"I pulled you over for Speeding. Do you have any idea how fast you were going?"

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Mr. Motorcycle

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I live at 1 Frozen place in, Minnesota, United States
My real name is Mark. For many years now my wife has called me Mr. Motorcycle. When I started my Blog I was looking for a catchy blog name, so I went with it. I'm happily married and I'm also a father of 6 children. I have two human offspring, one dog, two cats and one custom Harley. I believe that makes 6 children. When I'm not doing my real full time job, or going for a ride, I like to do art, custom paint jobs, and of course BLOG. If you would like to contact me, my e-mail address is phonetically spelled for avoiding spammers. (I actually do use the number 1 in the beginning.) 1mrmotorcycleATgmailDOTcom

*****This is my Bliss*****

*****This is my Bliss*****
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The photo above is my ride :
"Kenny" started life as a stock '97, 883 Sportster. It's been a work in progress since the day I bought it many years ago. Its mostly custom with a built, "slightly juiced up" 1200 motor.
The Metal Fabrication, bodywork and custom paint was done by me.

How the Hell did I come up with a name like Kenny for my bike you ask?...... Most people who name their rides, go with chick names. I of course had to be different. I think bikes look tough, cool and masculine; not feminine. Plus, my father "Ken" has helped make me who I am today. Therefore with a little twist on the name, my bike was named "Kenny".


Come check out my custom paint! Click on the logo above to go to my custom paint blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Breaking into a formation

I recently was asked my opinion on what I thought about breaking into the line of a biker formation with a car. Meaning when a group of motorcyclists is riding in staggered formation, clearly riding together as a group, has a car merge into the formation. The person who asked me used to ride, so he does have a clue, and does respect bikers. He said he was following about 15 bikers riding staggered formation, on a long winding hilly road. The group of riders was going about 5 M.P.H. under the speed limit for a very long time, and were holding up quite a line of traffic behind them. It was a difficult road to pass, with little opportunities to do so. He said there were four other cars in front of him, and the opportunity came to pass, and as a group of 5 cars, they all went to pass the biker group. He said just as the other four cars made it, a vehicle was coming around the next curve, and he realized he was not going to make it. He said he could not merge back into traffic behind the group, because he was so close to the front already, and would hit the oncoming car head on if he waited that long to fall back. He said he had no choice but to turn on his right turn signal, and pray that the group of bikers would let him merge into their formation. They did, and he did. He said not so much by either of their choice, but it had to be done. He felt they would understand, and give him a break, and as first opportunity would come, he would let them resume without him in their line up. The lead biker (Lets say Road Captain) Freaked the Fuck out. (He could not confirm if this was a HOG organization, or MC, or just casual group of friends riding together. He said he thought the latter, as no one had on any colors. Anyway, the leader would not let him pass. Would not let him do anything. Every time he went to get out of there the biker sped up, and got in front of him and slowed way down to like 30 in a 55 M.P.H, zone, furthering the traffic delay they were creating in the first place. He said this went on for about 15 miles or so, before he finally turned off. I said etiquette wise, probably not wise to break biker formation. Consider it one unit, like a really long truck. Watch as most times at an intersection if a group is riding in formation, they will proceed through an intersection as if they were one vehicle. I did mention that the lead biker sounds like he had his undies in a bunch though. I would have given the guy a break.

What do you think?


Canajun said...

I haven't done large group rides in quite a while, but what we used to do was ride in sub-groups of 5 or 6 bikes. That way it was always possible for drivers to pass safely and merge in if necessary. It also eliminated the slinky effect that can wreak havoc with large groups.

And the smaller groups could also safely pass slower car drivers as a group, and get through intersections as a group, so it was a win-win IMO.

In this case I agree, the lead rider was being a pr**k. If the group can't adjust safely to a situation like this they shouldn't be riding as a group.

Just my 2 cents.

sherrypg said...

Bikers going 5 mph under the speed limit. Hahahahahaha!

Leader needs to pull his head out of his rump and own the fact that if they would have been going the speed limit, this situation wouldn't have happened. (Probably) And the way he acted after the fact would show me that he knew he was in the wrong, but was trying to shift the blame. When five cars are trying to pass you? Get a clue.

I don't think it is right to get in the mix of a group, but some situations call for it. If you are just a dork and do it on purpose, you should be taken out back...


Ann said...

I wouldn't mix it up with a group of bikers riding in formation, but it sounds like he didn't have a choice.

I do agree the 'road captain' sounds like he was pissed off. Considering the circumstances, though, I think if I were the road captain, I would have just let him pass.

Learning to Golf said...

First, this is exactly why I won't ride in a large group. If the cager got pissed off because of the actions of the Road Captain 14 others could have suffered.

Second, 5 cages passing 15 spread out bikes at the same time, on a hilly road, sound almost as stupid as riding a bike 5MPH under the posted speed limit. There was no reasonable expectation that all of them would complete the pass.

