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Ten Tips to Safe Group Motorcycle Riding

Group Motorcycle Riding

Like surfing or rock climbing, riding a motorcycle is an experience that can’t be simulated or replicated. It leads thousands out to the canyons and winding roads each weekend for a small dose of throttle therapy and good times. For many of us, we subscribe to the philosophy that, “no road is too long if you have good company.” Making group motorcycle riding increasingly popular.

Having a motorcycle naturally draws you to the camaraderie of group motorcycle riding. However, if you’re going to be riding with friends it’s important to know the etiquette and rules of group motorcycle riding, this will help you do your part to keep the group safe.

Here’s what to consider before heading out on a group ride:

Group motorcycle riding can be dangerous

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), group rides become dangerous for the following reasons:

  • Riding side by side, or covering too much of the roadway
  • Mixing skill level of riders
  • Riders falling behind the group

So, according to there are a few things to consider. First, wait until you have at least 1,000 miles of experience before you begin group riding. It’s important that you have enough skill to properly respond to your environment. It’s also recommended that you have a plan, or group guidelines beforehand, this will help reduced unpredictability while group riding.

With that out of the way, let’s get to some group motorcycle riding tips.

Tips for motorcycle group Rides

Here are some safety tips to consider when riding in a group:

1. Simply be prepared

Of course, all riders should have a full take of gas before the ride begins, so fuel up. Also, you should have your cell phone with you and fully charged, or a way to charge your phone on the motorcycle. While every rider should have an emergency toolkit, if you’re going to group ride, make sure at least one rider has tools and is carrying a first-aid kit. It’s these and other necessities that may prove useful in an emergency.

2. Know the group’s hand signals

Hand signals help keep the group organized and in formation. Knowing hand signals is key those leading the group, as these signals cue the rest of the group to things ahead. So, make sure your group has signals for a fuel stop or road hazard, and everyone should know signals for slowing down, speeding up or passing other vehicles.

3. A pre-ride meeting is a good idea

It’s always a good idea to quickly gather to discuss things like your ride strategy, stops and ride length. This is a good way to get everyone on the same page and clarify any confusion. This is also an opportunity to discuss the hand signals your group should know. A quick meeting is also a good time to assess if any riders are less experienced so those with more experience can help mentor and monitor them during the ride.

4. Select a group lead and sweep

Rider Magazine recommends that each group set the more experience riders and the lead and sweep. For those new to riding in groups, the lead is positioned at the head of the group, and the sweep rides at the back of the group. Rider Magazine also recommends positioning the least experienced rider in the second position of the group.

5. Keep your group’s size manageable

Rider Magazine says your group size should be no more than seven riders. If it exceeds that, consider creating subgroups. These groups should also have their own lead and sweep.

6. Stagger the riding formation

When group riding you need to maintain space enough to provide for swerving and breaking, if needed. But you also want to keep your formation tight.

The best way to achieve a tight formation that provides ample room for emergency maneuvers is a staggered formation. In a staggered formation the leader rides on the left of the lane with the second rider positioned to the right at least a motorcycle length behind. This pattern is repeated so that all riders are staggered appropriately.

Some road conditions don’t support a staggered formation. For instance, curvy roads can create poor visibility. When the conditions don’t support a staggered formation, you should revert back to a single-file formation and increase your follow distance to account for any changes in visibility.

7. Stay aware of group riders while on the road

While on a group motorcycle ride it is always a good practice to look out for each other. Each rider should periodically check their rear view mirrors to make sure that no rider is left behind. Also, each member of the group should make a point to watch the lead bike, so hand signals aren’t missed.

8. Plan for a separated rider

Riders do get separated from the group; it just happens. You should designate a place where riders know the group will reconvene so separated riders don’t fee pressured to speed in order to catch up with the group. Additionally, if the group is staying aware, it can easily slow down to allow separated riders to catch up.

9. Have a plan for a rider to leave the group

In your pre-ride meeting you will frequently learn that one or more of the group plans to the leave the ride early. This is good information to know so member aren’t constantly looking out for riders believed to have fallen behind after that member leaves the formation. Also, make sure you have a plan to reform your staggered formation upon the rider’s departure.

10. Make sure to take enough breaks

You never want to feel fatigued when riding. So, it’s a good idea to take frequent breaks to rest and eat. This can help minimize the risks inherent when riders become wary.

Here are a few group motorcycle ride don’ts:

It’s important to know the tips for safe group riding, but it may be equally important to know what to avoid. Maybe even a bit more important. 😊

  • Don’t ride side-by-side in the same lane. This is because you may not have enough room if you need to swerve to avoid a car or oncoming hazard.
  • Don’t show off. Avoid competitions with your group mates, tailgating or passing other riders.
  • Don’t overlook safety gear. Consider wearing a helmet, protective clothing and face or eye protection.

Riding is an All-American way to spend an afternoon. To some it can be a near spiritual experience, for others it’s pure excitement and adrenaline. What ever you reason to ride, you will likely find times where you’re riding in a group. Remembering these sensible tips as you get ready for the next group adventure can help you and your group stay safe.

Another good tip for motorcycle riders is to consider your motorcycle insurance frequently. If you need a review, make sure to contact an insurance agent and get a quote today.

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