The sun is out and riding season is here. One of the many appeals of owning a motorcycle is having the option to ride with a group. Group rides are a fun way to socialize in the motorcycle community, but there are three things to consider before hitting the road with your fellow riders:

Plan Ahead
It’s always a good idea to meet with your group ahead of time to discuss stops for food, fuel and places to rest. During the meet up, you should always communicate with your fellow riders to ensure everyone is trained, has a motorcycle endorsement and to determine the speed and duration of your trip together. Be sure to coordinate who will have repair and first-aid kits if not everyone plans on carrying one. 

Assess Skill Level
In most cases, not everyone in your group will be at the same skill level. It is important to discuss this during your group meet up so you can address any potential issues before you hit the road. While riding, always keep an eye on your rearview mirrors; if the person behind you is falling back, gradually adjust your speed to allow them to catch up. Don’t try to match anyone’s speed if you aren’t comfortable doing so; ride at your comfort level, back off from other riders and don’t show off. If you’ve planned the ride well, you will know your next meeting place and can regroup there if there are any issues.

Get in Formation
To ensure a safe, successful group ride, there should always be an experienced rider in front to lead the group. It is also just as important to have an experienced rider in the back of the group, called a tail or sweep rider. The lead rider’s job is to navigate and look for hazards ahead of the group. The lead rider should signal ahead of time, take slower turns and try their best to not make any sudden stops. The tail rider’s job is to keep an eye on the group and lend a hand to anyone that has engine trouble or can’t keep up. The tail rider should always have a fully charged cell phone in case of an emergency. The least experienced riders should be in the front of the group behind the lead, followed by the seasoned riders.

You should never ride side-by-side as to allow each rider room to swerve and react to hazards on the road. Your formation should resemble a zigzag pattern with the lead rider on the left side of the lane and the next rider on the right side, one second behind, etc. It is important to keep a safe following distance while still maintaining a tight formation for other vehicles to pass. One of the most common causes of motorcycle collisions while in a group ride is from not giving those around you enough space. Keep in mind though, that when passing and in areas with low visibility or tight turns, it is better to break up the formation and go in a single file line.

It’s a Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.