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TMSC Group Rides

TMSC Riding Guidelines:

Each participant in a TMSC group ride will be required to read and sign a waiver.

Meeting Place and Departure Time

  • Meeting place and departure times will be posted to the membership via the online calendar and e-mail in advance of the scheduled event.
  • Rider briefing should be held just prior to departure, to establish a schedule for gas and rest stops, inform the group of the intended route, provide other pertinent information and review the group riding guidelines including formations and procedures.
  • Individuals should make every effort to arrive promptly at the scheduled meeting time and be completely prepared for the scheduled departure time. This includes a full tank of gas, and necessary restroom visits.
  • In the interest of safety and courtesy to other users of the road, some rides may be restricted to scooters that are capable of sustained travel at 80km/h under all conditions.

Riding Formation and Individual Positions

  • The standard formation, under good conditions of road, traffic, and weather, will be a double row, staggered, in one traffic lane. The interval will be no less than one second between staggered riders, which will automatically make a 2 second interval between you and the scooter directly in front of you.
  • The TMSC Ride Leader will be at the head of the group, and typically will ride just to the left of lane centre. The Tail Gunner will ride at the rear of the formation.
  • New members, guests, and any riders with little experience in group riding will be positioned at the front of the group, just behind the Ride Leader.
  • Each rider should maintain his or her starting line up position in the group until arrival at the destination. This allows each rider to become more familiar with the riding style and habits of those nearest him or her in the group, and is particularly important for the new or inexperienced riders.
  • Under certain conditions the Ride Leader will signal the group to form a single file formation. The signal is the left arm held overhead with one finger extended. Drop back to a safe following distance from the rider in front of you and move into a single file.
  • It may be necessary to form smaller groups for safety due to surrounding conditions or local bylaws. There should be a temporary Ride Leader to lead and a Tail Gunner to control the second part of the group. This may mean that the last rider of each group would become the Tail Gunner for that group. If possible, this rider should be another experienced Road Captain or Tail Gunner. If another Road Captain/Tail Gunner is not available, this rider should be briefed prior to the run as to his or her responsibilities in the event this situation should occur. In most cases it will be the Tail Gunner of the group who assumes the position of Temporary Ride Leader in these circumstances.

Speed, Intervals and Distances

  • The Ride Leader will attempt to establish and maintain a uniform speed; consistent with the ability of the least experienced rider, surrounding conditions, the posted speed limit, the scooters at the ride, and safe riding practices. The Ride Leader should establish before the ride the abilities of the people and the scooters themselves prior to departure, especially concentrating on new riders, new members and visitors to the ride. The Ride Leader should continually check his mirrors to insure the formation is in good shape.
  • The Ride Leader may choose to separate the group of inexperienced riders into a group of their own, consistent with expected or actual conditions, making sure there is an acting, experienced Ride Leader and Tail Gunner to guide them.
  • All riders will make an effort to maintain the same speed to minimize the effect of irregular speeds on riders at the rear of the group.
  • All riders will maintain a safe distance and lane position between themselves and the rider directly ahead, to be consistent with existing road, traffic, and weather conditions.

Minimum Safe Following Distances:

  • Within the group, a safe distance is defined as a minimum two second delay between the rider, and the next rider directly ahead. This means that there is a minimum of a one second delay between staggered riders. Whenever a single file formation is employed, a safe distance remains defined as a minimum two second delay between the rider, and the rider directly ahead. The riders should also realize that by creating a large gap in the formation, cars will try to move in and split the formation, causing a dangerous situation. It also causes problems for the R when there are large gaps in the formation.
  • Too many people get hung up with, ?there must be only 2 seconds between bikes?. This is a guideline for average highway riding. The gap should be determined by the speed and road conditions. The gap should be established before the ride for the sections of road to be traveled. The faster the speed, the more gap there should be. With that said, we also do not want huge gaping gaps in the formation where other vehicles will attempt to break into the formation. The gap should be consistent throughout the formation.
  • With respect to vehicles ahead of the group, a safe distance is defined as an absolute minimum three second delay between the Ride Leader and any vehicle directly ahead of the group. If a car is in front of the formation, make adjustments to keep a good distance.
  • A safe lane position is defined as riding immediately to the right or left of lane centre. This will keep the riders just off the centre oil stain, while maintaining the staggered formation, distance between riders and other obstacles, and not obstructing the line of vision between the Ride Leader and Tail Gunner.

