Blue Knights® - Alabama VIII

International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, Inc.
P.O. Box 392
Cullman, Alabama 35056-0392

How to Pick Up a Fallen Motorcycle

Blue Knights International LEMC Basic Group Riding Handbook

T-CLOCS Safety Inspection Checklist

Protective Gear


Riding Tips

Riding with Passenger Tip

If you ride a Motorcycle

                     Motion Induced Blindness


Motion Induced Blindness

This is frightening! It works exactly like it says, and is one major reason people in cars can look right at you (when you're on a motorcycle or bicycle)---AND NOT SEE YOU. From a former Naval                                

aviator. This is a great illustration of what we were taught about scanning outside the cockpit when I went through training back in the '50s. We were told to scan the horizon for a short distance, stop momentarily, and repeat the process. I can remember being told why this was the most effective technique to locate other aircraft. It was emphasized (repeatedly) to NOT fix your gaze for more than a couple of seconds on any single object. The instructors, some of whom were WWII veterans with years of experience, instructed us to continually "keep our eyes moving and our head on a swivel" because this was the best way to survive, not only in combat, but from peacetime hazards (like a midair collision) as well. We basically had to take the advice on faith (until we could experience for ourselves) because the technology to demonstrate it didn't exist at that time.

Click on the link below for a demonstration ....


                                                  Ride Rules

l.) Ride in a Precise Formation as road conditions permit.

2.) Execute Signs and Turns Properly 

3.) Do Not Fool Around (horse play) when riding with the group. Any member observing another member fooling around when in formation should discuss it with that member and attempt to clear up the situation. If it should persist, bring it to the attention of the Road Captain or one of his Assistants.

4.) The Road Captain shall have the unchallenged right to terminate a members participation in a given ride or event for the clubs safety or image. Upon request of the Road Captain, President may suspend the member pending the lodging of official charges against the member.

5.) Riding Positions :

a.) While on any run, the Road Captain or his assistant will ride in front. The President may ride alongside or just behind the Captain depending on the formation in use. In the absence of the Road Captain and the assistants, whoever the Captain appoints will ride point.

b.) The assistant Road Captain will ride at the rear unless otherwise decided by the Captain. The assistant Captain will be responsible for holding a lane open while making a lane change. He will also assist any member who may break down or fall behind. The Captains will operate as a team and watch for problems within the group. Watching for all signals and seeing the need for changes are major parts of the assistant road Captain's job.

c.) Line up for a ride as follows: Road Captain, President, full color wearing members, followed by the prospective members, non-members and bringing up the rear the assistant Road Captains and the Tail Gunner. Once you are in position keep it for the remainder of the ride.

d.) The Road Captain will give instructions to all riders prior to the start of a ride. This will include, if known, the name, address, and phone number of the destination. When you arrive at the destination point check in with the Road Captain.

e.) Each member shall make it his business to know the route to be taken.

6.) Use Common Sense At All Times :

a.) Anticipate your next move and those of the group.

b.) We are all aware of the proper safety procedures and the need for them. Let us exercise caution at all times and obey all traffic regulations.

c.) With regard to remaining alert, as one of a group, you must remember that the Road Captain from time to time will be giving a hand signal to execute a maneuver (pass slow moving vehicle, make a turn, etc.) He will be taking into consideration the size of the group and the distance necessary to get the club from one lane to another safely. Each members assistance in executing the maneuver safely and smoothly will be of great assistance.

The rear Road Captain(s) will help the group by getting out into the lane following the forward Captain's signal. By doing this he will help secure the chance to execute the maneuver freely and safely. Stay in position during any lane change or direction maneuver.

7.) Leaving the Group

If stopped, let your intentions be known to the Road Captain or his assistants. The convoy will be pulled into the nearest and safest rest area and the Captains and/or members he designates will return to the stopped rider. After ascertaining the problem, the Captain will then decide to get the group on its way as soon as possible and make arrangements to have the stopped rider and his bike taken care of.

8.) Gas Stops

Get to know your machine's cruising capacity with regard to gas. Running out of gas or making gas stops with large groups is time consuming. Therefore everyone will arrive for the rides with a full tank of gas and will top off their tank at every gas stop, no matter how small the amount. This will avoid staggered gas stops and possibly save time.

9.) Bike Maintenance

Maintain it carefully, this is considered a must. Because one failed to check for loose wires, shorts, dead batteries, worn tires, or worn chains/belts, this can take away from the pleasure of the club ride. Bike maintenance will be the responsibility of each member. Bring necessary tools and parts for your machine.

10.) Wearing Apparel

It is strongly urged that on club rides each member wear his club colors. He should also wear the proper clothing when riding.

