Riding with a group of motorcyclists requires unique precautions
October 12, 2015
While some New Jersey motorcyclists like the solitude of riding alone, others enjoy riding with a group. It may seem that being part of a group of bikers would make you safer on the road. It certainly makes for greater visibility by other motorists. However, riding as part of a group presents its own unique dangers. Some important precautions can offset those dangers and help your group rides stay enjoyable and safe for everyone.
Before starting off on your trip, some planning is in order. It’s a good idea to determine your formation — who will be in the lead, who will be the “tail-end Charlie” bringing up the rear and who will be the “outriders.” It’s best if the most experienced biker takes the lead position.
You should also agree on a speed. If you can’t, it’s safer to split up into multiple groups. Whatever the plan, make sure that everyone knows, understands and agrees to it.
A “checkerboard” or staggered formation is recommended for roads that are wide enough. This helps riders have a safe space between them. Unless all of the riders are experienced, it’s best to go to a single file formation around bends. On narrow or twisting roads, riders should always be in single file.
Remember that conditions can change in a split second. Therefore, don’t just automatically do what the rider in front of you does without assessing the situation for yourself and ensuring that it’s safe to do so.
Just as when you’re riding among vehicles, it’s key to see and be seen by those in your group. Give clear hand signals so that they know what you’re about to do. Likewise, make sure that you regularly use your rear view mirrors so that you can see the riders behind you.
It may be easy to let your guard down while riding with your buddies and be less vigilant than when you are when riding alone amidst the traffic on New Jersey roads. However, doing so can lead to serious injuries and worse. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the actions of a fellow cyclist, you can and should determine your legal options for seeking the compensation you may need to heal and get back to your life.
Source: MICHELIN Motorcycle – North America, “Riding safely in a group,” accessed Oct. 12, 2015