DonRon

filling a gap in staggered formation

17 posts in this topic

I would like to open a discussion on the correct way to fill a gap when rider taps out from the middle of a group when riding in staggered formation. There are two schools of thought on how this should be done. Each has strong followers on why it is the correct way to do it, and each also has its own inherent dangers.

  • Method 1 is that each bike in sequence behind the gap crosses to the other side of the lane to correct the staggered formation.
  • Method 2 is that the bike behind the vacant slot pulls forward and passes the bike beside it to correct the staggered formation.

As mentioned both have inherent risks involved, but I feel the biggest risk is the lack of uniformity in which method is used. Each chapter sets its own system of which they will use, some use method 1 and some use method 2. However we all ride with other chapters, and having one expectation and then seeing the opposite occur is not only unsettling, but dangerous. In other words if you regularly ride with a chapter that crisscrosses, and then ride with a chapter that pulls forward, you may find yourself crossing the lane just when the bike beside you is trying to pass you, and vice versa.

 

I think we need some discussion on this subject and then select a uniform system that will be used by ALL CMC chapters. Regardless of which method is selected, it should be the mandated standard for ALL chapters, as the lack of a standard is a serious safety issue.

 

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To that end, the following is my opinion on which method I believe to be better. This is to start the discussion only, and I re-emphasize, this is my opinion only. I believe that crossing lanes should be the standard that is selected, and here are the reasons why:

  • We tell everyone when riding in staggered formation that they have the use of the entire lane, most especially when cornering etc. The bike behind should never come forward into your space and you should never go forward into the space of the bike in front of you. Therefore a bike coming up from behind to pass you can be a total surprise, and cause you to take a potentially dangerous evasive maneuver.
  • In most jurisdictions (Ont included) it is illegal for motorcycles to ride side by side in the same lane, which would become necessary, even for the moment, in order to pass forward to fill the space.
  • There are a significant number of trikes, sidecars and spyders in the CMC family, all of which are extremely difficult if not impossible to pass within the lane.
  • I believe it to be far safer and easier to cross a lane (with an appropriate shoulder check, of course) than it is to come up from behind on another bike in the same lane whose rider may, or may not, be aware that you are doing so.
  • The Motorcycle Safety Association mandates crossing lanes, as do many other large groups (like HOG), so a high percentage of riders joining us from other groups already use this method.

I know there will be others with an opposite viewpoint to mine, feel free to chime in with your reasoning. This is a subject that really needs to be discussed, and as long as we all keep it civil, hopefully we can come to a consensus, and adopt a uniform standard.

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Now I could be wrong and I'm sure someone will correct me if so but, as long as I have been with the CMC I have always been under the impression and use "method #1". Have always seen this used in any chapter I have ridden with. Positive this is in our Group Riding Guidelines and used by CMC chapters. I had GRG printouts which can't seem to locate at the moment but maybe someone can post where to find GRG lines on our forum.

I should know where to locate but embarrassed to say I can't seem to find.

Your concern is understandable and fully agree that although both methods have their merits I believe #1 is our (CMC) method when filling gap.

There are links to Sunset HOG animation so I know this is used for familiarizing new members to our group riding practices..

Den

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Don, it is not illegal in Ontario to ride side by side. We frown upon it in the CMC as do other groups. In regards to filling the gap, I have seen it done via moving outside to in , in to outside etc. The Group ride protocol which was done by Guinness a while and which has been updated by o46 (Harvey Schmidt) does not deal with this issue. My feelings is move across the lane. Other thoughts?

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Don, it is not illegal in Ontario to ride side by side. We frown upon it in the CMC as do other groups. In regards to filling the gap, I have seen it done via moving outside to in , in to outside etc. The Group ride protocol which was done by Guinness a while and which has been updated by o46 (Harvey Schmidt) does not deal with this issue. My feelings is move across the lane. Other thoughts?

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I am really glad this topic came up and that's something that should be put in our updates for the future. On most rides I have been on we have always used Method #1 which in my opinion is the best choice, and only my opinion. This is something that I will add to the pre-ride meeting. As long as everyone is made aware of this it should not cause any problems except there are some that do not like to ride the shoulder side of the lane and maybe in this case they could motion the bike behind them to pull ahead and the rest could cross the lane. Only my two cents worth, but great discussion. Thank-you.

