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VOG Riding Rules Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 May 2006

On this page, by scrolling down, you will find the following:

  • The VOG Formation Riding Rules
  • Formation Officers and their functions & responsibilities
  • Signalling

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 V.O.G FORMATION RIDING RULES.

(Please note: The singular shall herein include the plural, masculine shall include the feminine)
WHAT IS MEANT BY A “GROUP RIDE”?

1. If there are three (3) or more motorcycles in a group, it could constitute a group ride.
2. A formation is "established" when riders travel in a group, with distances of between one to two seconds separating each rider. A staggered formation should be set up.
3. Two (2) riders travelling together will not constitute a group ride.
4. If the distances between riders are consistently greater than two seconds, it shall not constitute a group ride and shall not require a staggered formation to be set up.

WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT ABOUT SETTING RULES FOR A GROUP RIDE?

1. It promotes safe riding principles for bikers & other traffic.
2. The art of precision riding is fun and also adds a sphere of socio-competitive interest for riders, enhancing the bonds of brotherhood, cooperation and interaction between members of the ride.
3. Courtesy is paramount to the successful execution of travelling in convoy, for rider attitude towards each other on the one hand and the general public and road users on the other.

Image
. . whenstopping the riders pull up side by side . .


WHAT GOVERNS THE PARTICIPATION IN A V.O.G SANCTIONED GROUP RIDE?

• Note that no other rules from any other source, club, body or otherwise are to be used or considered valid for V.O.G formation riding.
• Only the road ordinance rules of the state, may at any time override the rules contained herein.
• V.O.G shall not allow integration of it's formation into that of another organisation or club or to be led by an outsider or uncertified road captain.
• V.O.G shall retain its own formation separated by approximately five minutes in front of or behind any other group. The nominated road Capt. for the ride shall have total jurisdiction and say over the V.O.G formation and may, if pressured by any third party, disband the V.O.G formation in total and declare the run null & void.
• However, other riders may join a V.O.G formation, but shall then abide by & honour the riding rules of V.O.G and shall complete & sign the V.O.G run register / indemnity form.

THE PRE-RUN BRIEFING & DUTIES OF THE AREA SCM

All cells will gather at a predetermined and clearly identified locality, which shall be called the COLLECTION POINT. It is usually a venue that may be used for refuelling and has shop, ATM’s and toilet facilities.

It is the responsibility of the AREA SCM’s to produce an indemnity form & register, which is to be fully completed & signed by every participating rider in the V.O.G group prior to departing on a ride. Such detail shall include a record of the name and contact number of the next-of-kin (not on the ride) of every rider and pillion registered. The AREA SCM will take note that all details on the register are filled in correctly.

The AREA SCM’s are authorized to exclude any person not complying with the following safety requirements, requesting them to leave the formation or to travel behind the SWEEP.

While the rider or pillion may be ignorant of the following and should be given opportunity to address the situation, listed below are grounds for being excluded from the formation:

1. Any motorcycle not deemed to be roadworthy and a danger to others on the road.
2. If clearly under the influence of liquor or drugs.
3. Not wearing a crash helmet.
4. Any pillion passenger, when seated and astride a motorcycle pillion seat, (straddled) facing forward and in riding posture, (mode) must whilst seated, be able to place both feet squarely on the pillion foot-rests simultaneously. If this configuration is not possible due to the inadequate leg length of the individual, the safety of the passenger is diminished considerably and severe injuries of death could eventuate. Such passenger will not be allowed to participate in a VOG group run.
5. Gas-tank passengers: Equally incorrect is the practice of positioning a child on the fuel tank in front of a rider of a moving motorcycle. Such practice is not permitted on a VOG group run.
6. Loose clothing, especially long winter scarves, should never be allowed on a motorcycle. All may appear fine at standstill but in motion, with the rush of wind causing a “flapping” action, loose clothing and accessories may well work loose, unnoticed, from jackets, belts and other means of securing same and when this happens there is every possibility that the object could be caught up in the spinning rear wheel or drive mechanism of the motorcycle.  Not only would this render the motorcycle very unsafe or uncontrollable but if the clothing was still attached to a person, with the immediate take-up of the material under power, motion and inertia, the garment would dislodge the rider or passenger concerned and fatal injuries are bound to eventuate.
7. The same will apply to luggage being stored on the motorcycle in an unsafe manner.
8. Hooliganism and blatant non-conformance to the formation riding rules will be grounds for exclusion from the ride.

