Not too long ago I represented a man who was injured while riding in a group. The group had just left the local motorcycle dealer and as happens the bikes started off at varying speeds, spread apart and then contracted or bunched up unexpectedly. The bike behind my client clipped his rear wheel, caused him to crash and he was then struck by another motorcycle while he lay in the roadway. Group riding can be fun but this client was seriously injured.

With riding season upon us I thought this topic was worthy of some discussion. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation website has some tips for group riding that are worth a few minutes of your time. If you are planning a group ride I recommend you refresh your memory here.

Be prepared for the ride and remember to give yourself extra time before the start time of your ride and have a full tank of gas.

Before you set out together have a group meeting. Discuss the route you intend to take, where you will stop to rest or get fuel, and know the hand signals that will be used.

Assign a lead rider and the tail or sweep rider. Both should be among your more experienced riders who know and understand group riding well. The leader should be aware of everyone’s riding skill level and the general riding style of the group.

Keep the group to a manageable number. The ideal number seems to be five to seven.

Be prepared and be sure someone has a cell phone, a first-aid kit and tool kit.

Ride in formation and allow proper spacing between bikes so each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards such as potholes, dead animals, and other bikes who may make a sudden unexpected maneuver. The lead rider rides in the left one third of the lane, the next rider rides in the right one third about 1 second behind, and the rest of the bikes follow in the same pattern and spacing. On some roads the group may want to ride in single file. For example a narrow or winding or hilly road or when the visibility is poor. Obviously you want to give yourselves extra spacing in those situations.

Always avoid side by side riding if at all possible so you can make a sudden swerve to avoid an unexpected hazard.

Keep your eyes on the mirrors to make sure your group stays together.

Know where the next rest stop area is so if you do get separated you know where you will eventually catch up with everyone.

Always review the hand signals to be used so you know what is or will be happening in front of you.

Don’t ever feel you need to ride out of your comfort zone to keep up. It’s always best to drive within your abilities. You can always meet up later on down the road.

If you or your loved one has been injured, contact Stark & Stark today.