Strict adherence to these guidelines will provide for a long, successful and safe riding season.



Group Riding - Hand Signals


Group Riding Safety:
Road Captain pre-ride meeting checklist
Suggested things to review


  1. Welcome riders & introduce yourself and the Assistant Road Captain(s) 

  2. Outline itinerary for the day.  Review route and stops
    Pass out directions & maps for those who don’t have them

  3. Talk about staggered formation basics and likely single file conditions on the route

  4. Review the hand signals you may use during the ride & remind riders to pass them along in the formation

  5. Go over how to handle group separations

  6. Check that everyone has a full gas tank and ask if anyone’s bike will need gas in a shorter distance than you have planned for the fuel stops

  7. Go over the pace for the ride

  8. Ask if there are any new riders, or new to group riding riders – place them up front, behind and to the right of you, the Road Captain 

  9. If there are trikes or sidecar rigs position them in the group - sidecars up front, and trikes in the rear. 

  10. Remind all riders that these bikes have the whole lane; they do not ride staggered formation

  11. Remind all riders to “Ride your own ride” – “You are responsible for your safety”

  12. Questions?

  13. Ride safe and have FUN!

  Review the Hand Signals you will use on the ride

 Group Riding - Hand Signals  

Communication on your ride is extremely important to the success and enjoyment of all who are attending. Below are some general hand signals that everybody should know before joining any group of riders. (Reprinted with permission of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, copyright 2003.)





Memorizing these hand signals will be extrememly beneficial while on your group ride. They are universal and can be used in any group. By understand the signs, you will know what is going on, when and where the group will stop, if someone spots a police cruiser, if there is a hazzard in the road, or when someone needs to stop for a break. The more you know about Motorcycling, the safer you will be, the more fun you'll have...... and you'll ride another day!

Group Riding and Etiquette

Eighteen Tips to Ensure Everybody Has a Fantastic Ride.....

Yes... there is Etiquette. When riding in a group we must do it in a way that does not endanger anyone or interfere with the flow of traffic. The following, are some general common sense rules followed by motorcyclists touring in a group. These rules are not difficult and each rider must understand that he is responsible for himself and his passenger. He is responsible for the safe operation of his bike so he does not to endanger himself, his passenger, or other vehicles on the road. All your driving maneuvers should be thought out, planned in advance, and communicated to the other members in the group. Never take a spontaneous Click to enlargeaction unless necessary to avoid injury!!

1. The first thing you want to do is organize the ride, the leader should inform the group of the destination and the ride. This can be as informal as standing around in a parking lot, or as complicated as a special meeting to hand out maps and cell phone numbers.

2. When creating your riding formation, it's wise to have your experienced riders at the lead and running sweep (bringing up the rear). Consider positioning the less experienced riders immediately behind the leader. This allows the front rider to adjust the pace if necessary.

3. Remember that riding in a group does not mean you surrender any decision making when it comes to your safety. Ride your own ride, and don't go any faster than you feel comfortable going!!

 Click to enlarge4. While riding, don't fixate on the motorcycle in front of you. Instead, remember your basic training. Look well through the turn to where you want to go. If you want to see what’s going on, look 5 bikes ahead of you.

5. All riders are responsible for making sure their motorcycles are mechanically up to the task. Before you even meet up with the group, make sure you've got plenty of fuel in the tank, and you've taken care of all those maintenance issues. You really don't want to be the reason for stopping the group for something mechanical you could have prevented.

6. When crossing controlled intersections, motorcycles should pair up to reduce the length of time crossing and keep the motorcycles together. This should avoid anyone trying to play "catch up." Each rider is responsible to insure he can make a safe crossing before entering the intersection.

7. Each rider should observe, and constantly be aware of, the motorcycle in front and behind, to be on the alert for any trouble. Trouble can arrive quickly... you'd better be paying attention.

Maintain the following formation for normal group riding. On narrow roads, curvy or mountainous roads, areas where visibility is limited, construction areas, loose surfaces, or when there is an obstacle in the roadway, ride single file.

Adjust your lane position to deal with hazards and invasions of your space cushion. Use at least 2-second spacing when riding single file, such as in twisty sections. Above all, use common sense!! Common courtesy while sharing the road is important!! RIDERS PASSING ON THE RIGHT, WEAVING THROUGH GROUPS OF RIDERS, TAILGATING, OR OTHERWISE RIDING IRRESPONSIBLY, ARE ENDANGERING THE OTHER RIDERS AND ARE NOT WELCOME ON GROUP RIDES!!!

