Tips for Motorcycle Group Riding
Do fighter pilots and motorcyclists have anything in common? Yes they do as a matter of fact. Both enjoy the exhilaration and feeling of freedom from piloting/riding powerful and nimble machines. Both face similar problems such as the dangers of target fixation. Both also fly/ride in formations when traveling as a group.
While motorcycle riding in formation isn’t quite the exacting task of the plane formation, the consequences of a mistake are similar in that both may result in an injury or worse. If your group riding experience is limited, the following motorcycle tips for riding in a group will be helpful.
When riding in a group for the first time, the newness of the experience may distract you into doing things that you normally wouldn’t do such as fixating on the rider in front of you instead of looking where you want to go, especially through turns. You will need to maintain an awareness of your positioning within the group without fixating.
Ride In A Formation Appropriate For The Conditions
Riding formations should be reasonably compact so that they aren’t split apart by other vehicles on the road. The safest way to do this is using a staggered formation which is tight yet allows a safe space cushion between the riders. The leader rides on the left side of the lane while the second rides on the right side of the lane. The third rides on the left side and so forth. Maintain a one second cushion between yourself and the next bike in front (and to your left or right). This gives you a two second cushion between yourself and the bike two positions in front who is on the same side of the lane as you.
Change from a staggered formation to single file when the lane becomes narrow or on road sections that have low visibility, tight cornering, or hazardous surface conditions. Use single file when entering highways and at toll booths.
Pass Other Vehicles One At A Time
When passing a car or truck, do so one at a time and then return to your position within the formation. Attempting to pass with multiple bikes at the same time is dangerous because safe timing is extremely difficult and multiple bikes cannot react nimbly to unforeseen road situations.
Inexperienced Riders Should Ride Behind The Leader
The lead rider and the sweep rider (tail rider) should be experienced with group situations. The leader’s pace should take into account the skill levels of the other riders while the sweep rider keeps an eye on the group as a whole. The best position for inexperienced riders is behind the lead rider.
For motorcycle tips, news, and information, come see us at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver, CO, Jan 30-31, 2015.