August 6th, 2015
Hopping on a motorcycle and going on a group ride can be a tremendously fun time. Whether hitting the highway for the long-haul or just cruising around the neighborhood with fellow bikers, many consider group riding the ultimate motorcycle experience. However, unlike having specific traffic rights to drive through red lights akin to a funeral procession, many bikers on group trips get separated by stop lights and other moving vehicle laws.
Road guards requirements
Thankfully, though, Minnesota will be getting some new safety officials to guard the road in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. According to a new law that was passed in 2012 that goes into effect in August, more than 400 Minnesotans will qualify to become certified motorcycle road guards in the state.
For motorcyclists on group rides, these individuals will be able to perform traffic control to help keep the riders from getting separated.
The statute provides authority for the Minnesota Transportation Commissioner of Public Safety to establish the specific qualifications and requirements for individuals to obtain a certificate to become a motorcycle road guard. However, certain aspects of the requirements are non-negotiable. The qualifications and standards dictate all road guards must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. In addition, motorists must have successfully completed the state-regulated motorcycle road guard certification course.
The law mandates motorcyclists must comply with regulatory stipulations to maintain their road guard status. In particular, the safety guard must notify the city the biker group will be traveling through to receive consent from the police chief and make the necessary arrangements for the group trip through the city. While in the city, a safety guard will only have the authority to direct traffic for the group ride and stop traffic for no more than 10 minutes.
Individuals must successfully complete a driving record review and a training course on how to properly and effectively be a road guard. Applicants will be required to pay a service fee to obtain the certification from the public safety commissioner, which remains to be determined at this point. Any person caught violating the provisions, whether by falsifying their road guard credentials or by impersonating a road guard, will be subject to the charge of a petty misdemeanor.
The commissioner is also granted the authority to develop and offer a course on motorcycle road guard certification as well as establish safety and equipment standards for any representatives of the road guard program. This includes, but is not limited to, outlining and delineating the particular requirements for the wearing and use of any reflective safety vests or other gear.
Group ride safety tips
For those riders considering embarking on a group ride, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has several helpful tips to ensure the group's safety. The foundation recommended holding a riders' meeting before the trip to map out a route and agree on a series of hand signals to communicate with the fellow bikers. This helps reduce mistakes during the route and alleviates the chances of wrong turns and separated drivers.
In addition, the foundation recommended staggering the riding formation to allow for adequate space cushions in between the bikers. According to the foundation, the lead rider should drive in the left third of the lane, while the second rider stays one second behind him or her in the right third of the lane, while the rest of the bikers continue the pattern of alternating sides of the lane.
For motorcyclists who wish to become road guards, CoverHound provides affordable motorcycle insurance quotes from its convenient website.