STAR #474 Manassas, VA

Ride Safety

Lane Changes

Posted by Wayne Vick on November 28, 2009 at 8:19 PM

In a group ride all lane changes starts with a request from the Ride Leader to the Tail Gunner. The Tail Gunner will (when it is safe to do so) move into the requested lane to secure the lane and informs the Ride Leader when the lane is clear. At this point, the Ride Leader has three options:

 

     Simple Lane Change: This is an ordinary lane change, and can be used in most situations. After the Tail Gunner has secured the new lane, the Ride Leader will put on his directional signal as an indication that they are about to order a lane change. As each rider sees the directional signal, they also turn their signal on, so the riders following them get the signal. The leader then initiates the change. All other riders change lanes too. The important concept is that NO ONE moves until the bike in front of him has started moving. So the formation fills the lane from the front.

 

     Rear Fill-in: This is sometimes necessary if a long enough gap cannot be maintained in the new lane, for example when trying to move from the right lane to the center and vehicles from the left lane keep cutting into the opening. After the Tail Gunner has secured the new lane, the leader (usually at the suggestion of the Tail Gunner) will call for the group to fill in the space from the rear. They signal this by raising their hand to shoulder height and "pushing" it towards the new lane. All riders repeat the signal, and the last bikes move into the space in the new lane ahead of the Tail Gunner, then the next-to-last bikes move in ahead of those, and so on until the Ride Leader finally moves into the space ahead of the entire formation.

 

     Block Lane Change: This can be used interchangeably with the Simple Lane Change. It requires a little more coordination, but it is well worth the effort and it’s also quite impressive to watch when it is done right, and gives the riders a tremendous feeling of "togetherness". This sounds a little complicated, but is actually very simple to do. After the Tail Gunner has secured the new lane, the Ride Leader will put on his directional signal as an indication that they are about to order a lane change. As each rider sees the directional signal, they also signals the turn, so the riders following them get the signal. When the Ride Leader sees that all are ready (the Tail Gunner may inform him by radio), he raises his left arm straight up. Each rider repeats this signal. Then, as the leader lowers his arm to point to the lane into which they are moving, they actually initiate the change. All other riders lower their arms at the same time and change lanes too. This allows the entire formation to move from one lane to another as a single block.

Categories: Group Riding

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