For many people, motorcycling is a solitary activity. But for some, riding as a group – whether a Sunday morning ride with friends or an organized motorcycle rally – is an important part of their motorcycling experience. However, group riding carries its own set of challenges that solo riders don’t face. Even seasoned motorcyclists with tons of group riding experience may need a refresher course every now and then.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has 9 tips to ensure a fun and safe group ride.
- Arrive prepared. Be sure to arrive on time, and with a full tank of gas.
- Have a riders’ meeting. Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals. Assign a lead and tail rider. Both should be experienced riders who are familiar with group riding procedures.
- Keep the group to a manageable size. Five to seven riders is ideal. If your group is larger, break up into smaller sub-groups, each with its own lead and tail rider.
- Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should have a cell phone, first-aid kit and a full tool kit.
- Ride in formation. A staggered riding formation allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards.
- Avoid side-by-side formations. Riding side-by-side reduces the space cushion. If you needed to suddenly swerve to avoid a hazard, you won’t have room.
- Periodically check the riders following in your rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.
- If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.
- For mechanical or medical problems, use a cell phone to call for assistance. If the situation is serious enough that you need assistance, don’t hesitate to call for help.
We hope you have a safe and fun riding season, whether you are riding solo or as part of a group. We hope these tips will help make your group riding experiences ones you will live to remember.