Motorcycle Safety Related Information
QUICK TIPS: MSF’s Guide to Group 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 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.
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 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
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 warrants.