Group Riding

It is imperative that you know how to ride in a group properly for everyone’s safety.  You should know correct formation, hand signals, how to make traffic flow decisions, etc.  Please take ten minutes to watch this video, hopefully for only a refresher, before choosing to ride with members of NEODESMO.  We, and your fellow Club Members, appreciate your commitment to safe riding!

Motorcycling is primarily a solo activity, but for many, riding as a group — whether with friends on a
Sunday morning ride or with an organized motorcycle rally — is the epitome of the motorcycling
experience. Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride:

Arrive prepared. Arrive on time with a full gas tank.

Hold a riders’ meeting. Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals (see
diagrams on next page). Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider. Both should be experienced riders
who are well-versed in group riding procedures. The leader should assess everyone’s riding skills
and the group’s riding style.

Keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group
into smaller sub-groups, each with a lead and sweep rider.

Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool
kit, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter.

Ride in formation. The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space
cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to
react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one
second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A
single-file formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road
surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or
maneuvering room is needed.

Avoid side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to
swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. You don’t want handlebars to get

Periodically check the riders following in your rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling
behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group
should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.

If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned
procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.

For mechanical or medical problems, use a cell phone to call for assistance as the situation

MSF’s Guide to Group Riding: Hand Signals 

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