Tips for Riding a Motorcycle Safely in a Group

Riding a motorcycle with other people is not the same as riding alone. When there are more motorcycles on the road, there are greater safety concerns. On the other hand, motorcycle group riding can be a lot of fun if you take the necessary precautions.

Following are some practical tips for a safe and enjoyable group ride:

  • Be prepared by learning a dozen or so essential hand signals which help you communicate during the ride. These also help to keep the group safer, ensure that everyone stays together, and helps keep the group stress-free while on the road.
  • Hold a riders’ meeting and arrive on time with a full fuel tank. Discuss the route, rest, and fuel stops, as well as hand signals. Assign a sweep rider and a lead rider. Both should be experienced riders who understand how to ride in a group. Before the trip, the leader should know each rider’s ability level and watch them during the journey.
  • Keep the group to a manageable number of riders, ideally five to seven. If necessary, divide the group into smaller sub-groups with a lead and sweep rider, separated by seconds.
  • Be well-prepared for your ride. Each group should have at least one rider with a first-aid kit and a full tool kit, and all riders should carry a cell phone so that the group is prepared for any situation.
  • Ride in a formation on the highway where the leader is on the left side of the lane, the next rider on the right side, behind the first one, the third on the left side behind the second one, and so on. Additionally, try not to change positions. Ensure each rider has adequate time and space to maneuver and respond to risks due to the staggered riding formation, which provides an appropriate spacing cushion between motorcycles. On a curved route, in bad visibility or on poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or in other scenarios where more space cushion or maneuvering room is necessary, a single-file formation with a minimum 2-second following distance is preferred.
  • Avoid side-by-side formations because they limit the spacing cushion.
  • Use your rearview mirrors to check for oncoming bikers regularly. Slow down if you observe a rider falling behind so they can catch up. If everyone in the group follows this process, the group should keep a reasonably consistent speed without feeling compelled to ride too fast to catch up. If you pass other vehicles, start with the leader, and pass the vehicle one at a time.
  • Don’t be worried if you become separated from the group. Your group should have a pre-determined strategy for regrouping. To catch up, don’t break the law or ride above your abilities.
  • If you have a mechanical or medical problem, use your cell phone to call for help as needed.
  • If a rider exits during the ride, the group’s remaining members should criss-cross into the next vacant position to re-form the staggered formation. Although moving up the column right behind the missing rider may appear to be more efficient, we do not recommend it because passing another rider within a lane can be dangerous.

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