Motorcycling can be very enjoyable with groups. There are many charity runs that happen throughout the year. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has some great tips for riding in a group. One thing I want to touch on is that there might be people with very little experience or who are very rusty on any given group ride. We all hear about people that get hurt on a group ride and are injured or killed. Please I beg of you if you are rusty or it has been a few years take a Experienced Rider Class to refresh yourself on your rider skills.
Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride:
1) Arrive prepared. Arrive on time with a full gas tank.
2) Hold a riders’ meeting. Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals. Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider. Both should be experienced riders who are well-versed in group riding procedures. The leader should assess everyone’s riding skills and the group’s riding style. Keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into smaller sub-groups, each with a lead and sweep rider.
3) Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter.
4) Ride in formation. The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A single-file formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or
maneuvering room is needed.
5) Avoid side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. You don’t want handlebars to get entangled.
6) 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 fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.
7) 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.
8) For mechanical or medical problems, use a cell phone to call for assistance as the situation warrants.