One of the pleasures of riding a motorcycle is hitting the road with a group of friends. Whether you’re all heading to a specific destination or participating in a charity ride, these outings provide fun and companionship. However, group rides also present some challenges, especially in traffic. We offer the following tips so that your next group ride doesn’t end in a motorcycle accident with injuries.
Tip 1: Plan your formation ahead of time
Consider the roads you plan to travel and the likely traffic you’ll have to negotiate, then decide who will be the lead and who will bring up the rear. These should be motorcycle riders with significant experience, especially with group rides. Put any novice riders up toward the front, so the lead can keep an eye on them. The rider serving as the “tail” should set the pace for the entire group.
Tip 2: Travel in a manageable group
Try to limit your group to four or five riders in a cluster, so that other vehicles can more easily negotiate their way around you. You’ll also be less likely to lose track of riders held up by traffic lights or otherwise delayed. If you are initially part of a larger gathering, simply divide into smaller groups before heading out.
Tip 3: Keep your motorcycle group together
This can be easier said than done when you’re already on the road, so plan ahead. As a group, review the route(s) you plan to take and plot the stops you’ll make along the way (for longer rides). Agree on hand signals everyone will use and recognize to indicate danger or a change in formation.
Tip 4: Follow the leader and stay in formation
The group leader is responsible for identifying and signaling changes ahead so that everyone following has time to react. The lead should also indicate movements like lane changes early for maximum safety.
The group should maintain a safe distance between one another so that everyone has a cushion to react if the unexpected occurs, such as debris falling off a truck. This can be tricky, because you have to balance keeping space between each other and remaining grouped together. The best way to accomplish this is a staggered formation, in which the leader rides along the left side of the lane, the second motorcyclist travels one second behind along the right side, the third rides in the left side two seconds behind the first rider, and so on. Be prepared to shift out of staggered formation into single file when going around curves, turning, entering and leaving a highway or freeway.
Tip 5: Pass other vehicles one at a time
Passing cars, trucks, and other larger vehicles always poses extra risk to motorcycle riders. From your staggered formation, the safest method is as follows:
- Leader determines it is safe to pass and does so first, immediately returning to the left portion of the newly entered lane while maintaining passing speed
- Second rider shifts into the left side of the lane and waits for their opportunity to pass safely. Once their pass is completed, they move into the right portion of the newly entered lane and maintain passing speed
- Each subsequent rider follows the same pattern, allowing everyone to leave room for the rider behind them to join the reformed staggered formation after passing
- Once everyone has passed safely, the group should resume traveling at normal speed
Involved in a motorcycle accident and need a Los Angeles lawyer?
Motorcyclists should be able to enjoy rides alone or in groups safely. Unfortunately, accidents happen, often with disastrous injuries and losses. If you are the victim of a motorcycle crash, contact Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney Scott J. Corwin at 866-477-1011 for guidance.