Follow us on our Social Facebook page

  • Facebook Social Icon

Bringing the Big Vee Family together.

Originally published on 30 May 2006 and reposted in updated

format on 10 March 2018.

Contained on this page are the following:

  1. The VOG Formation Riding Rules

  2. Formation Officers and their functions & responsibilities.

 1. VOG FORMATION RIDING RULES.

(Please note: The singular shall herein include the plural, masculine shall include the feminine)


WHAT IS MEANT BY A “GROUP RIDE”?

  • If there are three (3) or more motorcycles in a group where the riders are wearing VOG colours, it constitutes a group ride.

  • A formation is "established" when riders travel in a group, with distances of between one to two seconds separating each rider.

  • Two (2) riders travelling together will not constitute a group ride.

  • 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.

  • Though it is ideal that at least one qualified FMO is present on each ride, it is appreciated that many informal outings take place in small groups where members quite rightly do so with VOG colours. This is the case especially with the attendance of "day jols", rallies and charity events. In keeping with your commitment to VOG - it is expected that whilst wearing club colours, that safe riding procedures and appropriate conduct is displayed at all times. On such outings - run registers are not required for completion.

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

  • It promotes safe riding principles for bikers & other traffic.

  • 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.

  • 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.


WHAT GOVERNS THE PARTICIPATION IN A VOG - SANCTIONED GROUP RIDE?

  • Note that no other rules from any other source, club, body or otherwise are to be used or considered valid for VOG formation riding.

  • Only the road ordinance rules of the state, may at any time override the rules contained herein.

  • VOG 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.

  • VOG shall retain its own formation separated by approximately five minutes in front of or behind any other group. The nominated Road Captain for the ride shall have total jurisdiction and say over the VOG formation and may, if pressured by any third party, disband the VOG formation in total and declare the run null & void.

  • However, other riders may join a VOG formation, but shall then abide by & honour the riding rules of VOG and shall complete & sign the VOG run register / indemnity form.

 

The Centurion Gate collection point in Gauteng - conveniently situated adjacent to a major freeway,

having fuel, toilet, ATM and shopping facilities.

 

THE PRE-RUN BRIEFING & DUTIES OF THE AREA SCM/ RUN COORDINATOR

All cells will gather at a predetermined and clearly identified locality, which shall be called the COLLECTION POINT or ZEBRA. 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 VOG 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:

  • Any motorcycle not deemed to be roadworthy and a danger to others on the road.

  • If clearly under the influence of liquor or drugs.

  • Not wearing a crash helmet.

  • 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.

  • Fuel-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.

  • 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.

  • The same will apply to luggage being stored on the motorcycle in an unsafe manner.

  • 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!!

All available certified orange-vested FMO's are requested to gather one side away from the group - including any trainee's who shall wear the general yellow vests. The road captain of the day shall brief the marshalls about the route and appoint those required to man each point. All completed run registers are entrusted to the sweep  - who will carry the documents for the duration of the run. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Certified FMO's are identifiable by means of their orange vests and the much

appreciated trainees wear the standard yellow vests.

The marshalls shall leave prior to the group briefing or remain with the group - according to the discretion of the road captain.


Then 5 minutes before departure, all participants are to be called together for the following pre-run instructions: 

The RC for the day - already identifiable by means of his orange vest - takes up a vantage point

so that all run participants can clearly see the demonstration of run signals.

The road captain (RC) briefs the riders on the following points:

  • Introduction of the appointed FMO's for the ride  - should they not have left already. The Sweep will always be in attendance, as he takes up the rear in the formation.

  • 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, payment for the meal and parking arrangements.

  • Provide any warnings applicable about hazards wrto entering or parking at the venue.

  • A verbal description of the formation rules and signals (preferably read from this paper).

  • A moment for questions - as inexperienced or 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. All riders are to remain on their bikes after the briefing until the Road Captain has taken up position at the exit. It is a gross disrespect to leave the parking area ahead of the RC as the formation now belongs to him/her The Sweep has free reign to ride around the venue to judge whether there are any non-starters and make sure that all bikes have indeed formed up behind the RC, so that the "all clear" signal can be given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While one of the Marshall's is assigned the duty of manning the exit point.........

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

........ the Road Captain waits for the group to form up behind him and when given the 

go-ahead by the Sweep, will signal the formation that it is time to depart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the FMO still at his assigned position - the group leaves the Zebra point in single file.

 

2. FORMATION OFFICERS:

  • All Steering Committee members are to be certified as FORMATION MANAGEMENT OFFICERS - also known as FMO's.

  • Any licensed VOG 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 VOG. 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.

