Group Motorcycle Riding

Sunbeam motorcycle Owners Rally

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Group Motorcycle Riding

Like many other things in life, motorcycling is great on its own, but it can be even more fun if you do it with friends!! Whether you want to meet up with some other motorcycling mates for a Sunday morning jaunt, or fancy joining in on one of those rallies which are organized from time to time, there are a few things you need to know about riding your motorcycle in a group.

  • Be Prepared – arrive at the start of the ride on time, and with a full tank of gas – you don’t want to be the one causing a nuisance do you?
  • Chat Over Essentials – before you set off anywhere you should all know where you’re going, the route you’ll be taking, where you might stop for a rest or refuelling, and which hand signals you’ll be using (not the ones you use to other drivers who cut you up). You should have a group leader, and a sweep rider at the back, both of whom should have lots of experience, and any other less experienced riders should travel just behind the leader.
  • Group Size – groups should really be kept to a manageable size of maybe 5 – 7 motorcycles. If there are more of you than that you should split into a few smaller groups. It makes it much easier to keep together and is generally safer both for the group, and for other road users.
  • Be Prepared – it might not go with your new “biker image”, but you really do need to be prepared for emergencies – cell phone, first aid kit, tool kit – you know the sort of thing, at least one person in each group should be prepared.
  • Formation Riding – it’s important for your own safety that you ride in the correct formation, that way you can keep together without being in each others cushion of space. You need at least 2 seconds of space between yourself and the motorcycle in front, so the best idea is to stagger the formation of the group, ie if the lead rider is positioned towards the left of the lane, the following rider should be positioned 1 second behind, towards the right of the lane, with the one behind him 1 second behind on the left of the lane (ie 2 seconds behind the other motorcycle in that position). Makes sense don’t you think? Side by side formations can cause real trouble if anyone has to swerve or stop suddenly – there’s just no room to avoid each other.
  • Check In Your Mirror – keep checking that all other riders of your group are still there and ok, if anyone is falling behind then the whole group can slow down so that they can catch up a bit.
  • Separation – if you get separated from your mates don’t panic, don’t drive too quickly to try to catch up, after all, you know where you’re going don’t you, and your group should realise soon enough and slow down a bit for you to catch them. Chill and enjoy the ride!

Group Motorcycle Riding Hand Signals

In order for a group to know what’s going on, they need to have a way to signal to each other so that everybody understands what they mean. Everyone needs to know and understand these signals. Here are a few examples of group riding hand signals.

  • Stop – extend your arm straight down, with the palm facing towards the rear
  • Slow down – palm facing down, arm straight out and moving back and forth towards the ground (a bit like flapping your wing)
  • Speed up – opposite of slowing down, arm out, palm facing upwards and arm moving up and down
  • Come past/Take over the lead –with palm facing forward and index finger pointing straight out, swing in an arc from back to front to wave the others past
  • Single file – stick your arm up with index finger pointing to the sky
  • Double file – stick your arm up with two fingers pointing to the sky – steady!
  • Hazard in the road – if it’s on the left, point to it with your left hand, if it’s on the right, point to it with your right foot
  • High beam – tap the top of your helmet with the palm of your hand
  • Pull Off – position your arm as if you’re making a right turn, swinging your forearm towards your shoulder
  • Turn signal – to signal to put your turn signal on, stick your arm out and open and close your hand, extending your fingers and thumb
  • Fuel – point to your fuel tank with your arm out to the side (so that they can see from behind)
  • Refreshment stop – put your thumb towards your mouth
  • Comfort stop – clench your fist and move your extended arm up and down in a short motion


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