BEFORE THE RIDE BEGINS:

Not later than 15 minutes before departure, a call should be made to refuel and prepare for the journey. This pre-ride obligation is a must: 
Tanks full – bladders empty please!!
Then 5 minutes before departure, all participants are to be called together for the following pre-run instructions:
• Introduction of the appointed ROAD MARSHALL’S for the ride
• The marshalls are asked to leave and ride ahead to their appointed marshalling locations
• A brief description of the route and distance to be travelled
• Identification of the end venue and if there are any specific instructions as to seating, menu etc.
• In order to exercise good disciplines well as parking arrangements
• A verbal description of the formation rules and signals (preferably read from this paper)
• All riders are asked to remain on their bikes after the briefing until the Road Captain has taken up position at the exit
• A moment for questions. (Confused riders can do unexpected things, turning simple rides into dangerous rides)

Following the briefing:

What happens now is very important as the RC from this moment has absolute say and jurisdiction over every rider in the formation and all riders are to remain where they are, engines running, until the RC leads the way out of the parking area. It is a gross disrespect to leave the parking area ahead of the RC as the formation now belongs to him/her!
To allow riders to position themselves behind the RC, the sweep immediately positions himself / herself at the exit of the zebra point after the briefing to stop any riders not remaining on their bikes and attempting to leave the parking area until the RC leaves and passes the sweep to stop and wait on the roadway a short distance on. Once all riders are correctly positioned (compact side by side double line) the sweep will signal the RC with an ‘all clear’ signal and the ride will commence.

FORMATION OFFICERS:

• All Steering Committee members are to be certified as FORMATION MANAGEMENT OFFICERS.
• Any licensed V.O.G member who has participated in a training session and proven himself to be mature and an experienced rider, may be certified to become a formation officer. The testing and certification is to be done and by two or more steering committee officers of V.O.G. There shall be two parts to the training – the theory and then a practical test.  
• Every formation officer (and pillion) shall be clearly identifiable by the wearing of an 'Orange' reflective safety bib.
He or she should be able to slot into any one of the following three functions at a moment’s notice.
• ALL INTERSECTION MARSHALLS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ACTIVATE THEIR HAZARD LIGHTS AND LED STROBE LIGHTS IF FITTED WHEN IN THE AREA OF AN INTERSECTION, WHETHER SUCH INTERSECTION IS CONTROLLED BY TRAFFIC LIGHTS OR NOT.

THE ROAD CAPTAIN:  (and correct formation etiquette)

• The first rider in the group shall be a trained ROAD CAPTAIN (hereinafter referred to as "capt").
• If the formation is led by any unauthorised capt, this shall constitute a non-sanctioned V.O.G ride.
• The Capt. shall be thoroughly acquainted with the proposed route, travelling conditions and end destination before the group leaves from the collection point.
• He should have before the time, discussed these issues with the RUN ORGANISER and the information be made available to the CAPTAIN OF BIKING and V.O.G ADMINISTRATOR before the time. On the day, all FORMATION OFFICERS should be aware of the route and end destination, especially the SWEEPER.
On departing the collection point, the capt shall be the first bike to leave the area for the roadway and take up a position ahead of the formation, clear of road or other traffic, parking at a 45 to 90 degree angle to the formation, allowing him to view the group more easily as it forms behind him.
• The captain shall activate his / her hazard lights and LED strobe lights if fitted. This clearly indicates that he / she is an official on the day and will assist in the identification as such upon lining up at the exit.
• His pillion can be of great assistance in the monitoring of the status of the formation at this time, (and at all times) confirming conditions he may not be able to view easily through his mirrors.
• He will watch and wait for the SWEEP to signal a “thumbs up” indicating that the formation is ready to move out.
• When the capt. has thus satisfied himself that the formation is ready and the road entry conditions are acceptable, he shall proceed at a pace slow enough initially to allow the entire formation to form behind him before settling down to a selected road speed.
• When entering the flow of traffic, he shall position himself, on the 1/3 right side of the lane that he has chosen to occupy. (Bearing in mind that any lane is split into 3 - the left third, the centre third and the right third portions).
• When in two lane same direction roadways (freeways) the capt. shall choose the left lane.  However, on freeways having three or more same direction lanes the capt. shall choose a lane, other than the extreme left lane reserved for slower vehicles, but shall usually retain the second lane from the left for the formation. (This also allows a “bike out” a safe opportunity to get to the verge of the roadway)
• The capt. shall choose a speed approximately 5 km per hour slower than the displayed speed restriction. This will keep the formation compact and be able to manoeuvre when required, forcing faster traffic to pass on the right of the formation or sometimes left if in a multi-lane freeway.  The formation is not intended at any time to exceed the speed limits of the roadway being travelled.
• THE ROAD CAPTAIN IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO USE HIS HAZARD LIGHTS AND LED STROBE LIGHTS IF FITTED.

