A road captain is a club officer often found in Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) chapters across the country. The Harley Owners Group is the official riding club of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and some chapters employ road captains. Additionally, clubs other than H.O.G. chapters may employ road captains, and each may have different certification requirements.
To become a road captain in a H.O.G. chapter, the applicant must meet the requirements established by that chapter. For example, Charleston H.O.G. Chapter 4774, of Charleston, South Carolina, requires that all road captains are licensed drivers with a motorcycle endorsement who are currently members in good standing with the National H.O.G. organization. Applicants must submit the request in writing along with proof of a clean driving record for the last three years. They may not have any convictions for driving under the influence or any reckless driving charges.
Apart from the basic membership and safe driver history requirements, road captains must also meet more specific requirements to qualify for the position. For example, the Northwest Arkansas H.O.G. Chapter 2075 requires riders to be certified through a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course. Road captains should also have CPR, first aid and accident scene management certification, though these certifications are not necessary.
Road captains are responsible for various duties in any H.O.G. chapter. For example, Charleston H.O.G. Chapter 4774 reports that road captains are discretionary officers who serve at the pleasure of the chapter director and sponsoring dealer. The road captain is responsible for leading club members on sponsored rides. Road captains may lead the ride, act to set the pace, monitor the middle of the group or follow at the end of the group to monitor for stragglers or riders experiencing difficulties.
Groups other than H.O.G. chapters also utilize road captains. For example, the Back Woods Riding Club, a North Florida motorcycle club, uses road captains to plan, organize and conduct club rides. Road captains must, at a minimum, maintain a current driver's and motorcycle driver's license and have at least the minimum required insurance. Road captains must also be accepted by the club officers as a ride captain and successfully complete a MSF rider course.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.