  • All FMO's, including Road Captain, Sweep and Marshalls are strongly encouraged to fit and make use of LED strobe lights on their motorcycles or make use of the factory-fitted emergency flash lights, while performing their duties - especially when marshalling intersections.

  • Where possible, all FMO's should have knowledge of basic first aid and accident scene management - carrying a first aid kit.

He or she should be able to slot into any one of the following three functions at a moment’s notice.

THE ROAD CAPTAIN: 

  • The first rider in the group shall be a trained ROAD CAPTAIN (hereinafter referred to as "RC").

  • If the formation is led by any unauthorised RC, this shall constitute a non-sanctioned VOG ride.

  • The RC 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 VOG ADMINISTRATOR. All route details are to be published on the Facebook FMO page so that all FMO's are able to download and study before the time.

  • On the day, all FMO's should be aware of the route and end destination, especially the SWEEP - should he need to fall back at any time.

  • On departing the collection point, the RC 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 RC 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 RC 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 RC 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.

  • When 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 a predetermined area - normally set aside by the establishment as exclusive parking. The other riders follow and line up the parking facing in the same direction as the Road Captain. 

THE SWEEP: 

  • 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 RC 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.

  • Where possible, the SWEEP should try have an appointed trainee ahead of him - who shall assume control of the rear of the group, should the he have to fall back.

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 the RC is satisfied that all the Marshalls have passed by safely, the staggered formation signal may 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.

Once the Marshall has taken control of the intersection - normally by gaining the

co-operation of the first vehicles that are stopped - the group is motioned through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marshall is to be aware of vehicular movement around him at all times and

takes cognisance of all the dangers associated with each marshalling point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very rarely do motorists refuse to co-operate with the VOG Marshalls and of course, a courteous wave

to the vehicle driver afterwards is normally reciprocated by a smile and a wave back to the FMO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is good practice for the FMO to continue wearing all their riding gear - including helmet - while representing VOG at a marshalling point. In this case, the FMO had been

travelling by car and was not able to meet the requirement.

THE MEDIA/ PRESS BIKE:

Should a PRESS-BIKE be available to take photographs and video of the ride - it belongs to the formation/s but is not an integrated entity therein. The appointed member should either be a qualified FMO or fully versed in VOG riding rules and along with the permission of the Road Captain - be allowed free reign to accompany the formation, with both rider and pillion clad in yellow or orange vests. 

 

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 usage.

GUIDES:

From time to time, VOG 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.

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.

THE SIZE OF THE FORMATION

  • If any VOG 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). Obvious restrictions are the availability of enough FMO's on the day.

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

THE STAGGERED FORMATION

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.


Should the formation shall be staggered, it means that rider number two shall be positioned in the 1/3 left side of the lane one second back from the RC. 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. 

 

The Sweep uses the centre of the lane to view up and thru to the Road Captain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When travelling slowly in built up areas, it is good practice to revert to a staggered formation.

 

 

 

 

 

When approaching a stop street or intersection that contains traffic lights, it is good practice to enter a staggered grouping as the "bunching up" creates a highly visible group that can get through the intersection much quicker.

 

SINGLE FILE RIDING

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 Captain, being left, centre or right of the lane.

Riding single file onto a freeway.

When travelling along mountain passes with many potential road hazards and blind corners - it is

ideal to ride single file and increase the distance to the next biker.

Road works and single lane roads with little or no verge on the left calls for single file riding. A slight stagger allows that little comfort zone, should the distance between you and the rider ahead suddenly decrease!!

FORMATION 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 weave through a formation - it can cause a multiple accident or pile-up.

  • Should a fellow rider leave the formation for any reason, fill up the missing position by pulling ahead, rather than by "changing lanes".

  • When pulling up to stop signs and traffic lights, riders will pull up side by side - even if the formation had been in single file. When pulling away, the rider’s shall reposition as before. (Note that the RC 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)​.

YOUR POSITION IN THE FORMATION?

VOG does not sanction a hierarchical 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:

  • The 2nd & 3rd positions and last 3 positions are generally reserved for FORMATION OFFICERS.

  • 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. Novice riders are thus advised to position themselves closer to the front of the formation.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

We receive a lot of praise from other motorists because of the orderly fashion that VOG travels on the public road systems, whether in urban areas or on country roads - mostly due to the strict rules enforced for group riding. It is our intention as Formation Officers to enable you as valued members to leave safely from the collection points and to arrive in good condition at the destination.

 

We encourage the fact that these principles should be used not only in formation riding, but in your personal capacity as well........

RIDE SAFE!!

VOG FORMATION RIDING RULES