HOG Road Captain and Riding Safety

Road Captain patchThis week I want to discuss four related patches I've had sewn to my riding vest: (1) Road Captain; (2) Accident Scene Management; (3) HOG Safe Rider Skills; and (4) NC Community College System: North Carolina Motorcycle Safety patch. The theme here is safety through good riding practices: learning, practicing, and demonstrating them to other riders and cage drivers.

Road Captain

The Road Captain patch comes from the Harley Owners Group (HOG). It's a chapter level role for HOG members who are willing to set an example for riding safety and assist ride leaders in conducting group rides safely. While the national HOG organization does not specify educational or experience requirements for road captains, the Raleigh HOG chapter has encouraged its members to complete training courses such as the American Motorcycle Association's (AMA) Experienced Rider Course (ERC) and Accident Scene Management Incorporated's Accident Scene Management course (see below). Raleigh HOG road captains meet 2-4 times per year to review safety issues and discuss how to assist for major ride events. As a Road Captain, I consistently study safety issues, especially by reading Ken Condon's monthly articles in Motorcycle Consumer News, practicing responses for various scenarios, and taking classes. Many Road Captains also serve as mentors for new riders and new HOG members, making them feel welcome in the riding community and promoting good riding practices and answering questions.

Accident Scene Management

The Accident Scene Management (ASM) class is provided for a modest fee to riders who want to be prepared to assist other riders--and possibly cage drivers--in the event we are first on the scene of an accident. Provided by Accident Scene Management Inc., these classes are meant to teach basic skills such as directing traffic away from people, properly moving critically injured people who are under immediate threat of further harm (such as fire) and assisting professional responders once they arrive on the scene. The class I took, offered through my local HOG chapter, was an intense all-day event. It

was very hands on with a lot crawling-around-on-the-gound work, practicing such tasks as how to perform resuscitation and moving an injured person, conscious and unconscious. It's exhausting when you do it right! Here's the tip our instructors repeated most often: pack sterile vinyl or latex gloves and use them if you assist anyone who has been injured. At minimum, the victims and the professional emergency response people will see that you have some training and understanding of what is needed; in the worst case scenario, you can avoid infecting yourself or the victim.

HOG Safe Rider Skills

The Harley Owners Group promotes fun first and foremost; but nothing kills the fun like death, dismemberment, broken bones, or even a case of simple road rash. While riding is inherently dangerous, the dangers we face as riders can be mitigated by wearing the proper protection when we ride and learning safe riding skills. I have many years and more than 166,000 miles of riding experience. However, I still take AMA's Experienced Rider Course (ERC) over and over, once of every few years. It's money well invested. I always learn something new, reacquaint myself with my limitations, and meet interesting people. Mr. Ray Price, owner of Ray Price Harley Davidson in Raleigh, promotes riding safety by supporting training classes--even beyond HD's Rider's Edge program--and the purchase of safe riding gear, especially by the Raleigh HOG chapter's Road Captains.

NC Community College System/North Carolina Motorcycle Safety

In North Carolina, qualified instructors work through the North Carolina Community College System to offer all-day Saturday riding classes, including the Basic Rider Course. This is the right class to take if you have little or no riding experience. If you successfully complete this course, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will issue you a motorcycle endorsement on your NC license. My wife took this course back in 2001 and said it was essential for her; without it, she would never have operated a motorcycle. When there is sufficient demand, the Experienced Rider Course is also offered through the NC Community College system.
Have fun but ride safely, and as always, keep the shiny side up!

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