Group Riding: Motorcycle

 

Motorcycle riding gives you an exhilarating feeling of being in the open air while feeling the wind over your body. While riding alone is sometimes the goal, one of the best experiences you can have on a motorcycle is to ride in a group of close friends or family. Together you can enjoy the scenery from the open road and arrive safely to your destination with a few suggested guidelines.

Conduct a Pre-Ride Meeting
Preparation, before you leave your starting point, will allow the group to understand how to get to your final destination or to any stopping point along the way. Getting there safely is the primary goal, so deciding who leads the group is a key factor in the safety of the group. The leader should know the route the group will follow, and that leader should be able to explain it to all group members, show it on a map, and/ or describe directions for the route.

It’s always advisable to provide each member with directions and/or a visual map of the route in case anyone is separated for any reason. Another point to be considerate is if there are any tolls along the route. Either the leader should carry the toll amount for the whole group to reduce stops at the booth, or each member should be prepared to quickly pay the toll and get back on the road.

Decide on the Leader
The leader of the riding group should be one of the most experienced, if not the most, experienced rider in the group. They will be the first person to encounter other traffic going in the same direction or oncoming. They should know how to respond to other drivers on the road and be prepared to guide the other riding members safely through any situation the group comes across on their journey. The tail rider, or the last in the group, also needs to be more experienced as they could be separated by traffic conditions, and they can help any other members safely catch up and navigate traffic safely without losing other members of the group.

Ride Prepared
As mentioned, safety is a primary concern for the journey. Someone in the group should carry a first-aid kit and a tool kit. Preference is that the same rider does not carry both in case that particular rider is separated from the group for any reason. The person carrying the first-aid kit should know first-aid (and preferably CPR also) in order to treat any basic medical condition that could occur. Beyond those two items, every rider should carry a cell phone in case something comes up during the ride.

Use Hand Signals
All members of the group should know the basic hand signals used while group riding. Communicating through signal during a ride (when voice discussion is not possible) will allow each member to stay in sync to what is happening around them. If you need a refresher on what these signals are, refer here: Motorcycle Hand Signals. Note that these signals should be a quick discussion point and possible a show and tell during the pre-ride meeting. Ensure all riders know the signals and their meanings.
Group Riding Etiquette
As mentioned, the skill level of each rider needs to be a consideration within the group and each rider should feel comfortable with the speed that the group will ride during the travel. Some riders will want to ride faster than others are comfortable with. If that is the case, consider splitting into different speed groups to keep everyone comfortable and safe. Feeling pressured and guilt by not wanting to ride at a speed faster than you’re comfortable with is a heavy burden to carry. Choose to ride with those with the same approximate speed in mind as you have.
Loud exhausts are great to keep others aware of your presence in traffic, but deafening your riding partners over the course of a long ride isn’t a nice thing to do. If you have open pipes or a race muffler, consider riding towards or at the back of the group.

Motorcycling doesn’t just contain two-wheeled motorcycles. Trikes and sidecars are still a popular option, and due to their width, they should always ride at the back of the group. They are wide enough to take up two-thirds of the lane and don’t handle the same nimbleness as a two-wheeled motorcycle. That differential in handling can create a problem in a sudden change of speed or adjustment needed within the lane.


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