Safety FAQ

Does the G.W.R.R.A. promote safety?

G.W.R.R.A. has always promoted motorcycle safety through commitment, education, preparedness, experience etc. Safety is our main priority and Calgary Chapter A has an excellent driving record and endorses the "Calgary Safety Council".

What is the "Calgary Safety Council"?

The "Calgary Safety Council" is a non-profit organization in that offers different levels of instruction on motorcycle riding. For example: The 'GEARING UP' course's fundamental purpose is to create skillful, safety conscious, responsible motorcyclists. Riding will then become not only safer, but more pleasant and enjoyable. The course has been designed for all motorcyclists, regardless of experience level. If you are a novice rider, you will gain knowledge to help avoid accidents during that all important first six months of riding. The course is approx. 24 hours of instruction in basic and more advanced maneuvers (3 hours of theory, 21 hours of practical) Cost is approx. $250.00 and motorcycles are provided.

The Level 2 course is designed to improve and enhance the riding skills of participants using their own motorcycles. It is an excellent opportunity to gain invaluable experience and tips on riding and touring in urban and highway environments. Under close supervision student knowledge and awareness are increased, which ultimately add to the enjoyment and safety of motorcycling. Cost is approx. $150.00.

Is there any other place besides "Calgary Safety Council" to take advanced motorcycle training?

Yes - Chapter AB-A offers many rider education courses. Some of the courses offered are free of charge and others are for a nominal fee. Please see the list of courses available here and contact the Rider Education Coordinator for more information.

What is "GROUP RIDING'?

Group riding is quite simply the way we ride as a group, but there are a few important items to remember.

  1. Ride in a staggered formation - if the leader rides the left side of the lane, then number two bike rides the right side, number three left, and so on. We usually ride in groups of three or five.

  1. Allow a two second interval between you and the bike directly ahead of you. Ride smoothly with a minumum of jockeying back and forth.

  1. Don't be a lemming - You, not the group leader, are riding your bike. Check for traffic and other hazards - don't just follow.

  1. Stay within the bounds of your skill level. Don't be influenced by the bike ahead of you diving into curves like an F16. This is not a race or competition. If you don't feel comfortable riding in a group, you can ride on your own - Never feel obligated to "Group Ride".

  1. If someone in your group pulls onto the shoulder and stops - DON'T FOLLOW HIM. Stay with the group. The tail end bike is designated by the leader to stop and help.

  1. In parking, the leader will try to find an area big enough for everyone. If he can't, find your own.

  1. The ride leader appreciates your suggestions but not at 100 kph (60 mph). If you know of an interesting place, restaurant or route, tell him before the ride or during lunch, but not while cruising down the freeway.

  1. The destination point is decided before we depart on our rides and designated stops will be made known to all members.The lead bike and the tail bike should have a C.B. radio or Ham radio to deal with any problems efficiently and quickly.

  1. Make sure gas tank is full and the bathroom check has been done at the designated time of departure.

  1. If you don't have a C.B. Radio, please let the "tail gunner" (last motorcycle) know if you will be leaving the group during the ride. Also, if you don't have a C.B. Radio or Ham Radio, there is a list of hand signals that will help you to communicate. Copies of this list are available from your safety co-ordinator and they are also listed in the GWRRA Gold Book.

Remember, all eyes are on your driving habits and those habits will determine the level of respect you get on the highway from the general public.

What should I know about "wet weather" riding?

In "wet weather", when it first starts to rain, traction is reduced to only 80-85% of what dry pavement traction is. The center of the lane is very slick when the rain first starts because of oil, etc. Therefore, don't ride in the center of the lane until you can see the rain water running off the shoulder of the road. If water is starting to accumulate in the tire tracks, you are better off to ride in the center of the lane to avoid hydroplaning.

Where do most accidents occur?

75% of most accidents happen at intersections. Be especially wary of vehicles positioned directly across the intersection from you making a left hand turn in front of you because they won't see you. When turning, watch out for pedestrians, roller bladers, or bicycles coming off the sidewalk in front of you.

How can I be more visible while motorcycling?
  1. Keep your headlight on during daylight hours. A bike with its high beam on is 142% more visible in daylight. The law in Alberta requires you to have headlight on whenever you are riding.

  1. Wear bright clothing and a bright helmet. Fluorescent colors in orange, yellow and red are twice as visible as white, and standard orange, yellow and red.

  1. At night, put reflective strips on your helmet and jacket. With dark clothing, drivers won't spot you in their headlights until your just 17 meters (50 feet) away. Thats about 1/3 the stopping distance of a typical car going 80 kph (50 mph). With light clothing, a driver will see you from 37 meters (120 feet) away. With reflective strips, you will be noted from 153 meters (500 feet).

  1. Select a lane postion that makes you easy for others to see. Usually the left tire track of the car in front of you is best because if allows the driver to see you in both side and rear view mirrors. Oncoming drivers can also see you better if you are on the left side of your lane. Also, remember buses, trucks and vans need a wide berth when turning - you really are almost invisible to drivers of these large vehicles.

How do most motorcycle collisions involving rider error occur?

Most motorcycle accidents involving rider error are usually the result of the rider losing control - taking a turn too fast or incorrectly, mishandling a panic stop, or a moment's in attention. Being a good rider starts with a good attitude and also requires knowledge of the limits of you and your bike. You can get that knowledge through training and experience.

What is the best thing to do in when an accident is inevitable?

If you do lose control and are about to crash, it it generally better to hold on to your bike. It's not much but it's all that's going to come between you and the other vehicle, or the pavement, or the bushes, or whatever you hit. Better the bike should absorb some of the blow than you take it all for yourself.

What is the proper riding gear?
  1. Helmet - the most important piece of protective gear a rider can use. Protects against head injury, windblast, cold and flying objects.

  1. Faceshield - "Saves Face" Any rider who's been hit in the face by stones, insects, or debris can tell you the benefits.

  1. Gloves - Keep hands comfortable, functional and protected. Come in infinite variety for all seasons.

  1. Jackets & Pants - Long sleeves and trousers resist abrasion and protect against sunburn, windburn, dehydration or hypothermia. Light colors or reflectivity increase a rider's visibility. Leather jackets and pants or chaps are of course the very best in protective gear.

  1. Boots - Provide protection against foot and ankle injuries and give you a good grip on foot pegs or road surfaces.