You and your motorcycle

Group riding

If you want to ride with others, you must do it in a way that does not endanger anyone or interfere with the flow of traffic.

The tips below will help you ride safely in a group.

Keep the group small

It's difficult for other vehicles to pass a long line of motorcycles. Also, a large group tends to be separated easily by traffic signals or other vehicles. Those who are left behind may do unsafe things in an effort to catch up.

If your group is larger than four or five riders, divide it into two or more smaller groups.

Keep the group together

There are several ways to keep riders from being separated from the group.

Plan ahead

If you are the leader, look ahead for changes in road conditions. Give signals early, so the word gets back in plenty of time.

Start lane changes early enough to allow everyone to complete the change.

Put beginners up front

Place inexperienced riders behind the leader, where they can be watched by more experienced riders.

Follow those behind

Let the tail-ender set the pace.

Use your mirror to keep an eye on the person behind you. If he or she falls behind, slow down. If everyone does this, the group will stay with the tail-ender.

Know the route

Make sure everybody knows the route, so that if someone is separated they won't have to hurry in fear of taking a wrong turn.

Keep your distance

It is important to keep close ranks and a safe distance between riders. A close group takes up less space on the road, is easier to see and is less likely to be separated by traffic signals. However, it must be done properly.

Don't pair up

It's dangerous to ride directly beside another motorcycle - it means you will have nowhere to go if you have to avoid another vehicle or something on the road.

If you must say something to another rider, wait until you have both stopped.

Riding in staggered formation

A staggered formation is the best way to keep closed ranks but still keep a safe distance between each motorcyclist.

To do this, the leader rides to the right-hand side of the lane while the second rider stays a little behind and rides to the left-hand side of the lane. A third rider would take the right-hand position, a normal two-second distance between the first rider. The fourth rider would be a normal two-second distance behind the second rider, in the left-hand side of the lane.

This formation allows the group to close ranks without reducing following distance and without having riders ride beside one another.

Staggered formation can be safely used on an open road. However, single file should be used on curves and when turning corners.

Riding in staggered formation

Riding in staggered formation

Passing in staggered formation

When riders in staggered formation want to pass another vehicle, they should do it one at a time.

When it is safe, the lead rider should pull out and pass. When the leader returns to the lane, he or she should take the right-hand lane position and keep going to open a gap for the next rider.

As soon as the first rider is safely by, the second rider should move to the right-hand position and watch for a safe chance to pass.

After passing, this rider should return to the left lane position and open up a gap for the next rider.

Passing when riding in a group Passing when riding in a group

Passing when riding in a group

< previous | next >

Last updated: 5 October 2009