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TOPIC: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding

Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 07:30 #391

  • LeRoyOlivier
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Then the moon over the sea? there must be something to do????
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Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 14:26 #420

  • Richard H
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Have you ever wondered how aircraft flying in formation always are exactly where they are supposed to be, despite complex maneuvres?

It looks that way because, when AIRCRAFT fly in formation, only one pilot is actually looking where they are going - the rest are strictly maintaining station in relation to that leader.
Most importantly, when the leader intends performing a movement, they first inform the others by radio what is coming, then they count down to initiation and smoothly execute the move.
Some years back, three SAAF executive jets flew in formation into Table Mountain above Rhodes Memorial with total loss of life.
Only the leader was driving and the pilot didn't take adequate precautions in cloudy weather - and literally flew them into the mountain.
The other pilots trusted the leader and didn't think of anything else than keeping station with him.

There is a REAL risk of this trust-dependency mentality happening in a riding group when riders are not riding their own ride and merely maintain station with the two riders ahead and diagonally closest to them. (Ever heard of OBJECT FIXATION?)

The problem is, because they are not in direct radio communication, the rider hasn't the faintest idea what the two riders are going to... or when!
So at best, the rider can only respond to an action ahead of them as and when it happens.
That means that when riding in a group, you must treat all riders in the group as you would any other vehicle on the road.

When you ride on the road, you maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
Usually the MINIMUM safe distance is TWO SECONDS at whatever speed you are travelling.
DISTANCE is not the critical issue - TIME is.
When you ride in staggered formation, motorcyclists effectively split the lane into TWO lanes.
The same rules apply to lanes on the highway - you do not move from one lane to another without signalling your intentions.
You keep a safe following distance distance from the vehicle directly in front of you in the lane you are riding in.

Motorcycles have a very large blind spot - directly behind them.
It is big enough to hide a car or minibus, never mind a slender motorcycle!
If you ride directly behind another rider, when you get close up to them you will disappear from their view.
This makes the rider in front nervous as they have to start looking for you instead of looking where they are going themselves.
For this reason is is best to position yourself where you can see the helmet of the rider in front in their side mirror.
If you can see their face, they can see your bike.
(This is very important when you come up to a strange motorcycle on the road -
come up to them and take up station in a position where they can see you,
and wait until their actions indicate they have seen you before clearly indicating your intentions.)

Essentially, OPEN staggered riding formation involves two rows of riders spaced so that they have AT LEAST two seconds between them,
and have sight of the rider diagonally adjacent to them in their mirrors.
Each rider is FULLY in control of their actions and is ACTIVELY aware of what EVERY rider around them is doing!
As no two riders in the same lane should ever be closer than two seconds apart in TIME,
the DISTANCE between them will INCREASE with speed.

KEEP AT LEAST FOUR SECONDS FOLLOWING SPACE BEHIND THE LEADER
They have a lot on their minds to get the group to the destination safely - give them the space to work in

DO NOT CHANGE LANE POSITION IF THE LEADER DOES.
The leader needs the WHOLE road width and they may just want a change!

With the two second spacing as described above, the rider diagonally behind you in the adjacent 'lane' is LESS than two seconds behind YOU.
This means that the open space next to you belongs to them!
You cannot enter that space unless you have clearly signalled intentions.
The only exception is swerving without slowing down to avoid an obstacle such as pothole, rock, tyre chunk etc.
Here one rider TEMPORARILY swerves through the zone of safety for a second and returns, thereby restoring the safe zone.
WHEN YOU MUST BRAKE YOU MUST NEVER SWERVE!
You WILL be hit from behind by the rider in the adjacent 'lane' - and YOU will be responsible.

HINT: When riding with a group and you are unsure yourself or are unsure of that groups abilities,
DOUBLE the following distance and stick to the LEFT side.
(Nobody overtakes on the road shoulder!)
Maintain that position whether there is a rider diagonally to your right or not.
The faster/more daring/reckless ones will pass you by on the right and not interfere in YOUR ride.

This also applies to cars overtaking.
Move over to the left without slowing and the car can safely pass you by.

NB
CLOSE formation riding AT SLOW SPEED is a different story entirely.
Here it is best to ride in PAIRS SIDE-BY-SIDE in my opinion.
It means you have no choice but to stay in your 'lane'.
Keep safe following space from the rider in front of you.
DON'T ride into the back of them.

