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Thread: Motor Cops Riding Formation??

  1. #1
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    Motor Cops Riding Formation??

    Anyone know the official protocol for two or more motorcycle cops riding formation at speed? In Indiana, two or more riders of the general riding public are to ride staggered formation (lane A - lane C) and I am 100% in agreement with it. Last night and early this morning (6:30 am, not quite light yet), two motorcycle cops were riding "parade" style @ 70 + mph, in full uniform and obviously on duty! I saw them both times on the dual lane section of US24 between Peru and Wabash and just could not believe it! Maybe I am just paranoid but, a deer, dog, pot hole, road rage, etc. could take them both out in one hit! Anyone have the answer, are each states different?

  2. #2
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Your best bet is to look up your own state law regarding it. In AZ. it was illegal to ride side by side and there was a specific exception to Police Motors. That may or may not have changed, I really don't know as it no longer applies to me.

    I don't ride side by side except with someone who has gone through the same level of training as I did and the only ones I have found who did were other Motors. In my Department's case it was a minimum of 160 hours of in saddle and classroom, almost all in the saddle. The training covered everything from slow speed precision riding to pursuit riding and some dirt biking including dry river and hill climbs with the Police bikes.

    FWIW the procedure is to offset back to staggered when ever there is a hazard observed or an intersection to be passed.

    Lots of folks have tons of opinions about the system but virtually none ever went through the training for it.
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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shropdog View Post
    Anyone know the official protocol for two or more motorcycle cops riding formation at speed? In Indiana, two or more riders of the general riding public are to ride staggered formation (lane A - lane C) and I am 100% in agreement with it. Last night and early this morning (6:30 am, not quite light yet), two motorcycle cops were riding "parade" style @ 70 + mph, in full uniform and obviously on duty! I saw them both times on the dual lane section of US24 between Peru and Wabash and just could not believe it! Maybe I am just paranoid but, a deer, dog, pot hole, road rage, etc. could take them both out in one hit! Anyone have the answer, are each states different?
    In theory traffic laws apply equally to them - unless running lights and siren when all bets are off. But in practice they will ride as they well please and unless they run into something they won't be stopped or ticketed in their own jurisdiction. Besides, they learned that watching Chips on TV as young children and most things learned young stick and are hard to change.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Thanks for the civil responses! I posted this question on ADVRIDER and was virtually flamed by the majority of responders. I just need to stay away from that site!

    If I have the opportunity and see an officer of-the-bike, I am going to stop and politely ask him.

  5. #5
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    My next-door-neighbor commands the motor unit for the King County Sheriff's Dept. (Seattle is the county seat of King County).

    Motor officers can ride however and wherever they want - by law and by tradition/practice. They are better riders than you or I, and they are perfectly qualified to ride side-by-side at 70+ mph. They do track days and other training programs all the time in addition to the 5 or 6 hours a day they spend on their bikes doing their jobs. I doubt there are more qualified operators of motorcycles on the roads today.

    If you really want to be impressed, watch them work a presidential motorcade. You'll observe all sorts of traffic violations, all done with reason and purpose in mind.

    Besides, most traffic regulations exempt law enforcement officers engaged in their duties.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shropdog View Post
    Thanks for the civil responses! I posted this question on ADVRIDER and was virtually flamed by the majority of responders. I just need to stay away from that site! ...
    There's no reason to stay away from ADVrider. There are a lot of nice people over there with lots of experience and wisdom. Just stay away from Jo momma.

  7. #7
    Registered User widebmw's Avatar
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    I know a retired motor officer and he told me of a time when he was riding side by side with another officer and they were going to turn right at the next corner.
    He saw a nice looking lady and he kept going stright while his partner on his left turned right.
    They picked up their bikes and took off.

  8. #8
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    My best friend is one of two motor cops on the local small municipal police department. He got his motor officer training at the Ontario Provincial Police college and they are taught to ride side by side.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  9. #9
    MAYLETT
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32232 View Post
    He got his motor officer training at the Ontario Provincial Police college and they are taught to ride side by side.
    I suspect that no matter how good the training or how coordinated the movement of the two riders becomes, it's still an accident waiting to happen because it shrinks the size of the lane to half or less of its actual width. This reduces both motorcyclists wiggle room in dodging sudden obstacles in the road and scooting away from the less-than-observant cage drivers who do unexpected things.

