Riding your motorbike with a group of friends or joining an arranged group ride can be a date on the calendar that everyone looks forward to. Just you, your bike, your group, and the open road.
Whilst group rides can be a lot of fun, they also have the potential to be dangerous. With this in mind, we wanted to go through potential dangers to consider and things to do before you head out, to make your fun group ride a safe one:
Riding with people you don’t know
Meeting up with other like minded souls you met online can be great fun. You can compare bikes, share riding tips, stories amongst other bike related chat. The trouble with riding with people you don’t know is, whilst everyone has a similar interest, the riding skills of the group will likely differ. There could be experienced riders, people new to riding, fast riders, slow riders, all sorts of skills and abilities.
This has the potential to be dangerous because as the group sets off, experienced riders might shoot off in front leaving newbies to play catch up. Potentially putting themselves into more dangerous situations, riding faster than they can handle or getting lost.
One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to set ground rules. For example, set a speed limit, a no-overtaking rule and have an experienced rider at the front – this person should be able to ride at a safe speed and check their mirrors regularly. The same goes for the back, this person can make sure no one falls behind.
Distance between riders
When riding in a group, people might be inclined to ride closer together than if they were out on the road on their own. If you ride too close to the rider in front you risk watching them rather than the road ahead. This can be particularly dangerous if the rider in front notices a turn at the last second, or is approaching a blind bend. In any case, if they make a mistake the chances of a collision are likely.
To avoid distance related collisions, maintain a safe distance between you and the rider in front, at least a 2-3 second cushion between each other.
When there’s a lot of riders out on a ride, you might need to make the odd stop every now and then. Someone might have an issue with their bike, you might need to talk to the rest of the group about the best route to take, it could be anything.
And this could be on a busy road, so making sure you stop safely so other vehicles pass is key to remaining safe. If you do need to stop, it sounds obvious but make sure you put your bikes on the shoulder so the following traffic can get by without hitting anybody.
Riding in the correct formation
The formation you ride in and knowing when to change formation to suit the road and the conditions is also important for safety out on the roads.
When on long straights, a staggered formation works best. The person in front rides on the right hand side, the one behind on the left, meaning that everyone can see ahead. In areas where visibility decreases (e.g. corners), it makes sense to ride in single file as you can’t see what’s coming up ahead.
Whilst checking mirrors is important when you’re out on any trip, checking them regularly on group rides allows you to keep track of other riders in the group. If you’re missing someone you can stop safely and wait to ensure the missing person doesn’t have an issue or isn’t sweating to keep up with the rest of the group.
Meeting up with your group and heading out for a long trip can be the most enjoyable part of riding your motorbike. But keeping safe whilst you’re doing so has to be put before anything else. Before you head out on a group ride, set some ground rules, decide what positions everyone will take and make sure everyone has a good idea of the route.
Whilst you don’t usually need a special type of motorbike insurance cover to ride in a group in the UK. If you’re riding abroad, it might be worth checking your insurance policy to check you’re covered. And if you do have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch to speak with a member of our expert team.