THE SWEEP: (or Sweeper)

The last rider is called the SWEEP and shall generally position himself on the right 1/3 of the occupied lane irrespective of correct staggered position. 
• He may also temporarily move to the centre or left of the lane if he considers it necessary to command a view up the column towards the Capt. or block the ingress of vehicles from the rear. This will inhibit the tendency of drivers of other vehicles breaking into and separating the formation.
• The SWEEP assumes the responsibility of attending to any motorcycle that falls out of the formation due to mechanical failure or any other emergency situation. He will assist the rider in whatever way he can before returning to the formation. This action should not influence the group and should not be grounds for the whole formation to pull over, unless warranted by extraordinary circumstances. Any such stoppage shall be controlled as best as possible to be well away from the traffic flow.
• It would be advantageous if the SWEEP has a general mechanical knowledge and/ or first-aid experience. The Sweep shall carry the run registers of the day for use on the road in case of an incident and on arrival at venue will hand the file to the administrator.
• THE SWEEP IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO USE HIS HAZARD LIGHTS AND LED STROBE LIGHTS IF FITTED.

ROAD MARSHALLS:

• A ROAD MARSHALL is to be a clearly identifiable formation officer, who generally takes up the number 2 or 3 position behind the ROAD CAPTAIN, or 2nd or 3rd last position in front of the SWEEP, if they are in the formation.
• They are also permitted to ride in front or at the back if not part of the formation and are free to ride ahead to control any intersections or dangerous turns that may warrant traffic control.
• After the marshalling point has been negotiated by the last rider (usually the SWEEP), the ROAD CAPTAIN would ideally keep the formation in single file and at a reduced speed to allow the MARSHALLS to re-join at the front of the group once more. After which, the staggered formation signal would be given and the formation returns to normal.
• Ideally, Marshalls should not carry any passengers and work in pairs (two bikes) at control points.
• They would be able to fill in for the ROAD CAPTAIN or SWEEP if required by circumstances.
• MARSHALLS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO USE HIS HAZARD LIGHTS AND LED STROBE LIGHTS IF FITTED.

ARRIVING AT THE VENUE:

The Road Captain enters the venue first and in line with the parking principles mentioned earlier, immediately takes up a parking position at the point closest to the entrance into the establishment. (nearest the doorway - but one, see Press Bike) The other riders follow and line up the parking facing in the same direction as the Road Captain. NOTE: Available Formation Management Officers to assist with this.

THE PRESS BIKE:

The PRESS-BIKE belongs to the formation/s but is not an integrated entity therein. Usually a Rider (who must be a full FMO and wearing orange coloured marshalling vest with a pillion photographer dressed in same apparel, to handle the camera. The Press-bike rider and cameraman are maverick to the formation, meaning that the Road Captain allows the free and independent behaviour of this vehicle, to run ahead of, integrate into, ride alongside, or trail behind the formation at will and seek best advantage to photograph the formation as a whole or in part for website and / or media uses. The photographer is also most busy at venue when the sit-down breakfast is taking place, taking individual pics and group pics of the sitting, the presenters of stats and forthcoming biking events, the presentation of awards and the individual photographs of new members with their bikes for the members page. The Press-bike is also used for ad-hoc marshalling when the marshalling team are under pressure. The press bike also carrying all the admin and group "goodies" should be afforded a parking nearest the entrance of the establishment, alongside the road captains bike, for convenience in carrying the admin-table requirements into the establishment. This is also a safety measure for the press bike as usually the last to leave the venue, ensures it is not left standing alone, far from the entrance in an empty parking lot where it is at risk of theft or pilferage.