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I would tend to agree with method #1 as well. I've seen it done both ways and feel much more comfortable with this way over method #2 for many of the same reasons Ron pointed out. This is definitely something I will be adding to our pre-ride meetings to be sure the whole group is on the same page.

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In the preride infomation sesion usually it is mentioned that a rider will pull out at some point and time. If it can be known as to when they want to leave those riders could go to the back of the group at the previous stop.

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The replies so far have reaffirmed my belief on how CMC chapters prepare before heading out for a ride.

Pre ride info is gone over which includes route/destination, group riding procedures , RC can adjust for those that may want to drop out of ride early and everyone is kept on same page. The pre ride"talk" is so important.

Not just from RC stand point but also an opportunity for members to bring up any questions or clarifications they may need before heading out. We don't always know who may still be a bit new to group riding.

Tells me the chapters do all they can to make sure rides are as safe as possible while still keeping the enjoyment in the ride.

Good topic brought up and sure worth the discussion surrounding it.

 

Den

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The first thing that needs to be made clear before any group ride is the method to be used for this situation. This is why there is a safety briefing every time, all the time. Having said that, I have always preferred Method 1 for its simplicity and reduced risk. Of course, as I drive a sidecar rig and am bunted back to the tailgunner position all the time, it's a moot point for me, anyway.  :cool:

No matter what you ride or position you may be sitting in, your opinion is important and appreciated Mike :)

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What we have been doing in several BC chapters is this:

First, we tell riders to let the road captain know where and when they are leaving so the road captain will be prepared. Then when the person drops out, we put the group in single file, then back to staggered formation and it puts everyone in the correct order. Very simple, safe, legal and quick to do.

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at CMC045 we use method #2. However we leave the open space empty until we come to the next stop. Lights,stop sign etc. Then the riders in that lane move forward. Two reasons are: 1) like in previous post some people are not comfortable riding in either outside or inside lane. 2) some people are more comfortable riding near certain riders. 3) Helps tailgunner keep track of where each rider is. 4) after stopping for breaks everyone lines back up in the order in which we stopped. As we do a lot of riding with others and as our safety officer,I would love for CMC to set a standard.

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Personally I find the method used by the 045 might work the best. Riders don't have to change sides and the formation stays the same until the next stop and then the gap is filled but the riders are still on their preferred side. We've tried that in the 088 and seems to work. Just my thought.

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We use method #1 primarily.  As was mentioned before that section of the lane is "mine" so moving across it should pose no interference to any other rider.  Passing a rider in formation takes away that "my lane" safety net which could be unexpected by the passee.

 

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in the 056, we use method #3... in the event that someone drops out from the middle, the lead RC calls for single file, and then immediately after single file is achieved, calls for double file... this solves the issue without any crossing or question as to where anyone needs to move to.

cheers,

S.

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On 2015-05-05 at 2:30 PM, Vatman said:

What we have been doing in several BC chapters is this:

First, we tell riders to let the road captain know where and when they are leaving so the road captain will be prepared. Then when the person drops out, we put the group in single file, then back to staggered formation and it puts everyone in the correct order. Very simple, safe, legal and quick to do.

 

This is also how 008 Nanaimo solves this problem. There are times however, that the remaining riders take it upon themselves to adopt method #1. There are also times when, on our curvy, twisty roads, the problem sorts itself out on a bend in the road before the RC even knows that a rider has tapped out. Just Sayin' 8-)8-)

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The adopted way in BC is to put the ride into single file then back into staggered.  The problem sorts itself out that way. 

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Hi everyone. After reading the above and having used both method #1 and #2. As previously stated Method #3 is simple and safe, The RC puts the group into single formation then when safe to do so signals to put the group back into staggered formation. The Tail Gunner still has a good view of the entire group and control. Likewise so does the RC. In BC and particularly on the coast with narrow winding roads and blind hills this method functions the safest and smoothest for the group and for individual riders regardless of their level of experience.  This method works universally on any road configuration. Just my opinion but of all 3 methods #3 functions safer and more effectively for all riders in the group. There's my 2 cents worth. Cheers Great discussion.

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