Heritage Trail H.O.G. Chapter #2155
Sturgis, MI

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Safety Tips

Hand Signals

¦ Hand signals should be simple, easy to learn and be kept to a bare minimum

¦ Either the rider or passenger can relay the signal. As soon as you see a signal, you should give the same signal so the rider behind you can see it

¦ When the phrase “1/3 of the lane” is used, it is referring to riding in the right or left track of the lane

¦ These hand signals will not always be used by every group you ride with.

The signals assembled here are offered as suggestions only

“Start Your Engines”

To indicate that you’re ready to go, place your hand (right or left) on top of the windshield. If you don’t have a windshield, raise your hand. This tells the leader that your engine is running and you’re ready to ride.

Slow Down

Use either arm, straight down and palm toward the back. Move your arm back and forth at the elbow.

Hazard on the Road

Point with left hand at the object. Sometimes in group riding, the road captain may wave his left arm back and forth above his head to alert the rest of the group. The road captain is the only person who should perform this maneuver.

Need Gas

When you need gas, point at the gas tank.

Need Food

When you need a food or a break in general, point at your mouth

Turn Signals

Most bikes have turn signals - use them. Hand signals used in conjunction with turn signals give everyone in the group and other traffic a clear idea of your intentions.

Formation Riding

Staggered Riding

¦ The lead motorcycle should be in the left 1/3 of lane, the second motorcycle should be in the right 1/3 of the lane, one second behind the first rider, and so on

¦ Leave enough room between each motorcycle so that any rider can maneuver to the right or left without hitting anyone else

¦ Always stay in line with the bike in front of you. Do not switch between the left and right side of the lane

Single File Riding

All motorcycles ride in a single line, two seconds behind one another, in either the right or left third of the lane. The lead rider determines on which side of the lane the group will ride.


Passing should always be undertaken one motorcycle at a time, in staggered formation. Remember, passing at any time can be hazardous. Use common sense.

Passing Other Vehicles

1. Pre-pass position: Be far enough behind the vehicle you are passing to see clearly down the road to do an “oncoming traffic check.”

2. Signal. If you have a passenger, he or she should signal as well.

3. Check your mirrors and then turn your head to check your blind spot and ensure that no one is passing you.

4. Accelerate and change lanes. Remember, legally, you can’t exceed the speed limit.

5. When returning to your lane, signal and make a mirror check and head check to be sure there is space between you and all other vehicles. Return to your lane and turn off your blinker.


After Making the Pass

The lead rider makes the lane change, going to the right track, until he can clearly see that the other riders have made their lane changes.


Safe Riding Tips

Motorcycling is a fun, exciting and practical way to get around. But, like any other activity, it has risks. The reality is that you are exposed and vulnerable; it is up to you to avoid accidents and injury. Risk - and how you treat it - is what safe cycling is all about. To help you reduce and manage risk, use the following tips as a guide:

1. Know your skills. Take a beginning or experienced RiderCourse from a Motorcycle Safety Foundation recognized training center. Call 1-800-446-9227 for the RiderCourse nearest you. The more you know, the better rider you become!

2. Know the rules of the road and respect other road users. Don’t forget, riding is a privilege. Get yourself and your motorcycle properly licensed; get insurance if required. Know the limits of your skills, your motorcycle, and the road conditions so you don’t ride over your head.

3. Ride with the right gear. A helmet, eye protection, sturdy jacket, pants boots, and gloves are your best defense against accident injury. It can happen to you!

4. Ride aware. A car turning left across your path is the most frequent accident. Three-fourths of motorcycle accidents involve collisions with collisions with other vehicles, the majority caused by the other driver. Intersections can be bad spots, so slow down and be prepared to react. We repeat: It can happen to you!

5. Ride to survive. Be seen and not hit. You aren’t as big as a Mack truck, but you can attract attention. Wear bright clothing, use your headlight and bright colored fairings, select a lane and a position within a lane to be seen, avoid rapid lane changes, and keep looking around - you don’t need surprises!

6. Ride straight. Alcohol and other drugs do not let you think clearly or make sound judgments. Up to 45% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol.

7. Keep a safe bike. Know your owner’s manual, follow recommended service schedules, and have repairs made by an authorized dealer. Always check your bike’s tires, suspension and controls before riding.

8. Share a safe ride. Company is nice. Some company weights 100 pounds; other company weighs more. All weight affects handling. Having someone on the back is a big responsibility. Instruct them on proper riding technique and protective gear.

Now, take responsibility for your riding, learn more ... and go enjoy yourself.



All of the riding tips found here came from the Harley Owners Group Chapter Handbook 2008.

For more information contact your regional manager.






















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