Guidelines and Precautions for Group Motorcycle Rides
While motorcycles, dirt bikes and other power-craft riding trips are incredibly entertaining and fun, they also must be approached with some basic care and precautions. These are high-powered machines, after all, and it’s important to respect this and take some basic safety measures to allow everyone riding to enjoy themselves.
At Tracked Out Adventures, safety is our top priority during all our motorcycle tours and adventures. Let’s go over several general themes for group motorcycle or UTV rides that should always be taken to ensure everyone has both a safe and enjoyable time out on the trail.
Preparation and Pre-Ride Meeting
For starters, all riders on any group ride should show up prepared. This means making sure your gas tank is full, your basic maintenance is done and your machine is ready to go for the trip ahead. No one wants to wait around while you handle some details that could have been covered the night before.
Once everyone arrives, it’s good to hold a general rider’s meeting. If there’s a group leader, this person will dictate basics like the riding route, hand signals to be used, any planned rest stops and other important details. It’s generally best to assign a specific lead and tail rider, both experienced riders if possible. If there are a variety of riding skills present in the group, the leader should assess this and split up the groupings appropriately.
Group Size and Sub-Groups
In most cases, it’s best to keep riding groups to between five and seven riders, depending on the trail type and crowd levels of course. If your group is much larger than this, it’s common to break it up into a few sub-groups, each with their own lead and sweep rider. At least one rider in each sub-group should have a cell phone, first aid kit and tool kit in case of any issues or emergencies during the ride.
It’s important to follow a proper riding formation to keep space between each bike. The lead rider generally rides in the left third of a given lane or space, while the next rider stays at least one second behind – and on the opposite side of the lane, allowing for plenty of braking time if needed. The rest of the group should follow the same pattern.
If the road is particularly curvy, or if you’re on a dirt bike trail that demands it, single-file is okay. In these cases, though, we recommend leaving two full seconds of space between yourself and the rider in front of you. Avoid side-by-side formations, as they generally reduce space and ability to swerve to avoid obstacles.
Waiting Up and Group Separation
If you’re among the leaders of the group, regularly check your rear-view to ensure all riders are keeping up. If someone falls behind, slow down and allow them to catch up.
If you happen to become separated from your group, do not panic. The group should have already set up a procedure for this kind of event, including a place where the group will re-convene and wait for everyone to arrive. Never break the law or attempt anything dangerous to catch back up.
For more on observing proper safety during group rides, or to learn about any of our motorcycle or snowmobile tours, speak to the staff at Tracked Out Adventures today.