Riding with your motorcycle group can be an invigorating experience. From being on the open roads with the fresh air to sharing it with your friends, motorcycle gangs are a fun right of passage for any bike owner.
But beware, there are a few rules you will need to follow in order to be most respectful. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about riding your motorcycle in a group down below!
1. Make a Solid Plan
If you’ve seen motorcycle groups around town before, you might’ve seen them motioning to each other with next directions (or shouting). While that might work for slower city driving and in-between stops, the best way to plan for your ride is to communicate it beforehand.
Clear instructions, such as where to exit, are important to discuss beforehand in order to avoid confusion on the road.
When driving fast on the freeway or in congested areas, it’s not possible to communicate effectively and could increase your chance of danger. After all, keeping together as a group is one of the most fun aspects of riding!
2. Ride in Proper Formation
Standard car driving rules won’t work best when it comes to motorcycle riding. Rather than riding in a single line, it’s recommended that motorcyclists ride in an alternating or staggered pattern.
The leader (more on that below) will lead the pack, slightly off-center. Each succeeding motorcycle will continue alternating to the left and right so that all can see the road ahead of them.
Another important factor in proper formation is to space out approximately one to two seconds behind the rider in front of them.
3. Limit the Riders
While most people have seen a large motorcycle group on the road that spans lanes and miles, the reality is that it is not the safest approach.
It’s recommended that motorcyclists ride in a group with only 5-10 members. This is because the more riders, the more chaos. It’s easier for a rider to fall behind if there are dozens in a group.
Other hazards include cars being antsy about merging or changing lanes and cutting off members of the group or worse, resulting in a crash.
Allowing your group to ride in a comfortable number means keeping easier tabs, better safety, and easier navigation on the roads. After all, motorcyclists are often the most vulnerable ones on the road.
4. Designate a Leader and Tail Rider
Picking a leader for your group ride doesn’t need to be a complicated process. Usually, the leader will default to the longest rider or most experienced individual.
More often than not, this will be the oldest member of the group, and it strictly comes down to knowledge. The role of the leader is to safely guide riders through any safety issues or other problems while riding.
Similarly, the tail rider is the last rider in the line and is just as important. Tail riders are necessary to help keep the group together, observe all riders, and help to regroup in case of separation.
This rider should be experienced as well, as they will often need to make quick decisions, which some riders may have never experienced before.
Each of these experienced riders should be able to guide the rest of the group in the case of an accident. Understanding proper steps and alerting the rest of the group to the situation is vital, so hyper-vigilance is necessary.
Though, it’s important for all riders to understand what to do in an accident. More information on that process can be found here.
5. Passing Vehicles
When it comes to passing, only one motorcycle should be maneuvering at a time. The process should begin with the leader and then phase out from there until the last rider has successfully merged and passed.
Phasing the merges will help to keep from overwhelming any other drivers on the road and can be a safer way of integrating with the rest of the drivers on the road. Additionally, be sure to settle into that same alternating pattern to avoid clumping up one lane or losing visibility of the road ahead.
If one or more riders are separated from the overall pack in trying to pass, one motorcycle can enter the left lane and slow down and fall back into line with the others. Plenty of space is necessary for the process and can help to keep a safe buffer around drivers.
Checking with your local group is the best way to ensure you’re on the same page as you’re on the same page in regard to order and safety.
While there are universal hand signs and general knowledge, what works for one group may not be the best for another. Speak with your local group for the best etiquette tips for your locality.