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Safety Tips for Group Motorcycle Riding in Wisconsin

One thing that makes motorcycle riding a unique pleasure is that it can be a social activity. In addition to the sheer fun, the presence of more people can mean extra help is at hand if something unexpected happens. Riding together can be a great bonding experience, whether as an afternoon trip with friends or a massive rally with dozens of other riders. Recently, it’s even become popular to use online social networking to organize group rides, with friends and strangers alike enjoying the ride.

As Appleton bike crash lawyers, we certainly endorse group riding as a great way to experience Wisconsin’s roads. As always, we think that safety concerns should be at the front of each rider’s mind. To avoid becoming a victim of a Wisconsin traffic accident, you should use a little advance planning before your biking expedition.


Organizing the ride

It’s very important that the group meets before the ride and sets up some organizational rules. At this time, the group members can choose a lead rider and a sweep rider (sometimes called a trail or drag rider) from among the most experienced riders. They should assign any novice motorcyclists to ride near the head of the formation, just behind the lead rider. They should make sure everyone knows the riding route and planned stops for fuel and rest breaks. Finally, they should review hand signals that will be used to communicate on the road.


Tips for safety during the ride

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and other organizations have developed guidelines for courteous and careful group riding. Be familiar with these tips and you will minimize your risk of getting in a motorcycle collision in Appleton or Green Bay:
  • Gas up before you arrive at the group meeting site.
  • Make sure the group is prepared for emergencies. At least one rider should have a first aid kit; one a tire repair kit; and one a complete set of tools. Make sure each rider has the cell phone numbers of all the other riders.
  • Ride in staggered formation, never side-by-side. If the road becomes difficult, wet, or curved, narrow to a single-file formation until the hazard has been passed. When riding single-file, the distance between bikes should expand to 3-5 seconds.
  • Periodically check on the riders behind you to make sure they are not lagging behind. If necessary, slow down a little so that the group can catch up.
  • Every time you stop for fuel, food, or a bathroom break, plan when and where the next stop will be—or remind each other where the next planned stop is scheduled.
  • If someone isn’t comfortable with the pace of the ride, he should allow the other riders to pass him and take a new position just before the sweep rider. At the next scheduled stop, he should discuss the problem with the lead and sweep riders, who will either try to negotiate a compromise speed that everyone can enjoy or break the group into two smaller groups.
  • If a rider has to pull out of formation to the side of the road, the sweep rider should also pull over to offer assistance. The rest of the group will reorganize its staggered formation, and the last rider will act as new sweep rider until the other riders rejoin the group.
  • Hand signals are great for indicating the route along the way, but don’t forget to use your blinker signals for the benefit of other vehicles on the road. Using both sets of signals regularly communicates the intentions of the lead rider back through the whole group.
  • Courtesy toward other vehicles is hugely important. Make sure you let cars, trucks, and other motorcycles pass through your formation when they need to. Share the road and enjoy the ride.

Even with the best advance plans for motorcycle riding in Wisconsin, accidents still happen. The Hupy and Abraham law firm has an Appleton bike crash lawyer ready to listen if you have been a victim of a Wisconsin traffic accident. Call us at 920-882-8382 (local) or (800) 800-5678 (toll-free), and we will send you a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims, and a riders’ Rights Card. Whether you need help negotiating with the insurance company or considering a lawsuit to compensate you for your injuries, we are here to give you a free, confidential consultation.
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