Traffic Lanes
The Ride Leader will attempt to lead the group in a single lane when:

  • The traffic flow appears to be most consistent with the speed of the group, using lane changes only when necessary to pass slower traffic or to avoid a hazardous condition, and to avoid blocking faster surrounding traffic.
  • On roads with two lanes each direction, the group will normally travel in the number two lane, also known as the "slow" lane, allowing faster traffic to pass to left except when passing slower traffic on the right.
  • On roads with three or more lanes in each direction, the group will normally travel in the number two lane, keeping the right lane open for other vehicles entering and exiting the highway, and the left lane(s) for traffic to pass.

Lane Changes and Passing

  • On a multi-lane highway, the double row staggered formation will normally be maintained.
  • The Ride leader will hold his or her position and signal for a lane change.
  • All riders will hold their positions and pass the signal to the rear.
  • The Tail Gunner will change lanes at the first safe opportunity, securing the lane for the group, and allowing the Ride Leader to see that the lane is clear and protected. The Ride Leader should be aware of when the Tail Gunner has changed lanes by using mirrors and will make a head check to ensure that no cars are beside the formation.
  • The formation will then change lanes using the "follow the leader" approach. Once the Ride Leader begins to change lanes, everyone can start to change lanes. In every occasion it is still essential that each rider use his/her judgment and shoulder check prior to changing lanes to ensure the safety of the maneuver.
  • There are times it will not be possible for the entire group to change lanes as above. When this situation arises, the Ride Leader will signal for a turn, and signal the group with one finger extended into the air. This indicates that changing lanes as a group is not possible. The Ride Leader will then change lanes when it is safe to do so. Everyone signals, head checks, and changes lanes front to back, as individuals, when it is safe to do so. Should the group become separated, regroup when it is safe to do so. Please use known good safety practices, including head checks.
  • On a two-lane road with two way traffic (one lane each way), a single file formation should be used when passing other vehicles. The Ride Leader should also maintain a steady speed after the slow moving vehicle has been passed allowing the individual riders room to move back into formation ahead of the passed vehicle.
  • If for any reason the group becomes separated, merge safely back into the formation, returning to your original position, using known good safety practices. Don't feel it's necessary to break the world land speed record in trying to catch up. The Ride Leader will be aware and adjust accordingly once they are clear of the passed vehicle.

Hand Signals

  • At all times, standard hand signals will be used for changing the formation to a single row and back to double staggered, all turns, lane changes, slowing, and stopping. Turn signal lights will also be used at all times.
  • All signals will be relayed to the rear of the group to allow all riders to take appropriate precautionary measures, and be aware of changes in speed and direction. Once the hand signal is given and the person sees in their mirror that it is being passed on, they may return to gripping their handlebars with both hands. The only one that needs to hold the hand signal is the Tail Gunner until he/she reaches the spot of the maneuver, based on following traffic.
  • Left arm held high, one finger extended over head indicates single file and extended following distance.
  • Left arm held high, one finger extended over head, followed by the Ride Leader signaling and changing lanes indicates that riders will move as individuals to whatever position is required.
  • Left arm held high with two fingers extended over head indicates the standard staggered formation.
  • Left arm held low and to the side, palm facing backwards, indicates slow and or stop.
  • If a rider is uncomfortable using hand signals, he/she needn't. However, everyone should be using their turn signal lights.

Unscheduled or Emergency Stops

  • Unscheduled stops for gas, restroom, or rider fatigue can lead to confusion in the group, and confusion can lead to accidents. The Ride Leader should be informed that a stop is necessary in order to lead the group in an organized fashion to the next convenient and safe place to stop.
  • Any rider with an equipment problem should inform one of the Organizers, Ride Leader or Tail Gunner as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • When the Ride Leader is informed, he or she will stop the group at the earliest possible moment, when and where it is safe.
  • If the rider must pull over immediately, only the Tail Gunner or assigned formation mechanic will accompany that rider to a stop. If there is an assigned mechanic, he or she should be at the rear of the formation. The Ride Leader should be informed if he or she is not aware of this situation. Once the Ride Leader is informed, he or she will pull the group over as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Any rider observing a problem with another rider's equipment should inform that rider as quickly and safely as possible. If it appears that a stop is necessary, the Ride Leader should also be notified.
  • The Ride Leader should use good judgment and common sense when choosing a spot to pull over. Try to avoid an area with hazards to scooters, such as heavy traffic, broken glass, trash, loose sand, gravel, and fresh asphalt.


