Vets Helping Vets


CVMA Chapter 25-3 Ride Protocol

Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association

Chapter 25-3

This page covers the chapter’s protocol for most riding situations.  For situations not covered, use common motorcycle riding procedures and common sense. 

                                                                         Nothing in this protocol supersedes traffic laws or safety.

1.  Duties and Responsibilities – 

  Road Captain (RC) –  is in charge of the ride and is overall responsible for route planning, briefing and leading the group safely to its final destination.  The RC will normally ride in front.  The chapter commander and state representative may ride beside or just behind the RC depending on the formation.  The RC selects road guards when needed.  The RC can instruct any rider to ride in a specific position or leave the group for misconduct, unsafe riding or unsafe equipment.  In the absence of the RC, the commander may appoint someone to ride point. 

  Tail Gunner (TG) –  rides in the rear to observe unsafe conditions, secure lanes, stops with any rider needing assistance and is responsible for bringing a first aid kit and a tool kit. 

  Road Guards –  act as traffic observers to flag bikes through an intersection and are normally the third and forth positions in the main group.  They move forward at traffic stops.  They should not physically block intersections and will rejoin the group into their original positions.   If you are riding behind a road guard, maintain your position so they can rejoin safely.  

  All Riders –  are responsible for safely operating their own bike; are expected to bring any safety concerns to the RC and; are expected to obey all traffic laws.  All riders will:

     *  adhere to the RC’s instructions unless safety requires deviation. 
     *  attempt to maintain the same speed and briefed intervals consistent with road conditions. 
     *  tighten loose intervals when approaching traffic lights or while in heavy traffic.
     *  NOT run red lights in order to keep up.
     *  form a double file at all traffic stops.
     *  adjust the formation if a rider drops out (except when road guards deploy) by pushing forward until the gap is filled.

2.  Ride Briefing –  The RC will give a briefing prior to the start of a ride.  The briefing will include the order of march, formations, destination, routes, speeds, ETD, ETA, planned stops, hand signals, safety and contingencies.  If used, the RC will brief road guards prior to the start of the ride. 

3.  Order of March –  RC, chapter commander, state representative, officers, full members, auxiliary members, supporters, non-members followed by bikes with side cars and/or trikes and the TG.  Once you are in a position, keep it for the remainder of the ride.

4.  Formations –  A “two-second staggered” formation will be used unless otherwise briefed.  Minimum intervals are two seconds from the bike to your front and one second from the bike in the other file.  Depending on road conditions, a three second interval may apply.  The RC may signal for a single file formation during conditions such as narrow, mountain roads.  For parades and funerals, the RC may brief a double file formation.  Regardless of the formation, always maintain minimum spacing.

     *  Sidecars and trikes always ride in a single file at the rear of the group in front of the TG.
     *  The RC may consider breaking up large groups into smaller groups (8-10).  Each separate group will be assigned a leader and a TG. 
The RC remains overall in charge of the ride. 
     *  If you’re not comfortable riding in close formation, take a position in the rear. 
     *  Bottom line;

5.  Hand Signals –  Know them (bottom of this page).   Anticipate the RC will give hand signals during the ride.  All signals from the RC are passed from front to rear.  

6.  Lane Change –  When the RC signals for a lane change, the TG moves to secure the new lane then each rider, from rear to front, moves into the new lane.  If time/safety won’t allow, change lanes as needed to avoid any hazard.  When possible, use hand signals and bike turn signals.

7.  Maintenance –  Make sure your bike is ready before the ride.  Dead batteries, worn tires, worn chains/belts etc. take away from enjoying the ride.  Pre-ride inspections may be conducted at the commander’s or the RC’s discretion.

8.  Riding Gear –  Members will wear their CVMA patch on all CVMA rides.  Helmets and eye protection are required personal protection equipment while in Georgia.  Gloves, long sleeve shirts, boots, and long pants should also be worn.  When riding in other states, local laws determine what protective gear must be worn.

9.  Gas –  Arrive at the start of the ride with a full tank.  Everyone will top off at every gas stop.  This prevents staggered stops.

10.  Unplanned Stops –  If you need to stop, try to let the RC know so he can stop the group at the nearest, safe stop.  If you must stop ASAP, signal that you are breaking away from the group.  The TG will stop with you to assist.  The RC will stop the group at the nearest, safe stop and contact the TG.  After determining the problem, the RC will decide when to get the main group on its way and make arrangements to assist the stopped rider.

 11.  Rejoin –  Always rejoin at the rear.  The only exception is when using road guards.
                          (Separated Group) –  The RC will slow down to allow the separated group to rejoin or the RC will stop at a briefed rally point and wait for the separated group.
                          (Single Rider) –  When the TG signals, move in front of the TG and remain there. 

12.  Arrival –  The ride ends when everyone is safely at the final destination.  After you arrive (ride destination or home), check in with the RC. 

                                                                                                                              Hand Signals