Group Basics

Riding with a group of motorcyclists is one of the great thrills of the two-wheeled lifestyle, but it can also hold hidden dangers. If you decide to join a group of motorcyclists, you’ll want to keep the following points in mind as you amble down the road:

Plan Ahead
Devise a plan for on-the-road communication; agreeing on arm signals to represent low fuel, road hazards, upcoming turns, etc. will make it easier to know who needs what when wind noise prevents verbal exchanges. Trade cell phone numbers in case the group separates. Also, plan your route in advance; for tips, check out our How to Plan a Motorcycle Road Trip article.

Ride in a Staggered Formation when Possible
When road width permits, ride on alternating sides of the lane. Doing so will enhance the visibility ahead, and help create a safe space around each bike. Single file riding might be necessary on tight roads, but try to maintain as much space around each bike as possible.

Look Ahead
Don’t target fixate on the bike ahead of you; if that rider happens to go off the road or hit an obstacle, it’s far too easy to simply follow in their path if you’re staring at them. Maintaining a 2-second cushion from the bike ahead will give you more reaction time in case something goes wrong.

Pass One Bike at a Time
While it’s important to maintain a cohesive group when you’re riding together, it’s also a good idea not to pass slow moving vehicles as a group; pass one by one, and the

Be Predictable
It’s easiest (and safest) to follow riders who are smooth, logical, and predictable in their technique. Don’t pull any surprise maneuvers, and the group will more likely arrive safely at their destination.

Ride Your Own Ride
Group riding can bring out our competitive streaks, and it’s important not to get trapped in the game of trying to be the fastest rider. Public roads are not the place to practice high-performance riding techniques; to get your speed on, try exploring your bikes limits at a track day.

hand-signalsHand Signals
Here is a basic, but universal guide to Hand Signals for Riding in a Group. Learn these, and enjoy riding with others.

Hein Jonker

Founder of the Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa Editor in Chief of Bike Talk South Africa Chief Instructor of Bike Talk Motorcycle Rider Academy Motorcycle Safety & Skills Expert for Arrive Alive South Africa

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