9. On the road, motorcyclists should have at least a 2-second cushion in front and behind them, except when stopping at controlled intersections.  Leave enough room per lane so each rider can maneuver side-to-side if need be. Street lanes can be split up into 3 equal sections (this should have been learned at the DMV when obtaining your licience); The left 'tire track' is 1, the oil stained strip is 2, and the right 'tire track' is the 3rd. Always travel in the left or right sections; avoid the Oil strip when possible! ALWAYS RIDE IN A STAGGERED POSITION!!!... Avoid riding side-by-side, it’s extremely dangerous and you’ll have no exit strategy in case of accident or hazard!

10. At intersections where you've come to a stop, tighten the formation to side-by-side to take up less space. As the light turns green, or when traffic opens up, the bike on the left proceeds through first.

11. As turns get sharper, or as visibility decreases, move back to a single file formation. You'll also want to use single file when entering or exiting a highway, at toll booths, or when roads have a rough or questionable surface.

12. You'll need to communicate while on the ride, so make sure everyone knows the signals you'll use. Hand signals are extremely important and should be used on every ride..

13.  When passing vehicles, the Ride Leader should maintain passing speed until he has opened up room for the rest of the riders.

14.  Passing other members of the group is prohibited. You may not pass another bike unless it has pulled over to the shoulder and indicated an intention to stop. If you do not like the position you are riding in then change it only at a rest stop.

15.  Always maintain a safe speed and keep a safe distance between motorcycles. If you feel uncomfortable in keeping the pace of the group (rain, wind, winding roads, steep grades, etc) mention it to the Ride Leader, call for a stop or let the group know you are going to pull over and stop.

16. If, and when, it becomes necessary for one motorcycle to stop, all other motorcycles are to proceed on until they reach the first available safe place to pull over.

Click to enlarge

17. If you pass another motor vehicle you may not do it in the same lane that vehicle is driving in, even if it has pulled over to the shoulder with the intent of letting you pass. You must be able to pass in the oncoming traffic lane.

18.  If riding in a group and you need to stop for a rest or stretch your legs; or if you need a drink, food, or fuel; or if you need to make a comfort stop, let the group know your needs, by signaling. Group riding is not an endurance test.

Short Checklist for Group Riding:

- Arrive early
- Arrive with a full tank of gas
- Be certain your bike is in safe, reliable operating condition
- Know your mileage/fatigue limit
- Communicate your intentions
- Be prepared for any weather
- Be prepared for an emergency
Ride your own ride
-Know who you are riding with
- Make sure they ride THEIR own ride
- Hand out maps or route sheets
- Allow as much space for yourself and others as you would riding alone
- Don’t follow any rider closer than the distance that rider is following the vehicle in front of them
- Allow other riders to pass you
- Pass only on the left
- Pass only when you are certain you have enough room
- Respect the space of others

There is safety in numbers and group rides are amazing if we can all obey the rules of the road. Remember, you are responsible for the safe operation of your bike. No one else can accept that responsibility. These rules are not intended to be all-encompassing and do not cover all aspects of group riding. These rules are intended to be suggestive in nature and have been found to work extremely well. There is always room for common sense to fit any particular situation.

These are rough guidelines for a successful group ride. Every group has their own objective, style, and personality. Some groups RIP up the canyon, some sit back and Cruise... be sure you know the overall speed and expectations of that particular ride. Take these ideas and adapt them to make them work for you.
Some groups have highly-structured and well-thought-out rules for group riding, using road captains, sweep riders, a set order, and numerous hand signals.

Mountain/Canyon Riding Safety Tips


Strong cross winds are prevalent in mountainous roads. Look for open areas as well as wind breaks. Adjust lane position accordingly. Wind can be very strong on the windward side of a mountain, and nonexistent on the leeward side. Be ready for it to change suddenly.

Higher elevations may adversely affect the acceleration capability of your motorcycle. Check with a mechanic prior to departure to determine if any adjustments can be made.

Be cautious going around blind curves. Rock slides or rain may have left deposits in your lane or slow moving vehicles may be just around the curve.

Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. Bring appropriate clothing to keep comfortable. Electric vests are wonderful!

Compensate for slope, inertia, and gravity when braking.

Downhill Braking

Inertial forces more than double when speed increases from 50-70 mph. Your stopping distance will increase dramatically as will the required amount of braking force.

More weight is transferred to front wheel, rear wheel lock-up can more easily occur. Gentle application of the rear brake and firm application of the front brake is necessary.

Uphill Braking

More weight is on to the rear wheel allowing greater application of the rear brake but less application of the front brake.


Be extra careful when stopping on a sharp incline. Front brake application may not be able to hold the motorcycle in position, resulting in a sliding front tire.
Make adjustments for
traction management when executing turns on slopes.

