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Motorcycle-Information

Page history last edited by Phil Stripling 12 years, 11 months ago
The following information was written by Roger Rines, and we don't think it can be improved upon, so we are using it with his permission. At the end of his essay, we note some changes.
 
We appreciate Roger's permission to use this material verbatim.
 

Motorcycles

 

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Motors patrolling event courses provide a unique service that isn’t easily filled by any other means. All too often the roads that event courses use are narrow and without a bicycle lane. When a bicycle uses one of these roads the space available for an automobile isn’t adequate, and someone gets forced over. Another aspect that motorcycles bring to an event is the ability to talk easily with the riders while both are moving. Unlike motorcycles with their open cockpit, automobiles have windows and doors that block or hinder sound and thus don’t work well in this regard. This makes checking in with riders, or just simply coaching them to stay to the side of the road absent. Riders also don’t like the smell of exhaust blowing on them and most vehicles have much larger engines that can really fill an area when they travel slowly
 
Patrolling a course is an area that often isn’t clear to a new event rider. How a motor can best be utilized is a constant question amongst those of us who ride and when we have an answer it is usually fuzzy at best. A simple answer is to patrol where people need help. While this is obvious, it isn't always easy to understand because the movement of the riders through the course isn't predictable. More importantly, where people need help isn't always where most people are grouped, and there needs to be some spread among the motors during the event so adequate coverage is ensured. This dilemma means we need motors patrolling everywhere event riders are riding. With only a limited number of motors available for any one event, the need to have them spread out can only be determined by the motorcyclist on the course.
 
Even in areas where the roads are wide enough to use larger vehicles, they don’t usually work adequately. This is because SAG wagons for many events, are only dispatched when needed, or they busy moving people and supplies. This tactical condition prevents them from being able to roam the course effectively. Most of this means the only discovery coverage participants have will be from patrolling motorcycles. In short, motorcyclists are the eyes and ears of event control and event management. Without motors roving the course, we won't know where support is needed, and injured or broken down riders could be left without help for extended periods. Leaving people without support for long periods isn't a good way to encourage them to come back next year, or pledge donations.
 
How to make that decision isn't science, but some simple rules follow:
 
    * Don’t ride in pairs unless there is a mechanical, communication or training need.
    * Don't leave on patrol as a group.
    * Be sure someone is covering every course with the most being where the most people are or where the most danger might exist.
    * On routes where one section overlaps two routes, motors should decide amongst themselves who will keep that section patrolled so they aren't traveling in tandem.
    * Crossing a route from two different directions works very well and keeps the route covered much better than a sole rider could possible cover it.
    * In short, if you spread yourselves around well, route support will be great and the event will be more fun for everyone. 
 
While patrolling a route, "what is the role of a motorcyclist," is a question I hear often. Experience has taught us that our primary role is to get help to where it is needed as quickly as possible, especially in the case of an accident. While patrolling, our secondary role is to remind riders to keep to the right of the road, don’t blow-through Stop signs and to ride in a single file. All too often bicyclists will group into packs and spread themselves across the road blocking traffic and create a safety hazard for themselves and others. Verbally remind riders to keep to the right, and if you see a rider blowing through a Stop sign, remind them that kind of behavior is against event rules, and when observed by authorities, tickets points get issued that are expensive to redeem. As event volunteers, we have no legal authority those in the event, but if you keep a note of who is operating recklessly, we'll have that information should an accident occur and you are asked.
 
Another role the motors need to play is helping event management understand where the riders are on the course, and to help us close the rest stops as soon as the last rider goes through that location. This role requires the motorcyclist to become proactive in working the tail end of the route. As the bulk of the riders move through the course, it is important for the motorcyclist to let the next rest stop in line on the route know an approximate number of riders remaining in that section of the course.
 
Rest stop #1 is very often the first to close, so the road leading up to it is where closing operations almost always begin. To start the closing process, begin by finding the last participant and working your way forward to the Rest Stop location. Once all riders have gone through a Rest Stop, that location's volunteers can collapse the rest stop and leave their assignment after Net Control has been informed. Just knowing how many riders are left to come through doesn't terminate the motor's responsibility. All too often there will be a few riders who just aren't up to making that length of course in a reasonable amount of time. For these riders, motors should look ahead on the course map with net control to a location on the course that will put that person back into reasonable traveling time. Once that location is understood, it is the motor's role to coach the bicyclist by encouraging them to leap forward with a SAG ride, by helping them take a shortcut across the course to a new location that will get them back into the event, or off the course, if the day is ending. Leaping ahead will place the rider in with the majority of the bicyclist and it will allow event management to release volunteers in a timely fashion.
 
In aggregate terms, motors keep the event moving and safe, and they help event management keep the event running smoothly. If each of us on a motor takes this perspective, we will certainly have a lot of fun while we are supporting a worthwhile cause
 
Dual band radios and high gain antennas are strongly recommended on all ham-motors and the gear should be tested before the event.
Road Safety
Accident Scene
 
Medical emergencies are often time critical. If you happen upon an injury and there is any question about whether the person will need medical attention, err on the side of caution and call what you see to the dispatch center listed on your Emergency Contact Number sheet.
 
If you find you don't have direct cell phone access where you are located, contact a Relay, Rest Stop or Net Control station and they will call the number for you.
 
If you have an emergency, state clearly you have a "Emergency Traffic," and be prepared to describe its nature when we respond responds. "Emergency Traffic" will preempt all other traffic and will stop net control in their tracks.
 
Rural locations are hard to identify, but do your best to give a road name, mile marker or a distance estimate from a known landmark, or intersection.
Traffic Control
 
Traffic from other vehicles will be the greatest danger you and the injured person will experience at the scene of the accident. If you come upon and accident, your first responsibility is to secure the scene by controlling traffic as best you can so neither you, nor the injured person, will be hurt by a vehicle passing by unaware of what is happening.
 
When you get to a scene, communicate what you have found as soon as it is safe. This will allow others in the event near you to know you might need help in controlling traffic until the authorities arrive and take over.
 
Until help arrives, strongly encourage passing people to help warn on-coming traffic to stop.
New for this year
 
(Last revision: Wednesday, April 25, 2007)
 
Our motorcyclists will be using CB radios this year. The primary frequency will be Channel 1, secondary frequency Channel 2. Motorcyclists will communicate through Motor Net with Coast 1, Coast 2, or Coast 3, as conditions permit. In the canyons the route travels, it will be a difficult communication job.
 
Entry to net Control
 
Location of Net Control

 

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