Following on from last month's Group Ride Safety Tips series, this is Part 2 of 3 - Formation, Signals and Etiquette. This month will be looking closer at riding formations, hand signals and rider etiquette during a group ride, in an aim to increase group riding safety and knowledge on the road. Group riding is a lot of fun, so to make sure you and your riding buddies are safe and aware on the road, here are some helpful safety guidelines and tips.
A Staggered Riding Formation
This is common knowledge at this point, yet when you’re riding in a group, the best and safest formation you can be in is a staggered riding position. See diagram below for greater clarity. There's a rather simple reason for employing this technique. It allows each rider a clear view on what is ahead, as well as space to your side (an escape route) incase of any hazards on the road.
The gap between riders should be an appropriate amount for the rider to safely react and come to a stop - without rear ending the next rider in front. We recommend spacing yourself at least 2 seconds apart from the rider directly in front of you. The more breathing room, the more time you have to react.
Importance Of Hand Signals
Hand signals are a great tool to use whilst on a group ride, especially in a larger group that doesn’t have intercoms. It's important to understand what each motorcycle hand sign represents, as these can indicate relevant information in quick and effective successions. A responsible and experienced group leader would give a quick rundown of the hand signals they will be using before the ride, so if in doubt, ask your riding leader. See diagram below for a refresher course on the most important hand signals.
Group Riding Etiquette
Rider etiquette... it's pretty simple. Be courteous, think of others on the road and ensure everyone is feeling comfortable. It's almost guaranteed to happen, but riders will naturally get a little excited and want to break formation and ride a little faster than what the leader is pacing. If this is a frequent occurrence, consider breaking off into different speed groups, to keep everybody as safe and controlled as possible. Obviously this is only a suggestion, and wouldn’t be sustainable with every group ride. Mind you, if you are being that “speed racer” in the group, be mindful of your actions and consider taming your throttle hand.
Loud pipes make cars more aware of your presence on the road, but in group rides, the pipes can get a little deafening, especially with riders close behind you. If you are a rider that has loud pipes, take some initiative and position yourself towards the back.
Lastly, be mindful of how hard you brake and accelerate. Most group rides aren't intended to be a race, so keep it easy on your throttle and control your braking. Any sudden stops may cause discomfort to other riders on the road, and can lead to more serious accidents.
Everybody wants to get home in one piece, so hopefully these recommendations do help make your next group ride safer and more enjoyable. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with all the latest events and group rides from your favourite Harley Davidson® dealership. Look forward to seeing you at the next one.
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