  • In the event the group comes upon the scene of an accident or if someone in the group is involved in an accident, the Road Captain will stop the group at the earliest possible moment (keeping with known good safety practices). It may be necessary for the group to disperse and park separately to avoid creating additional hazardous conditions.
  • Members of the Toronto Moto Scooter Club will provide assistance in any practical way possible including but not limited to:

    • Slow, divert, or stop traffic in a safe manner, using flares if available.
    • Aid and comfort those involved.
    • Call 911 to notify the Police, Ambulance, and/or Fire services as the situation demands.
    • Maintain order and preserve the accident scene for Police investigation
    • If possible, take photographs.
    • If possible, obtain licence plate numbers and vehicle descriptions, including driver descriptions in the event of a hit and run violation.
    • Obtain names and addresses of witnesses, if necessary.
    • If possible, maintain overall control of the situation until relieved by the proper authorities.

Safety Equipment

  • It is assumed that all riders will come to the ride with a well-maintained scooter.
  • All riders should show up with appropriate riding apparel for the weather conditions.
  • All group riders are encouraged to bring a well-stocked tool kit to all club rides.
  • All group riders are encouraged to bring a well-maintained first aid kit to all club rides.
  • The TMSC Organizers should bring the following to the ride:

    • First aid kit.
    • Route maps
    • Run information.
    • Cell phone.
    • Two way radios and headsets for ride communications

Every Rider's Responsibilities

  • Observe the objectives and guidelines in order to assure the safety and the welfare of every individual within the group, and any surrounding motorists or pedestrians.
  • Follow the instructions of the Road Captain / Ride Leader in all situations, unless those instructions place the rider or any other individual in an unsafe situation.
  • Maintain their scooter and other equipment in a safe riding condition.
  • Ride with headlights on.
  • Ride with a "safety first" attitude. The safety of all individuals, whether or not they are a part of the group, is of paramount importance.
  • Ride with a helmet, jacket, gloves and boots.
  • Safely operate their vehicle in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act and all other applicable laws.
  • Ensure that they and their vehicle are unimpaired and currently functioning safely.
  • Make sure that they can perform and maneuver safely in the riding environment that they are in. Should they be not 100% sure of their ability in the current ride, they must remove themselves from the situation. At all times, each rider must ride within their capabilities.
  • It is the duty of every rider to make sure the environment is safe for themselves as well as for other riders. In doing so, every ride will be as safe as possible.
  • The Toronto Moto Scooter Club does not condone drinking and riding. Anyone participating in a TMSC ride or event who consumes alcoholic beverages or any other substance that may impair their ability to operate a scooter or any other motor vehicle does so without the consent of the Toronto Moto Scooter Club. It is our policy to require all riders to have a zero blood alcohol level, regardless of what is permitted under the law.
  • The Toronto Moto Scooter Club requires all members to follow and observe all Federal, Provincial and Local Laws while participating in a TMSC event. TMSC does not condone any illegal activities or practices while riding in or holding an event or ride including but not limited to parading and road blocking. Whenever possible, event or ride organizers will coordinate with their local law enforcement or department of transportation for their assistance in road blocking for large processions. If law enforcement assistance is not available, large groups must be split into smaller groups of not more than 20 riders to ensure that it will be manageable without blocking any intersection, streets or drives.
  • Any officer or organizer recognized by TMSC may dismiss anyone participating in a TMSC ride or event if they are impaired or are endangering the safety of ride participants. Ultimately it is the individual's responsibility to maintain themselves in a safe and lawful manner.

By participating in any group ride or club event participants agree to all of the above.

Ride Safe! Have Fun!

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Common Routes August 26, 2019 5:36 PM Dan C.
TMSC Riding Guidelines July 9, 2007 9:14 PM Benny
TMSC Group Rides April 16, 2013 7:26 PM Steve_YYZ
About The Toronto Moto & Scooter Club March 14, 2013 9:24 AM Dan C.

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