Motorcycle Group Riding: Fun But Dangerous
It can be a great experience to ride with a group. But it can also be risky, especially when the group is made up of riders of different skill levels, you are covering more road than you usually would on your own, and dealing with general chaos. Following best safety practices can help you minimize the risks so you can enjoy the fun and camaraderie of a group ride.
Hold a Pre-Ride Meeting
Get all riders in your group together before the ride to talk about the route and strategy. Agree on how long you will ride, where you will stop, and what to do if you get lost. Each member of the group should have directions and a visual map of the route.
Decide on Riding Positions
The lead rider sets the pace for the group. He or she should know the route and alert the group to what lies ahead, such as a rainstorm or a traffic issue. The newest riders should be behind the leader with the more experienced riding behind them. Be sure that everyone knows exactly where they should be within the formation. Use hand signals to indicate lane changes and left or right turns, and to warn other riders of debris or dangerous conditions in the road.
Restrict the Number of Riders
For safety, the group should have a maximum of five to seven riders. Large groups can bunch up on the road and become an obstacle, even to themselves. Five is a better number for a less experienced group. Too many riders mean limited flexibility to move on the road and navigate traffic and road debris.
Prepare for the Ride
Make sure someone in the group who knows first aid, and preferably CPR, carries a first-aid kit that includes roadside safety reflectors. Someone else should carry a tool kit. Every rider in the group should have a cell phone and arrive with a full tank of gas.
Never Break Formation
In a group ride, there is no place for renegades or showoffs. Avoid passing, tailgating, or engaging in competition with other riders in the group.
Ride in a Staggered Formation
On straight sections of the road, the leader should take a position in the left third of the lane. The second rider should far enough behind the leader to provide ample stopping time (one second to space is recommended) and in the right third of the lane. The third rider should be positioned, once again, one second behind the second rider in the left third of the lane, and with the pattern continuing for the rest of the group.
Pass Vehicles Safely
If you need to pass a vehicle traveling in the lane in front of you, be sure to go one motorcycle at a time. Do not rush around the vehicle, as that can potentially lead you to crash into your fellow bikers. After the leader, each successive rider will take a position in the left third of the lane before beginning the maneuver. Riders behind will need to adjust their lane positions to maintain the correct distance and proper formation.
Rest When Needed
Be sure to take frequent breaks. The longer you’re on the road, the more likely you are to struggle with focusing and keeping your energy up. Always be aware of who your newest rider is, and what their needs may be. You don’t want them to push themselves. They may not be able to ride as far, long, or fast as the rest of the group.
Know the Rules of Road
In Arizona, drivers may not deprive motorcyclists of full use of a lane. It is against the law to ride more than two abreast in traffic. Although it is now legal in a neighboring state, lane splitting is prohibited in Arizona.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident through someone else’s negligence, call Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 267-1280. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers serve as tough counsel when seeking compensation for injured riders.
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