Posted on May 09, 2019

A Motorcyclist’s Guide to Group Riding

The vast majority of riders tend to go it alone, but group rides are a staple among many enthusiasts and a great celebration of the community. Regardless of how experienced a single rider may be, they still might not be ready for the different approach required for group riding and it’s important to prepare yourself accordingly before setting off.

First and foremost, riders are advised to ride with people they know. Knowing and trusting the riding habits and skills of the people you will be traveling with are key to keeping everyone safe. Riding with mostly strangers isn’t very enjoyable and can also pose considerable safety risks. No one wants to have to deal with learning people’s habits, while also trying to ride safely and have fun.

Next, whenever you and your group meet up, be ready to ride. Make sure your gas tank is full and you have all the supplies you need to make the ride. Adequate safety gear, a first-aid kit, a toolkit and communications devices are all necessities for a group ride without exception.

Before your group even sets out, it is recommended that the group hold a pre-ride meeting to discuss factors of the ride such as group size, spacing, hand signals, assigning a group leader and sweep (last) rider, planning the route, stops and other key details. Generally, try to keep your group to around seven riders at most and use a stagger formation. Make sure everyone is spaced out adequately, so the last rider and group leader are lined up and can keep their eyes on each other.

While staggering is an advised formation, it’s important to know when to switch your group configuration to single file. When dealing with narrow bridges, construction zones, passing slow vehicles or on- and off-ramps, approaching single file is the safest way to go. When dealing with passing, the leader should gauge that all the riders in the group have enough space to pass in front of the other vehicle before making the first move. Once through these areas, groups are encouraged to return to a staggered formation.

Finally, it is essential that riders know their stopping points and take breaks regularly to rest and prepare for the next leg of the ride. When taking a rest, rest as a group, don’t break up the ride because a few others want to keep riding. While you may want to keep going, it’s important to take a rest and communicate with the rest of the group before continuing.

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