As it gets closer to winter and snow season, you may want to head out for your last ride before storing your bike. Join your friends for a few more group runs. Although getting out on the blacktop is second nature, do you really know the safety measures for riding in a group?
Riding in a large group is riskier than riding on your own. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a guide for group riding. If you and your friends have read this, then you know the best way to ride safely. But accidents still happen.
Group rules for the road
1. Have a meeting
Pick somewhere to meet and get everyone together for a strategy session. The Road Captain – the person in charge of the run – will talk about things like safety, the route you all plan to take and rest stops. This is a question and answer time. If something concerns you, speak up.
2. Choose the riding order
Pick the lead and sweep riders. Choose those who are the most experienced. The lead rider is on point and sets the pace. The sweep rider brings up the rear. He or she will keep track of any drivers coming up behind — those drivers who might make the possibly dangerous decision of passing a group of motorcycles. Less experienced riders should take up positions behind the lead, while the experienced riders will fall in next.
3. Ride in formation
Use a staggered formation when riding. This allows a cushion between motorcycles so there is time to react and maneuver. Do not ride side by side since this formation will limit space and maneuverability.
4. Come prepared
Arrive with a full tank of gas and a cellphone. Someone in the group should have the first-aid kit and bike tools.
Accidents are inevitable, but do not let that keep you from having a good time. Ride with those who are safety conscious like you. Now it is time to head out onto the blacktop for some good, old-fashioned wind therapy.