RIDE SAFE! ;)
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Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 15:55 #421

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Thanks Richard - valuable contribution!

Richard H wrote:
KEEP AT LEAST FOUR SECONDS FOLLOWING SPACE BEHIND THE LEADER
They have a lot on their minds to get the group to the destination safely - give them the space to work in

On the last club ride I was leading and just coming out of the railway service road I went over a roll of rusted wire. I started breaking when I saw it and it turned into an emergency stop. Thankfully the guy behind me kept a following distance and could brake in time - if he was directly behind me, we would have had a collision! So +1 on giving the ride leader some extra space :)
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Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 18:05 #425

  • Johan
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Richard H wrote:
CLOSE formation riding AT SLOW SPEED is a different story entirely.
Here it is best to ride in PAIRS SIDE-BY-SIDE in my opinion.
It means you have no choice but to stay in your 'lane'.

RIDE SAFE! ;)

I am trying my best to understand this remark in context, but I have a major difficulty in understanding how "it is best to ride in PAIRS SIDE-BY-SIDE in my opinion.
It means you have no choice but to stay in your 'lane'.


At any speed a rider owns the lane, and to ride two abreast is extremely dangerous, at any speed. During the procession at Jamie's funeral we tried this and even at 60km/h everybody riding two abreast in one lane were always very much aware of the bike next to one another.

No, this suggestion I can NEVER condone.
... unless the author have expressed himself in another way I am am not understanding!
I live to please, but don't always succeed
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Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 18:47 #429

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I'm with you on this one Johan.
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Re: Misconceptions regading Staggered formation riding 08 Jul 2010 19:45 #432

  • Richard H
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Johan wrote:
During the procession at Jamie's funeral we tried this and even at 60km/h everybody riding two abreast in one lane were always very much aware of the bike next to one another.
[/quote]
(my emboldened text)


Exactly my point!

When we drive in our cars on a highway, do we even consider changing lanes when there is a car right next to us?
No. Why? Because we know that they are there!
Have you ever seen a minibus taxi change lanes when there is another one next to them? No.
Have you ever seen them change lanes when they are 2-3 metres ahead of the one next to them? Daily.

When we drive in our cars on a highway and there is a space next to us, what do we do?
K53 says we should look in the rear and side mirrors and turn our heads to be sure there is no vehicle before indicating and changing lanes.
Who has ever done this after they got their convenient wallet sized plastic drivers permit?
In practice, drivers and riders look into their side mirror and if they see nothing, they change lanes - hopefully after indicating their intentions.
Most accidents are caused by this unsafe lane change into another driver's 'owned lane' and an oblique rear end collision takes place.

When next on your motorcycle in traffic, try to be aware of where your vision extends to.
No vehicle has mirrors that cover all possible blind spots - hence the K53 'turn your head' requirement.
Depending on how your mirrors are set, you will either have:
A very large rear blind spot and a smaller side blind spot; or
A small rear blind spot and a big side blind spot.
With two mirrors, you can adjust the pair to give you the best possible rear vision,
but you can never eliminate the blind spots entirely.

Now, imagine you are driving in peak hour traffic. The lanes are crowded and the speed is down to under 60km/hr.
If there is a gap ahead of you, the driver next to you won't try to take it - but the guy diagonally just in front of you in the next lane will.
This is because you are in their side blind spot - or they have not noticed you.

Now translate this to riding your motorcycle.
You are riding in TIGHT CLOSE formation at speeds under 40km - typically nearing traffic lights, on final approach to a fuel stop or in dense traffic.
A rider just in front of you may want to change lanes and they look in their mirror and don't see you -
so when they change lane their rear wheel clips your front wheel and there is a pile-up.

Now consider riding in TIGHT CLOSE formation in pairs.
Each rider knows EXACTLY where the rider is next to him - they need not look.
They are focused on keeping a safe distance behind the PAIR of bikes in front of them,
and a quick glance in the side mirror will show the bike diagonally behind them,
indicating how far behind them the next PAIR of bikes is.

This method halves the number of bikes to focus on while also reducing the distance between the first and last rider in the group at traffic lights.

THIS PAIRED FORMATION IS NOT SAFE AT SPEEDS OVER 20-35km/hr,
when the departing group of riders should immediately accelerate away and assume the safer staggered formation with two second intervals.
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