A group of women motorcyclists ride in formation on the Harley Women's Ride during the Milwaukee Rally motorcycle event.

Many motorcyclists ride in groups at some point during the year. Whether it be with your club at an event, a social gathering or for any other reason, you’ll always want to do what you can to stay safe on a group ride. You or other riders in your group may be new to group riding and might feel unsure about the rules and expectations of the group ride. Knowing how to ride with others will help keep everyone safe.  

Let’s take a look at some tips for staying safe on a group motorcycle ride. 

Communication is key. Modern technology has made communication with other riders much easier with Bluetooth headsets and other devices. It will help for the riders in your group to have communication devices so that you can easily talk to others about your route, questions, concerns or safety issues Always make a plan for your ride before you leave so that everyone is on the same page. The leader of the group ride should always signal early when turning and the rest of the group should signal and follow. Using hand signals will also help keep every rider on the same page. Being aware is key, as well. Make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings. Always look ahead, always watch your mirrors and always notice other drivers.  

The proper riding formation will help you stay safe. Riding in a staggered formation, where each motorcyclist spaces themselves out in their lane, will help everyone have a clear view of hazards coming up. The staggered formation also allows riders space to the side in case they must quickly maneuver out of the way. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that there is a two-second gap between you and the rider in front of you. The gap should become longer at faster speeds. Keep an experienced rider in the very front with the least experienced rider in the second position. The person in the last position should be experienced as well, knowing the route along with carrying tools and a first aid kit in case of any problems. It will help for the last rider in the group to be trained in first aid and what to do if an accident occurs.  

When changing lanes, the leader will be watching his or her mirrors for a large enough gap for all riders to change lanes at once. Riders may have to make individual lane changes if it’s not possible for the whole group to move at once. Once arriving in your new lane, make sure you’re in the same position as you were in the other lane. Keep your speed maintained as you change lanes and be aware of the riders around you. If you need to pass another vehicle, move to the left part of your lane and make sure everything is clear ahead. Don’t blindly follow other bikes that may be passing and make sure that the rider ahead of you is safe and back in his or her right position before you pass. 

Discuss your plans for how to stay together on your ride. Some rides will have police escorts if they’re for events or large enough, which will help everyone stay together. But in most cases, your group will be on its own. Depending on your group, you may want to stay together at all times with the leader pulling over if anyone becomes separated. Some groups may use the buddy system to make sure that a partner you choose is always with you. The rider in the very back can make sure that everyone is in front of them and still in the group.  

Group rides are a very fun experience as long as everyone is prepared and aware of their surroundings. Make sure you know your group’s plans and procedures before you take off and you’ll have a blast! If you’re new to group riding, talk to an experienced group rider to answer any questions you may have. The more prepared you are, the safer you will be.  

Hupy and Abraham has been working to keep motorcycle riders safe for decades. Our goal is to spread messages of motorcycle safety and awareness to riders and other drivers on the road. The firm’s “Watch for Motorcycles” message promotes motorcycle awareness with TV ads, billboards, stickers and at events. Hupy and Abraham is proud to have sponsored many group rides and events for motorcyclists over our 50-year history.  

The firm promotes motorcycle safety, but sometimes the unthinkable happens and you may be in a motorcycle accident. If so, Hupy and Abraham is here for you. We’ve helped thousands of riders and received over $1 billion for our clients. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Hupy and Abraham right away at 800-800-5678 or visit HUPY.COM so we can start fighting for you.  

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.