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The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has some excellent tips for safe and successful riding in groups, and we’ve added our own thoughts, too. Several of them apply before your group sets out.
Gas up ahead of time. Be sure your gear and your motorcycle are ready for a day on the road. Bring raingear if the forecast includes rain; bring water and snacks if you need them. Don’t forget your cellphone!
Keep your group small enough. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends five to seven people. Each group should have a designated lead rider and a designated sweep (last) rider. Of course, many group rides are much, much bigger. So, think about forming sub-groups, each with their own lead and sweep, so that you can look out for one another, share stops, and so on.
Hold a group meeting before you set out. Name your lead and sweep riders and talk about the rules of the road. The lead and sweep should be experienced group riders. The lead rider should know about the skill levels of all the other riders so he or she can take that into account in setting the speed and length of the ride. Demonstrate any hand signals your group will use. At least one rider should have a first aid kit.
Once you’re on the road, you can communicate using hand signals. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has illustrated instructions for fourteen of them. Yes, fourteen different hand signals. Or, you can use communication devices like the ones we discuss in this week’s blog.
Stay safe out there!