THE SIZE OF THE STAGGERED FORMATION

If any V.O.G formation is greater in number than 15 (fifteen) motorcycles the captain of the day may choose to divide the group into two or more formations, to accommodate traffic or road conditions. In such cases the road captain will elect a second (or 3rd if required) captain and sweep. (i.e. suppose there are 20 bikes on the ride - the two formations should be 10 each, if there are 45 bikes on the ride there could well be three formations of fifteen bikes each, rather than each formation having 20 or more riders.)

Each formation shall be separated by a time difference of five minutes or more.

  • To understand the principles of formation riding it is very important to understand firstly that any lane travelled by the formation is visualised as being separated into three: 1/3 portion left of the lane, 1/3 portion centre of the lane and 1/3 portion right of the lane. Each portion represents an approximate bike width.
    The formation shall be staggered, meaning that rider number two shall be positioned in the 1/3 left side of the lane one second back from the capt. The third rider shall then be positioned 1/3 to the right of the second rider and approximately two seconds and directly behind the capt. The fourth rider on the left again, and so on down the column. There is never an occasion when the centre 1/3 should be occupied and only the sweep may choose to use any one of the three lanes, allowing him to see forward through the formation and / or block off converging traffic from the rear. 

Image
. . the Sweep uses the centre of the lane to view up and thru to the Road Capt. . . .

Words of Wisdom:

• As speed increases so the distance between riders should increase to allow for improved reaction times.
• Do not pass on the left of any rider in formation….A rider’s left is his escape route in an emergency situation. To leave or re-enter a formation, do so from the right. Do not pass on the left of any rider!
• Do not weave through a formation - it can cause a multiple accident or pile-up.
• When pulling up to stop signs and traffic lights, riders will pull up side by side. When pulling away, the rider’s shall reposition as before. (Note that the capt. can stop a formation against a green traffic light and allow the formation to compact behind him, so that on the next green light the formation can leave as a single convoy and not be split by the red light)
• Merging traffic: with long formations a lot of space is taken up and this prevents vehicles on the left or right of the formation from changing lanes. Be courteous here and open up the formation when this becomes obvious and allow a single vehicle to move in, through and then out of the formation. Normally only required on long straight roads where exits (off-ramps) come up.
• Entering freeways: entering and merging with freeway traffic. Enter the freeway lane, (normally the left / slow lane) in single file using the centre of the lane and slowing a little to force vehicles behind to overtake or move out. Once the lane is clear of other traffic, formation riders can begin to set the formation again.
• Check your rear view often to make sure you know what is happening around you. (K53 say's a rider / driver should check mirrors at least every 8 seconds)

  • ALL INTERSECTION MARSHALLS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ACTIVATE THEIR HAZARD LIGHTS WHEN IN THE AREA OF AN INTERSECTION, WHETHER SUCH INTERSECTION IS CONTROLLED BY TRAFFIC LIGHTS OR NOT.


BACK-UP VEHICLES AND FAMILY MEMBERS


These vehicles provide for the valued transportation of back-up trailers, tools and family members that are not able to take part of the formation. They will always ride behind the sweep and should always be made well aware of the route and end destination, as these vehicles are not always able to keep the formation in sight.

GUIDES

From time to time, V.O.G would make use of a person who would have special knowledge of an area or route “showing the formation the way,” This guide would travel a distance ahead of the formation and the ROAD CAPTAIN shall maintain his command over the formation, The guide shall not be considered a part of the formation at any time.

MEDIA

See Press Bike.

YOUR POSITION IN THE FORMATION?

V.O.G does not sanction a hierarchal positioning of riders. Whether you are a member or guest, all riders who  are included in the formation may join in at any position, but taking note of the following:

1. The 2nd & 3rd positions and last 3 positions are generally reserved for FORMATION OFFICERS.
2. It is a general occurrence that riders at the back of the formation intermittently travel at speeds greater than those at the front. (A result of the concertina effect caused by spacing’s between riders in the column)
3. Should you not feel comfortable about riding in the group, the onus would be on you to travel behind the SWEEP. Under special circumstances, you may be escorted in a separate group by experienced and certified riders to enable you to gain confidence in group riding.
4. At any stage, should you feel uneasy about the position you are riding, rather signal that are you leaving the formation and allow those behind you to pull ahead.
5. Should you decide to travel ahead of the group, pull out of the formation (to the right) when safe to do so, pull ahead and allow the ROAD CAPTAIN to acknowledge your action as you pass him. This by no means allows any individual to pull in and out of formation as he pleases.

