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

These tips 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 left behind may do unsafe things to catch up.

If your group is larger than 4 or 5 riders, divide it into 2 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’re 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 keep an eye on them. They’ll also be less likely to make a mistake trying to keep up or copy other riders.

Follow those behind

Let the tail-ender set the pace.

Use your mirror to keep an eye on the person behind you. If they fall behind, slow down. If everyone does this, the group will stay together.

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’s important to keep close ranks but still keep 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’ll 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’ve 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 rider.

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 takes the right-hand position, 2 seconds behind the first rider. The fourth rider is 2 seconds 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 each other.

You can safely use staggered formation on an open road. However, you should use single file on curves and when turning corners.

An orange motorcycle in front to the right of the lane, then a purple motorcycle behind and to the left of the lane. Behind them, a red motorcycle to the right of the lane and behind them a blue motorcycle to the left of the lane.

Passing in staggered formation

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

When it’s safe, the lead rider should pull out and pass. When the leader returns to the lane, they 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 past, 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.

A red motorcycle is in front of a red car with 2 seconds between them. A  black arrow shows the red motorcycle's path to pass the red car.

A red motorcycle and blue motorcycle have passed a red car. A black arrow shows the bath the blue motorcycle took to pass and come in behind and to the left of the red motorcycle.