Third, there was at more than 1 person with their head up their rectum that day. Maybe we can all learn a leason from this post.

Thanks for sharing it to be chewed on.

"Joker" said...

You knew I'd be weighing in here.

I ride with large groups all the time, and I'm also a Road Captain, which means I've both earned the trust of my Chapter, and completed an MSF Advanced Rider's Course. This is sort of a double-edged sword here. As Sherry remarked, I was surprised to hear that a line of bikers like that would be going slow. We certainly have never been accused of holding up traffic. Then again, since the bikers were not wearing colors, it's likely they may not all have been experienced group riders, and their "leader" was not a trained RC.

Chuck at The Ride Report wrote about a ride he was on where the guy leading it was a slow-poke, and obviously inexperienced. That makes for a bad situation. If you aggravate other drivers - of bikes or cages - you're inviting a problem. 5 cars trying to pass that many bikes at once is moronic though, and I don't care if they were upset about going slow or not. That doesn't justify doing something that could get people killed. What amazes me even more is your buddy in the 5th car supposedly rides or rode before, and he made the attempt too - as the last of 5. He should have known better.

Bottom line: I don't agree with Canajun about "sub groups," and this is going to sound arrogant, but it's the truth. When we get out there in a pack we believe in the strength and safety of numbers, and because we know what the hell we're doing, we never have a problem. We're all patched, so people generally tend to stay clear. Once in a great while a merge situation happens where we get a cage in the pack, but they get out as soon as they can, and we don't make an issue out of it because sometimes you just have to share the road. In the scenario you described however, I'd have been bullshit and probably flipped the guy off and said something if his window was down. I would not have played chicken with him though, because I wouldn't want to endanger the group by escalating it that far.

I don't think you should ever cut in to a pack on purpose. I agree with Sherry. If you do, expect to be taken "out back."

Baron's Life said...

The strength and safety of numbers is correct and certainly safe....!
However...no matter what, as a Group Captain...you need to use the grey matter between your ears, that is if you have any, to keep everyone safe

Lady R (Di) said...

Compromises sometimes are necessary, especially when it comes to safety on the roads. Good sense should always prevail over pride.

This scenario was a chain reaction of bad decisions that luckily turned out okay.

Big Daddy said...

I have to agree with AHD
there was two assholes on the road that day.
Both were wrong.
Lucky for your friend and the "road captain'
No one ended up Dead wrong.

Chessie (Chesshirecat) said...

You know, everyone makes mistakes. The road capt. made a few, as did the driver of the 4 wheeler.

I'm not gonna tell you that the leader of this pack was incorrect by leading his pack slower than the marked road. I've been in groups that had both new riders, and more experienced riders. We always rode in accordance to what the least experienced could handle.

That's not to say we didn't try to challenge our new riders, but come on...you guys don't know or understand what the circumstances were to the group riding that slow.

Now, I admire the cage driver, putting his turn signal on...asking, as well as telling the bikers of his intentions to merge. Yeah, he made a mistake passing as the 5th vehicle...but like I said earlier, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The road captain would have lost me as a rider as soon as it was safe for me to disengage from his group. As soon as I saw him using his bike to block the 4 wheeler from passing, I would have moved up beside him/her with my bike, told him to he's an asshole for endangering the whole of the group and left his ass far behind me. I would rather read about him getting rammed than witness it. He's just lucky the 4 wheeler didn't get pissy and decide to do some wrangling of his own...causing harm or discomfort to the 15 riders around him.

When someone decides to merge into my line...he's bigger than me. I let him...most often, they do not want to be there, but are forced by circumstances of the road at that time to merge in with us...he most often will leave quickly enough.

Get over yourself...be safe and share the road.

Electra Glide In Blue said...

I think if this would have happened 25-30 years ago, your friend would have been a dead man.
Thank God, times have changed, a little anyways.

Dean "D-Day" said...

I'm going to side with Lady R and Big D on this one.

There was enough blame for both sides and they were lucky that nobody got hurt.

It doesn't bother me in the least if people want to pass me. I don't play the macho chicken games. I ride my own ride. If I'm not going fast enough for ya, then go around.

One Pissed RC said...

This is way more than just breaking into the formation which is sometimes neccesary and can be done safely. This is recklessness! So what if people are going under the speed limit? Those people are just trying to ride and have fun at their own level safely. That doesn't give anyone the right to pull some jackhole mutha fuck'n stupid piss head shit like passing a group of bikes with 5 cars in a space where you can't see completely what's coming. Basicly your friend was gonna pull into that lane and kill those bikers if they didn't move!
One of my best friends was killed one week ago today because of a different asshole. Next time, this guy is gonna kill someone because he can't wait to get wherever it is that is so important. Then there will be a family and friends burying another biker. I can see why those people were pissed. I'm pissed just reading about it. Well, I better go to bed. I have a viewing to go to in a few hours because of some crazy bitch who was in a hurry. I know she was in a hurry because she was jumping around one dead and two injured motorcyclists saying so. You need to keep better company my friend. Sorry I'm sore. Hope you understand where I'm coming from.