SIGNALING:

All signals should be:
• Initiated by the road captain
• Passed down the formation, rider to rider, as quickly as possible to convey the required message
• Maintained long enough to be noticed by the rider following
• Made to be to clearly visible and understood by all in the group
“Start your engines”: indicated by the capt. swinging the left arm in a circular movement above the head.
 “Tighten up the formation”:  Means "close up the gaps – stop lagging behind". Initiated by the Capt. raising left arm, with the hand opening wide then clenching into a fist repeatedly (as if grabbing at the air) It is impossible to lead a formation that dawdles along with large gaps created by lagging bikers. To negotiate some conditions the capt. needs the formation to be tight and disciplined. This signal says it all! “Pull it together – tighten up”.  Remember that a consistent distance between riders of more than two seconds can constitute a separation from the official formation - no one should be guilty of splitting a formation and allowing other vehicles to pull into the formation.
“Dawdling riders:”  Should a rider in front of you consistently hang back, (thereby opening the following distance and splitting the formation) then indicate with the right turn signal and pull out of the formation to the right, overtake & move into correct position in the formation ahead. (Do not pass on the left!!) That rider will then have to assume an opposite lane portion to stay in formation. This action should wake the dawdler up to his/her daydreaming and he/she might then concentrate on maintaining following distance after that. If not, this action may be repeated by other riders, slowly moving a dawdler back to eventually end up in front of the sweep. The SWEEP, having immunity to staggered lane position, can then use motivational tactics to urge the rider to maintain following distance.
 “Changing lanes:”  When the formation needs to change lanes it shall be signaled by the Capt. using the turn signal to so indicate his intention. This signal shall be repeated by every rider down the formation but they should all hold their positions. The SWEEP will then be the first to occupy the new intended lane, followed by the second-last rider and all the way up to the capt.  who is the last to occupy the new lane. This allows the sweep to “block” and reserve the lane for the formation, before the riders start filling the lane. Turn indicators should only be cancelled after the lane change of each rider.
 “Single file riding:”  The capt. raises his left hand, hand closed, thumb in and index finger straight, pointing skyward. All following riders shall repeat the signal and then reposition in single file behind the capt. Single file is used for many reasons i.e. using a narrow off or on-ramp to a freeway, passing slow traffic on single roads, passing parked vehicles on narrow roads where car doors could be opened into the roadway, moving to the left of a lane to allow accumulated traffic behind to pass, turning to the left or right on narrow single roads, allowing vehicles continuing straight, to pass. Also to safely negotiate pothole conditions, roadworks, deviations or narrowed road conditions etc. When riding single file, riders should assume the position in the road, taken by the Road Capt, being left, centre or right of the lane.
 “Resume staggered formation:”  The capt. will indicate to resume staggered formation by raising his left hand and spreading his index finger and second finger in a vee, and rotating his hand side to side. The signal is to be repeated by all following riders.
”Stopping a formation:” The capt. will stop a formation by lifting his left arm, palm open facing forward, at head height, elbow out horizontal. (This is the customary hand signal but done with the left hand and not the throttle hand) the signal to be repeated by all riders, including the sweep)
”Obstacles left:” Point with left hand for obstacles to your left - to warn riders behind you.
“Obstacles right:” Point with right foot for obstacles to your right - to warn riders behind you.
“Signal for refueling:” Point to your tank with left hand index finger until noticed – elbow held up and out. Signal to be passed ahead to the ROAD CAPTAIN, who should decide on a route to the closest possible filling station.
“Lost rider or split group:” To indicate a lost rider (bike-out) or a split group - raise your left arm with a clenched fist (knuckles forward) seen in your mirror. Maintain the signal until the rider in front of you is seen to repeat the signal and is passed up the line to the capt. Where radio's are used by capt & sweep, on a group ride, the sweep shall transmit a signal to the capt. to stop the formation. The formation shall not turn back but with radio/mobile phone communication a decision will be made to overcome the bike-out situation.

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* Please note that copyright subsists.

 

 

 

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