it is important to make the ride safe and enjoyable as possible.

      c. The Pace: Keep a comfortable pace within the law and the limits of other riders. Riding in a group does not mean riders should surrender any decision-making when it comes to safety. (If you can’t keep up with the group single to the road team and follow their instructions) their recommendation may result in a pace adjustment or changing your position in the formation. Remember, once assigned or self positioned in the formation you should remain in that position throughout the ride. When a member of the road team leaves the formation, their place should remain reserved until they return. Vehicles other than motorcycles will follow in the rear of the formation except when flag vehicles at events and parades etc.

      d. Communication: Communication is important while on the ride. Make sure everyone knows the hand signals. Also, the road crew should be in radio contact at all times. Be sure to have radio coverage located so that you cover the front, middle and rear of the group and that they are fully functional prior to leaving for the ride.

2. Safety: Remember; the only good ride is a safe ride. We must be sure to keep our members (friends) safe at all times. Any display of inconsiderate or unsafe riding practices should be reported to the road captain immediately. There is no room for horseplay or any other riding patterns inconsistent to safe riding practices. Drinking and Driving don’t mix. The life you save could be your own, more importantly it could be someon elses. Rolling Thunder® reserves the right to: a) Reposition a rider in formation, b) Prohibit any rider who displays unsafe riding habits from riding in the formation.

3.General: The goal of the ride is to keep the group together and to minimize the potential for cars to break the formation. Keep with the pace, look ahead and stay alert at all times. While riding, don't fixate on the motorcycle in front of you. Instead, remember your basic training. Look well ahead or through the turn to where you want to go. If the group is riding faster than you are comfortable with, let the road team know and follow their instructions. (Signal for help: Open and close your fist several times until recognized.) 

      a. All riders are responsible for making sure their motorcycles are mechanically up to the ride. Before you even meet up with the group, make sure to top off the gas tank and persorm first echelon maintenance. Equipment does fail however, don't be the reason for stopping the group for something you could have prevented. 

      b. If it's going to be a large group, consideration may be given to splitting the group into smaller groups. In this case the groups will be pased at 1/4 mile intervals. Also etablishing a buddy system among the riders, that way if something goes wrong, you don't have 25 motorcycles sitting on the side of a busy highway. If there is a brake down have a buddy crew (1 or 2) stay behind and help, while the group continues on. (Pre-determine this before leaving on the run.)

      c. On the road, motorcyclists should have a minimum 3-5 second cushion in front and behind them. Adjust the cushion based on the weather and road conditions. Keep a safe, staggered formation. Leave enough room per lane so each rider can maneuver side-to-side if need be. Don’t ride side-by-side or lane share, these formations shrink your space cushion, are less safe and in most states are against the law.

      d. As turns get sharper, or as visibility decreases, or when roads have a rough or questionable surface pay special attention to the hand signals. You may be directed to move into a single file formation. If so, the rider on the left always moves first.

      e When coming to a stop at intersections, tighten the formation to side-by-side to take up less road space. As the light turns green, or when traffic opens up, the lead bike proceeds through first then return to your original staggered formation.

      f. When leaving a parking area or meetup point the road captain should consider the size of the group and traffic conditions. It's best to exit the parking area remain in the right lane at a slow pace to allow all of the riders to make it out of the parking areaand are successfully on the main road before increassing speed (keep the pack tight) to prevent the group from getting mixed with other traffic. After all are in formation and only then should you increase and maintain the driving speed.

       g. Road Guards should try and secure the lanes and be sure there is no cross traffic. However, remember we share the road, and “it's against the law to block traffic or intersections.”

      h. Trikes should NOT ride stagger or share lanes but rather ride center lane. If there are several trikes they should be lined behind each other center lane. After the trikes the normal stagger and positioning of other bikes can resume.

      i. Cars or other vehicles traveling with the group are to be positioned at the rear of the formation and should display "CAUTION Motorcycles Ahead" signs if possible. Exception can be made if the vehicle is displaying flags.

      j. Road Guards are to secure the lanes and be sure there is no cross traffic. However, remember we share the road, and “it's against the law to block traffic or intersections.”

      k. When entering a location or parking, try to get the entire group off the roadway as quickly as possible. If you can, arrange in advance to have pull-thru parking at your destination, or at the very least, make sure there is ample parking for the entire group.

      l. Prior to departing a location or parking area, be sure that everyone is in the formation and are ready to go. Avoid leaving without everyone being ready. Their need to catch up with the group may cause unsafe riding or conditions.

      m. Before Any Trip: Be sure to perform 1st echelon maintenance on your vehicle. Check oil and other fluid levels, check tires for air and excessive wear, check horn and all lights brakes and clutch. Gas-up before Showing-up, dress properly: eye protection, recommended; helmet, gloves. Be prepared; bring rain gear.

II. Hand Signals

      1.  Be sure to use hand signals whenever possible; However do not compromise safety or vehicle control in the use of hands signals. In group rides, it is suggested that the Road captain, Center guard and Rear guard perform the hand signals. This would provide clear visibility of the hand signals throughout the group while keeping hands on for the rest of the group. The same applies for bike waving or hi fiving other riders.

Hand Signals