STAR #474 Manassas, VA

Ride Safety

Ride Formations

Posted by Wayne Vick on November 28, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Ride Formations

When STAR 474 goes on a group ride we observe a few formations:


     Single File: This is a formation in which all the cyclists in a group ride in one track of a lane. (See Definitions for Track) This ride formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility, poor road surfaces, entering or leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or maneuvering room is needed.


     “Double Up” Staggered Formation: The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. This is the standard riding formation for most groups unless the ride leader calls for single file. In staggered formation, the bikes form two columns in a single lane, with the leader at the head of the formation in one column, usually in the left track. The second bike will take the lead of the second column, in the right track, and will ride approximately 1 second behind the leader. All other riders position their bikes 2 seconds behind the bike directly in front of them, which puts them 1 second behind the closest bike in the next column.


This formation allows each rider sufficient safety space and discourages other vehicles from cutting into the line. The last rider, known as the Tail Gunner, Sweep or Drag Bike, may ride on whichever side of the lane he prefers. He will have to change sides during the ride, based on the situation at the moment. (see Definitions for Tail Gunner).


     Parade Formation: This is a formation in which all the motorcyclists in a group ride two abreast (side by side) in the same lane. Note that this formation is illegal in most states unless riders are in a parade.


     Parking Line: a formation in which all bikes in a group follow the Lead Bike in single file into a parking lot or gas station, making a U-turn such that they can all line up next to each other in the space available with the rear of their bikes against the curb or edge of the lot, the front tires pointing outward.

Categories: Group Riding

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