IHG said...

In the words of Rodney King...can't we all just get along here!????!

We all need to learn how to share the road with each other so that people don't get killed. Cage drivers need to stop being such jackasses when it comes to motorcycles and motorcycle riders need to respect cage riders.

Yesterday I witnessed good decisions made by a Harley Rider out on I-80. This stupid dumb cager merged in front of the rider...I'm sure he didn't look because generally cagers don't look, they just get in the cage and aim it down the damn road. Well the rider slowed because he saw the potentially dangerous situation and merged right...as he went around he didn't flip the guy off or anything. He kept his head and just kept riding down the road. I on the other hand gave the driver a look as we passed him like WTF are you doing dumbass. You could tell he had no clue what he had just done.

Anyway...there are many cagers out there that have no clue about motorcycles and our rules of the road so we have to cut them a little bit of a break. They don't spend hours and hours studying up on our passion because they just don't get it. I think what D-Day did is something more of us need to do in our states. We need to get out there and spread the good word about motorcycles and get people to be more aware of us.

I can't speak on riding with a club because we don't. I know there are rules of formation and such but honestly, if you are holding up traffic you have to expect that people are going to try to pass you. You have to have some consideration for the cager because you don't know the situation he/she is in. They could have an emergency they need to get to, etc. You just never know. I'd say it wasn't the case with this individual in Mr. M's post but we need to have respect for each other out there.

ok...that's all i've got to say about that...

Willy D said...

Lots of opinions, lots of circumstances. There are many assholes on the road, bikes and autos. Were there assholes in this scenario? Yep, on both sides. Would I ride with that group? No. Would I ride in the car with that driver? Not a chance in hell.

mq01 said...

gotta say, here in the NorCal hills it'd be stupid for more than 1 car to pass at a time because of that very reason, visibility ahead. but why were the bikes doing under the speed limit...shaking head...lots of bad things happening in this scenario. still shaking head...

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I must first say... What makes so many of you just assume that this person was my friend? Actually, it is someone who works within the same company as me, and knows I ride. They caught me one day in passing. Also when I said they had a clue, I was trying to say, they used to ride many years ago, so they are at least educated in that sense to some extent. and lastly, I agree that trying to pass with four cars ahead of you on low visibility twisty hilly roads with 15 bikes to pass, Not such a wise idea, but I'd have to say, surprised the bike group didn't see it coming holding up traffic and all. Weather right, or wrong, you'd have to expect it, and if they didn't, they were fools in my opinion. We all need to share the road, weather on two or four wheels. I think Willy D summed it up nicely.

Webster World said...

All has posted well. We live in a fast food world everyone is in a hurry to get no where. We all see it every day the leadhead that has to cut traffic speed like hell just to see them at the next light. Now as for that captain and the speed...what an idiot. The cages...lucky they were not hard core 1%ers. Someone would be ah hurting right now. That would be the good part. May be all parties involved... favorite song was ( If I only had a brain) Well may we all ride safe.

FLHX_Dave said...

Well, rushing through life only leads to regret.

Hmmm...If I were there in the pack and saw that the cager was about to take a head on with another cager I would have let him in.

It is what it is. You have to take things in the now as they happen.

The cager should not have tried to pass in a group of cagers. The pack leader should have let him by. Both are pretty much bonerheads.

Share the road means share the road. I works both ways. I avoid starting shit because it's going to find me whether I like or not anyway. Why go looking for it....let the cager by.

If this was on a multilane freeway...well, things would have been different I suppose.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

FLHX Dave,
Well put!

bikerphoto said...

I rarely ride with groups because things like this happen a lot. Cagers don't seem to understand that the group wants to stay together.

I'm usually not one to try to get revenge on a cager for their stupidity, because I know I am at an extreme disadvantage if the cager wants to get get agressive with his car.

The best thing to do is always to let it go. The pack leader should have let the cager go. It never pays to escalate a situation like that. Even though we sometimes think the cager needs to be taught a lesson, it is best to let it go.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Thanks for stopping by and dropping me a comment.
I rarely ride in big groups, not because of anything other than time and effort to coordinate. Plus I don't belong to any riding group in particular. I do do it sometimes though. I know when I have been in a large group, there have been circumstances where for everyone's safety, we have had to let the cars come in and out of our riding formation. No one got mad. We just expect it to happen. You let it roll off your back, that's all. However, I will agree with all who have commented this part in the past, that being car #5 in a line up of cars passing 15 or so bikes on a limited visibility road is just stupid, and asking for trouble. I can at least understand why the road captain got pissed off. I just don't agree with how it was handled.