A motorcycle group ride is one of the unique road experiences a rider can only have on their motorcycle. When riding in a group, it is much less likely a car will turn and not see one of the motorcycles. Instead, they will likely see the entire group as one line and let them pass. Unfortunately, riding in a group does require some preparation and structure to follow throughout the ride. Fortunately, we have created a guide on how to ride successfully as a group!
BEFORE THE RIDE
Make sure your ride is ready and safe to take a long trip. This means having a full tank of gas and passing our motorcycle safety inspection guide. Next, meet the other riders and establish some ground rules and what route you will be taking. You should also discuss where the rest stops and fuel stops will be. It is best to meet the day before the group ride or sooner, but at the least meet before the group leaves together. During the group meeting, decide who is the lead rider and who will be at the end. Both the lead and the end should have experience in group rides to ensure everyone’s safety. Typically, the lead rider should be the most experienced and know the other rider’s experience to monitor them during the ride. The leader and end rider should also be the most trusted to judge the safety of the routes the group will be taking. Before riding, there should be a discussion about how to ride with others to avoid any motorcycle collisions. Riders should avoid quickly braking to avoid causing a chain reaction behind them. When turning, riders should try to safely maintain the same speed to avoid any riders behind you abruptly braking.
DURING THE RIDE
The lead rider sets the pace for the rest of the group. It is vital that the lead rider sets a safe pace within the speed limit and is easy for the other riders to safely follow. There should also be a plan in place for how the lead rider will communicate with the other riders if there need to be any unplanned turns, stops, or route changes. The end rider should also be trusted to ride safely and experienced in group rides. The end rider’s top priority is to watch the riders in front of them, and if anything happens to the other riders, help them or get them help. If a rider is missing or gets lost, the group should immediately stop to remove the possibility of moving further away from the lost rider. Groups can also plan ahead to meet in a specific area if a group member gets lost so that the group does not need to stop and search for the lost rider. After deciding who the lead rider and end rider are, the group should discuss how to follow one another to avoid endangering one another. Each rider should follow the two-second behind rule. It is important to maintain enough space so that if the rider in front of you has to swerve or stop you have enough time to safely stop or avoid crashing into them. It is also important to avoid falling too far behind so that other vehicles do not enter and split the group. This window is why it is important to be familiar with every rider and trust they will not endanger you or themselves with their riding. When riding in a group, each person should ride in a staggered formation. The staggered formation is where each rider follows on alternating sides of the same lane, similar to where each side of tires would be on a car, left side and right side. This does not mean the riders should be side by side, but instead alternating left and right, with two seconds of space directly in front of each rider. This formation gives each rider the space to react while also giving them more visibility. When turning, each rider should get behind one another and be aware of where the other riders are to avoid any collisions.
If the group is not able to maintain the speed limit, the group should not ride in the staggered formation and instead ride in a single file line to allow traffic to pass through. No rider should attempt to pass another while staying in the same lane. Riding in a group is one of the best experiences unique to riding a motorcycle, so it is important to maintain the safety of yourself and the group so that future groups can enjoy group rides as much as we do now.
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