Riding a motorcycle gives an exhilarating feeling as you feel the wind hitting all over your body. However, while riding alone is fine, the best experience you can have is when you’re riding with your close friends. There’s no doubt that motorcycle group riding can create the most memorable memories for you to treasure for a lifetime.
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Motorcycle Group Riding Safety Tips
Make sure to follow these safety tips before going on your group riding adventure:
Conduct a Meeting Before Your Trip
Being prepared will allow your group to understand how you can reach your final destination without any problem. Getting there safely should be your goal, so assigning a leader is a key factor for the group’s safety.
The assigned leader must know the route and be able to explain it to all the members of the group. They should be able to show it on the map and clearly describe the directions for the route. Furthermore, consider giving each member instructions on how to reach the destination in case they get lost.
You’ll also need to find out if there are any toll fees along the way. The first option is to give your leader the sum for the whole group to reduce stops at the booth. The second is to give each member the exact amount to pay so they can quickly get back on the road.
How to choose your group’s leader:
Ideally, your leader should be one of the most (if not the most) experienced riders of your team. Since they’ll be the first to encounter approaching traffic, they should know how to respond to other drivers and safely guide the other members.
Meanwhile, the tail rider (or the last one in the group,) should also be as experienced as the leader. This is because if they or any member gets separated, they know how to catch up and navigate traffic safely.
Limit the Number of Riders
If possible, limit the members of your group to seven riders. The general rule is the larger the number, the more experienced each rider should be. Never bring large groups as you can easily bunch up on the road and be an obstacle among yourselves.
Having more riders doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safer. It may even be more dangerous since you’ll have limited flexibility to move on the road and navigate through traffic!
However, if your group has more than seven riders, break the whole group into sub-groups for more safety. Don’t forget to assign a leader and a tail rider as usual.
Safety must always be your top priority in any situation. Therefore, someone in your group should carry a first-aid and tool kit in case of an emergency. Make sure that the same rider doesn’t carry both kits if ever that rider gets separated from the group.
The rider in charge of the first-aid kit should know first-aid to treat basic medical conditions that may happen. It would be great if that particular rider knew CPR as well. Moreover, see to it that all riders carry a cell phone in case something occurs during the ride.
Motorcycle Group Riding Guidelines
Now that you’re ready to hit the road, observe these safety protocols to ensure a smooth motorcycle group ride:
Ride in a Staggered Formation
Your group can encounter both straight and curvy sections of the road during the ride. For the straight section, leaders must stay in the left third of the lane to let them see around traffic. This will allow them to monitor oncoming traffic or any debris in the road ahead.
Meanwhile, the second rider will ride approximately one second behind the leader and in the right third of the lane. The third rider will ride one second behind the second rider and be in the left third of the lane. The succeeding riders will continue this pattern until all bikers are staggered accordingly.
For the curvy sections, each member must be in a single-file line approximately two seconds apart. Adjust the spacing and lane position accordingly so that each member can adjust to traffic and any changing conditions.
Never ride side-by-side because this doesn’t allow riders to move carefully within the lane to avoid traffic or other debris. There will also be too many opportunities for the riders to contact one another.
In cases with low visibility and other constraints, decide which formation will work best for the safety of each rider.
Overtake With Precaution
If you feel the need to pass a vehicle, do so safely and go one motorcycle at a time. The leader will go first, but all riders should first transfer to the left third of the lane before overtaking. This allows them to keep a proper following distance in the right pattern in case the passing opportunity dries up.
But, what if only a part of the group was able to pass? In this case, the remaining riders must adjust their position to the correct riding pattern until the next passing opportunity.
When overtaking, riders should keep their speed up and let a gap form behind them and the vehicle they passed. This gap will help the next rider pass safely and rejoin the lane at a safe distance.
What to Do When You Get Separated
Getting separated from your group may happen during heavy traffic with other motorists or in places with traffic lights. Don’t panic: simply recall the route everyone should follow that you discussed in your pre-journey meeting.
Stick to that same route you discussed. If there’s an experienced rider in your sub-group, they should lead your group until you reunite with the main group. The main sub-group should take the same route agreed upon and slow down or stop until all groups can rejoin.
Consider the Skill Level of Each Rider
Every rider in a group will have different riding experiences. Your goal is to keep each rider feel safe, so placing the least experienced rider/s in the middle is recommended. This will give them a visual guide from the riders in front to indicate oncoming items to take note of.
Keep the more experienced riders behind them so they can keep aggressive drivers from disturbing them. The lead and tail riders should adjust to traffic the best and protect the other members from traffic and debris. Novice riders, on the other hand, should also know when and where to take breaks.
Use Hand Signals While Motorcycle Group Riding
Every member of the group must know the basic hand signals. This lets them communicate with each other so they stay in sync with what’s happening around them. Here’s a brief refresher on the most common motorcycle hand signals:
- Left turn – hand and arm expanding left with your palm facing down.
- Right turn – arm out bent at 90 degrees with your fist clenched.
- Stop – extend your arm straight down with your palm facing back.
- Speed up – extend your arm straight out with your palm facing up and then swing upward.
- Slow down – extend your arm straight out with your palm facing down and then swing down to your side.
- Follow me – extend your arm straight up from shoulder with your palm forward.
- You lead/come – extend your arm upward at 45 degrees with your palm forward, pointing with your index finger. Swing in an arc from back to front.
- Hazard in roadway – point with your left hand on the left and point with your right foot on the right.
- Single file – extend your arm and index finger straight up.
- Double file – extend your arm and index and middle fingers straight up.
- Comfort stop – extend your forearm, clench fist, and move in short up and down motions.
- Refreshment stop – close your fingers with thumb to mouth.
- Turn signal on – open and close your hand with fingers and thumb extended.
- Pull off – position your arm as for right turn and swing your forearm toward the shoulder.
- Cops ahead – tap on top of your helmet with open palm down.
- Fuel – arm out to the side pointing to tank with a finger extended.
Motorcycle Group Riding Etiquette
- Again, consider the skill levels of each member and ensure they’re comfortable with the speed of the group while riding. However, if some wish to ride faster than others, you may divide them into different speed groups to accommodate everyone. Each should ride with those at the same speed so they don’t have to ride faster than they’re comfortable with.
- You can use loud exhausts to keep other drivers aware of your presence. But, avoid using them throughout your ride to prevent deafening your riding partners. If you have open pipes or a race muffler, consider going toward or at the back of the line.
- Motorcycling doesn’t only involve two-wheeled bikes—sidecars and trikes are still popular options. However, because of their width, you should always place them at the back of the group. They’re so wide that they can easily occupy two-thirds of the lane and aren’t as fast as two-wheeled motorcycles. This difference can be a problem when there’s a sudden change in speed or adjustments within the lane.
Motorcycle group riding can bring an added level of thrill to the activity you’ve always loved. Just remember to keep all these basics in mind and you’ll enjoy motorcycling with your friends a lot longer.
Happy shopping and stay safe on the road!