Special Conditions to Search:

Slope of the road: vertical and horizontal slopes. (Horizontal slope refers to positive or negative camber.)

Surface: loose sand or gravel, potholes, debris. Sharpness of the curve: attain the proper entry speed, choose your line, and accelerate smoothly to hold the line. Look as far ahead as you can see in order to spot hazards as quickly as possible.

Uphill turns:

If possible, track to the outside of the curve. This enables you to see farther around the curve and spot hazards a split-secondsooner, allowing more time to react. In right-hand curves, go slow enough so you can tighten your line if approaching traffic has crossed the centerline.

The front wheel has less traction, so steering and balancing will become more difficult. When accelerating uphill, keep in mind that the front wheel can be lifted off the ground more easily than when riding on flat land. This can cause a few tense moments if it happens unexpectedly.

Side force and driving force must be managed. Establish your turn-in point at the outside of your lane, looking ahead towards the apex of the curve. Begin your counter-steering input here, and get the proper lean angle to steer a smooth arc around the corner. Once at the apex of the turn, begin to straighten the motorcycle and accelerate smoothly out, looking far ahead to prepare for the next corner or possible hazard.

Downhill turns:

Braking force and side force must be managed. Get all your braking as possible done prior to turning. This is essential on downhill turns, because the front tire will be severely loaded and tends to "wash-out" when overstressed.

Be careful when downshifting. Releasing the clutch brings engine-braking into play and may cause a rear-wheel skid. Try to match revs by "blipping" the throttle just before you smoothly let the clutch out. Practice this on flat land before tackling the mountains.

Use engine braking when descending a steep slope. Brake fade can occur if the brakes overheat.

Be aware of shoulder conditions. Your escape route and emergency space may be compromised based on shoulder conditions. Adjust your speed and position.
Expect to see sand or gravel in the road at intersections with dirt roads or driveways. Extra caution is warranted here.

Keep a greater following distance behind logging trucks. Expect debris to fall off the truck.

If you decide to pass a large vehicle it may be safer to pass going up an incline than going down a decline. This is because you have better control over your acceleration when going uphill, and you will use less braking to slow you down after the pass has been executed. Also, the larger vehicle will be going more slowly uphill, so you can pass more quickly.

Constantly check your mirrors for upcoming/runaway vehicles when traveling down a steep slope.

Adjust your suspension to improve handling (See Suspension Setup) and to prevent dragging of motorcycle parts.

Most riders experience shortness of breath and fatigue when exerting themselves in higher altitudes. Your physical and mental skills may not be what you want them to be in these conditions. Make adjustments to compensate for these conditions.



Online Accident Reporting System (O.A.R.S.)

The Blue Knights® International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club is concerned for the safety of all members. The Safety Committee was recently chartered to create an online accident form. In doing so, the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS) was created to collect and analyze motorcycle accident data for informational and statistical purposes. The goal of the Safety Committee in using OARS is to provide conferences and chapters with the necessary information to help our members become more aware of how, when, where, and why accidents are happening.

Reporting Accidents: Who and When?

The online form is desiged to collect voluntary information on members involved in motorcycle accidents. Use the following guidelines to determine when accidents should be reported:

  1. Accidents involving any Blue Knight member at any time
  2. Accidents must involve the member as a rider or passenger
  3. Accidents involving non-Blue Knights during a sactioned Blue Knight event

Use the following guidelines to determine who should report accidents:

  1. Member or spouse/significant other of member who is involved in the accident
  2. Chapter President or Chapter Safety Officer
  3. On behalf of, and with permission from, the member, a fellow Knight can also submit the form

** Note** Chapter Presidents and/or Chapter Safety Officers are responsible for knowing that an accident has occurred within a chapter and that an accident report has been filed with the Safety Committee. No matter who submits the OARS report, chapter representatives should always be made aware.


How to use OARS

The Safety Committee would like you to use the online form whenever a motorcycle accident has occured following the guidelines above. You may submit a partial form, or a whole form, and you may submit partial amounts of information multiple times as more information becomes available. The goal here to make the process easy for you to use.

** Note** If there is a piece of information that you do not have at this time, feel free to leave that field blank. You can always come back at a later time and submit another partial form.

After you submit the first time, you will receive a Report Number. This report number should be used when submitting additional amounts of information. You can also use this when referencing any information to the Safety Committee. In addition, users are given the opportunity to download full copy of their report in Word format.


OARS and Committee Contact Information

Please direct questions or comments regarding the use of this site to one or more of the following individuals:

Safety Committee Chairman - Clint Cagle

OARS Coordinator - Rick McCrea

OARS Web Admin - John Long



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