Riding in a motorcycle group can be a lot of fun. You get to share the experience of an open road adventure. But there are also dangers that motorcyclists can face. Consider the following group motorcycle riding safety tips compiled from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the American Motorcyclist Foundation.
Group Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips: Pre-Trip
Perform a bike safety check.
Make sure your bikes are in good condition. Check all fluids and parts. Everyone should also top off their fuel tanks.
Plan ahead of time.
Everyone should know the route, riding order, when to stop and rest breaks. Make sure passengers are also informed.
Divide the groups.
Smaller groups are safer (between five to seven riders). If it’s larger, break into sub-groups. Discuss ahead of time the importance of staying with the group for group motorcycle riding safety. Even if a mistake occurs (such as taking the wrong exit), everyone should remain together until it can be corrected safely.
Hand signals are the best way to communicate with one another in a group. The following are common ones used in a motorcycle group:
- Stop for fuel — place arm out to side and point to tank with finger extended;
- Stop for food or drink — keep fingers closed and point to mouth;
- Comfort stop — extend forearm, keep fist clenched and make a short up and down motion;
- Hazard in road — point at it with right foot or left hand;
- Speed up — keep arm extended straight out with palm facing up;
- Slow down — keep arm extended straight out with palm facing down.
Group Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips: Formation
Never ride side by side. A staggered formation is safest. The lead rider should be in the left third of lane. The next rider should be behind in the right third of the lane, with at least a second between them. The same pattern continues for the rest of the riders.
In some circumstances, it’s safer to ride single file. This includes when taking a curvy road, during reduced visibility (such as fog), poor road conditions, or when entering or leaving a highway.
Certain spots work best for specific types of riders. For instance, experienced riders should lead, be on the left and in the back. Riders with passengers should stay on the right. Newer riders should be in the middle of the group. The lead rider should be in front, and bikes with sidecars should ride in the rear or front.
Group Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips: Other Drivers, Helmets & Accidents
Don’t block other vehicles.
Despite riding in a group, it’s important to show courtesy to other vehicles. For instance, motorists intending to pass or make a turn can break the formation and reestablish it once the vehicle exits the lane.
Wear a helmet.
If riding out of state, learn that state’s laws when it comes to head and eye protection because laws may vary from state to state. Despite state laws, it’s best to wear them at all times.
According to Texas motorcycle law, anyone younger than 21 must wear a helmet. Riders who are older than 21 have the option to choose whether to wear a helmet or not if they hold medical insurance that covers motorcycle accident injuries. If the rider has proof of completing a rider training program, helmets are optional.
In the event of an accident.
Should an accident occur, pull over with the group. Don’t endanger yourself by rushing to the scene or panicking. If someone has suffered injuries, don’t move the person and don’t remove his or her helmet. Call 911 if someone needs immediate medical attention. And of course, contact the police.
The law office of Julie Johnson represents injured motorcycle riders. Our group motorcycle riding safety tips represent only a portion of the knowledge we have in terms of Dallas motorcycle law. If you have been in an accident because of the negligence of another driver or a faulty motorcycle part, fill out our contact form and we will get back to you.