When Group Riding there is an entirely different set of rules and requirements for keeping the entire group safe so everyone can have a fun, enjoyable time. Group Riding can be a lot of fun as long as you follow some basic guidelines.
Some tips that I have encountered over the years when Group Riding:
- Before your ride, determine the skill level of each rider placing the more inexperienced riders in the middle of the pack with the most experienced leading and sweeping or tail gunning at the back.
- Before your ride, ask about the Groups Riding preferences and which to take into consideration. Do you want frequent stops for photo opportunities, washroom breaks, coffee breaks or do they prefer to ride for a longer period of time before stopping or resting.
- Before your ride, decide how you will communicate. If the lead and sweep motorcycles have audio communications they will probably use that for themselves, however they need to establish the proper signals to be using and to USE THEM. It's not necessarily knowing the proper signal but mainly to use them.
- Before your ride, determine that the Lead and Sweep riders are very experienced as there is a lot of skill required to keep the group safe while managing the road hazards efficiently.
- Before you ride, decide how many will ride in a pack? I would probably suggest no more than 8 bikes in a pack with Lead and Sweep riders required for all packs. The larger the size of group the harder it is to manage safely.
- Before you ride, discuss the rules of the road with everyone riding in the group including passengers. Discussing how to handle amber lights and what to do if the group gets split up.
- Explain to the group the suggested speed you will be doing as a group. For the most part if your riding 10 MPH over the speed limit it's safe to assume your group won't be bothered by the local authorities. Keep in mind - - - > speed kills and speeding in a group is even worse as reaction times are cut down and groups tend to right tighter. Always keep a minimum of2 second space with the biker directly ahead of your path.
- Group Riding is dangerous so make sure to explain the accordion effect while riding a motorcycle to the riders. The Lead rider should always accelerate slower than normal until the entire group is up to speed, then gradually the group will be at the speed limit. If the lead rider speeds up from a stop too fast then the 2nd, 3rd and so on have to speed up that much more and if someone happens to brake you have the tail riders coming in too fast and a pileup may happen.
- Preparation - - - > enough can't be said about this. Please ensure that all riders and passengers are clear as to your route and any planned stops. Unplanned stops only add panic and confusion to a group so be clear before you leave.
- Try to include all riders goals and requests while planning your trip. Yes this can be difficult but you want to make it enjoyable for everyone involved.
Bonus Tip - Bring your smile with you.
For some more thoughts on riding your bike in a group, here's a link to an article regarding Group Riding by Jerry "Motorman" Palladino and the Ride Like A Pro Team. And should you ever need MotoRescue Emergency Roadside Assistance then this program is for you. Covering Canada and the Continental U.S.A. and it's priced right. I really could have used that when I hit a bear on my motorcycle.