Blue Knights® CA VI Group Ride Protocol

As a riding motorcycle club we all need to know what to expect and how we will get from point A to point B and back in a safe manner.  But, even before we leave, there are a few basics we need to be aware of:

1.  Always perform your own safety check on you motorcycle before you leave home. This should include tire pressures, inspect the tires for excessive wear or any foreign bodies i.e. nails etc. Check your motorcycle’s head, tail and brake lights for proper operation.  You should make sure that everything (extra clothing, backpacks, etc.) is secured.

2.  Make sure that your fluid levels (oil, coolant etc.) are appropriate. Always arrive at the starting point with a full fuel tank.

3.  Know and understand what YOUR riding capabilities are and if you feel uncomfortable, be prepared to let the ride leader know BEFORE the ride begins. Remember that rider experience varies considerably, and it is the club’s goal to ensure personal safety for all riders.  As a club we should prescribe to the rule of “all for one, and one for all”.

Ride Leader Guidelines

As a ride-leader you’re priorities are many, the most important are:

1.  Conduct yourself and your riding style in a manner promoting the group’s safety.

2.  Provide leadership and supervision that allows all participants to enjoy themselves on the ride.

3.  The ride leader shall have the authority to terminate a rider’s participation in a given ride or event for reasons of safety or club image.

Planning the Ride:

      Be familiar with your ride destination.  Chart your route and be familiar with current road conditions.  Consider weather conditions including extreme temperature changes along the route. Know the mileage and  estimated travel times for the ride. Plan for stops along the route: for fuel, butt, potty breaks, meals and etc.  Estimate the time of return.  Communicating this information to all riders is very important.

Pre-ride Meeting:

     Announce the time and location for the pre-ride meeting as soon as possible.  When everyone is assembled, make sure that you know everyone, if not, introduce yourself.  If you don’t know a rider’s experience level, ask.  Make sure that all riders are comfortable and not riding over their capabilities.  You should communicate the following to all riders:

1. The ride route, lanes of travel, staggered or single file, planned stops etc.

2. Identify a back door or tail rider with communications abilities who is responsible for communicating with the leader if any problems arise etc. and for holding lanes for group lane changes.

3. Know the number of bikes in the group.

4. Notify everyone what C.B. channel will be in use.

5. Remind everyone that the rule is “all for one and one for all”, if anyone stops, the whole group stops.

6. Remind everyone to follow all laws and rules of the road, including speed laws.

7. If a rider must leave the group make sure that this intent is communicated to the ride leader. Leaving the group should be done at a group stop if possible.

8.  Give everyone the chance to ask questions.

Common Sense for Group Rides:

  How big is big?  Group size is important for safety.  The larger the group, the more difficult it is to manage.  As our club increases in membership so do the number of riders.  Ten cycles in a group is about maximum, especially in stop and go traffic.  You might want to consider breaking a large group into two or three groups, each with a leader and back door.               

Riding formation:  

     When possible we should ride in a staggered formation allowing two or more seconds between riders.  When riding in a staggered formation is not possible due to roadway width, twists, construction etc. we should leave 3-4 seconds between riders.  We should not ever ride two abreast unless riding at very slow speeds such as in a parade.  You should never pass the rider in front without letting the group know.  If you must for some reason, try to do so when the group is stopped.  See picture below signals.  Depicted are distance/times for slower travel. Leave more distance/times for faster speeds, but remain staggered.

Set the Pace:  

> A few miles of group riding should tell the leader how fast he should be riding to keep the group not only together but evenly spaced.  Make sure that you avoid riding like an accordion which usually occurs when you speed up and slow down abruptly.

> When you stop make sure that you pick a spot where ALL the bikes can stop safely and out of traffic or driveways and cross streets etc.

> When you start up again, check the number of bikes and make sure you haven’t lost or left anyone behind.  The back door person should let the leader know when everyone is safely back on the road.

> Watch turns at intersections.  Try to allow enough room so that the entire group can turn without having to wait for oncoming traffic.  This holds true for right turns against red lights.

> Avoid making left turns mid-block to enter gas stops or restaurants as they can be hazardous for the entire group.  Oncoming motorists do not expect motorcycles turning in front of them and following vehicles may not be able to react in time to stop.

> U-turns are sometimes necessary but they are also very dangerous.  Take the time to go around the block instead of making a u-turn.  If you have no choice, make sure that there is plenty of visibility to see approaching vehicles in all directions.  NEVER execute a u-turn at the crest of a hill, or where prohibited by law.

> When you are maneuvering in traffic avoid making numerous lane changes.  Pick a lane and stay in it.  If you have to change lanes let the backdoor know and attempt to do so as a group to avoid splitting the group between cars and trucks.  On multi-lane roads pick either the second or third lane for travel.

Hand Signals:

Below are the most common motorcyclists’ hand signals that our club will utilize so that members and riders without the ability to communicate via C.B. will know what the ride leader is planning on doing.

START ENGINES  With your right or left arm extended, move your index finger in a circular motion.

LEFT TURN  Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow fully extended.

RIGHT TURN Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90o vertically.

HAZARD LEFT Extend your left arm at point towards the hazard.

HAZARD RIGHT A   Extend your right arm at a 45o angle and point towards the hazard.

HAZARD RIGHT B  Extend your left arm upward at a 45o angle with your elbow bent to 90o and  point towards the hazard over your helmet.

SPEED UP  Raise your left arm up and down with your index finger extended upward. This indicates the leader wants to speed up.

 SLOW DOWN  Extend your left arm at a 45o angle and move your hand up and down.

 STOP  Extend your left arm at a 45o angle with the palm of your hand facing rearward.

 SINGLE FILE   Position your left hand over your helmet with your fingers extended upward. Indicates the leader wants the group in a single file formation. Usually this is done for safety reasons.

 STAGGERED   Extend your left arm upward at a 45o angle with your index and pinkie finger extended. This, also indicates that it is safe to return to staggered  formation.    

 TIGHTEN UP   Raise your left arm and repeatedly move up and down in a pulling motion. Indicates the leader wants the group to close ranks


Remember, safety is our main objective. Safety is amplified by consistency. If we follow the same guidelines for all our rides we will all be on the same page and know what to expect of our group rides.

Ride With Pride

Start Engines

Left Turn

Right Turn

Hazard Left

Hazard Right A

Hazard Right B

Speed Up

Slow Down


Single file


Tighten Up

Ride Signs

Ride Protocols