  10. #10
    just hangin' out 2bikemike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PT9766 View Post
    While I realize that a good deal of police work is in low speed escort, or traffic control (point access) duty and that the Ontario Provincial Police motorcycle riders probably do more riding in their Golden Helmets Precision Riding display work than on "police duty" in day-to-day traffic conditions, I always shake my head when I see them out there side-by-side in a double column, heading to or from a "show" at speed.

    They are ill-clothed and ill-helmeted for motorcycle riding of any sort, but seem to think that so-called superior training will make them safe.

    I call it whistling as you pass the graveyard at midnight.

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  11. #11
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Have seen local city and county Motor Officers ride side by side in all types of traffic situations. As long as they are not behind me or alongside me waving me over...I don't think twice about it.
    Most I have tallked with have years of experience as opposed to the weekend warriors who think that's how one group rides.
    In the end, it's their choice isn't it? I wouldn't poke the bear myself
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  12. #12
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maylett View Post
    I suspect that no matter how good the training or how coordinated the movement of the two riders becomes, it's still an accident waiting to happen because it shrinks the size of the lane to half or less of its actual width. This reduces both motorcyclists wiggle room in dodging sudden obstacles in the road and scooting away from the less-than-observant cage drivers who do unexpected things.
    Two years ago I was passed by seven Golden Helmets while driving my van on the 403. Seven G Helmets in formation. One decided to stretch his legs and had a boot touchdown on the pavement. He momentarily lost control of his bike and the others had to scatter. At the time, I wondered about this riding technique and their leather jackets as it looked like rain. Leather loses its strength when wet. A bit further up the road, after it started to rain, all seven had stopped under an underpass to put on their rain suits. That was a large target under the underpass. In the summer, they ride in shirt sleeves; again not a safe practice.

    I'm not anti-cop, and although they are better trained than most of us (and do a most impressive motorcycle formation riding display), I believe that they live by their own rules, whether it be on their bikes or their cruisers. (I am still waiting for an answer to an inquiry I made last May when one high speed OPP cruiser had to pass me on the paved cement barrier side shoulder as I was slowing down, expecting to be pulled over for an infraction. Apparently he was on a mission to somewhere and at his speed he had two options; either run me over or pass illegally.) My sons' told me to not pursue the issue as they figured I'd be high on their radar (pun intended).
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  13. #13
    RSPENNACHIO
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    and another two cents....

    In some states (probably most) lane spliting (or sharing as I really see it) is not permited. That is the case in Michigan. I am not sure how the law is truly defined (how the judge rules on you) or how it is enforced (by LEO). The law seems intentionally ambigious. But for two reasons I don't do this.

    One, I feel that riding side by side is in fact lane spliting and breaks the rule so I don't do it. The second reason is saftey. If I or the person next to me needs to swerve for any reason I would perfer to have room to give. And the second second reason is that I once was told that lane spliting in California is legal while we were stuck in gridlock on the freeway. Cycles were riding the dashed line that seperates the lanes. I'm not talking about 10-15 mph either. At least 40-50 mph just a foot away from a sideview mirror. In case you can't picture it we were stopped and they were moving at 50 mph between cars!

  14. #14
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    Heading up Hell';s Angels & a prospect riding side by side. They were each about 6-10" from the edge of the roadway & #2 lane respectively, & going about 90, as I was going 80 in my F250... Didn't look too safe...

  15. #15
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    Here in Wisconsin, riding side by side on city streets, two-lane highways, multi-lane exressways, freeways is common place all over the state, for motor cops and civilians alike. It is not illegal, and it is commonly tolerated by the police. Quite often, two cycles side by side on a two lane highway, take up more width in their lane than a semi-truck. Each rider oblivious to the dangers he places himself and his fellow rider in. I don't care one bit that many claim "I know how he rides and he knows how I ride." What a line of crap and ego blowing.

    Personally, I feel it is a crash waiting to happen, and I will not ride side by side even with my fellow MSF instructors. Yet, here in cheesehead land I see it so often, usually in pairs, fours and even in large packs of 20 some bikes. Mostly not helmetted or in proper gear. And it s a good bet that over 1/2 those riders have marginal riding skills at best based on what I have had for ERC students over 17 years.

    I have even had students in my class ask my opinion about their group rides, when the newer riders are chided for not riding in formation side by side! I tell them to find another group to ride with, or ride at the end of the pack. No one, in any riding group, should pressure another rider to ride in a specific manner, unless that manner itself is unsafe.

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