ABATE of Michigan Region 20

Riding In A Group
Most of us will ride in a group at times.
Make it fun for all involved -
Know the basics




  • Know the group meeting INFORMATION    Get out a Map or look it up on the Internet.  Be sure well ahead of the ride of the time and place - and be on time or early. 
  • Arrive with a full tank of gas   Do not expect the group to make a quick stop so you can fill up. 
  • LOCATE THE LEAD/TAIL RIDERS   If this is an organized ride it is the Organizer's responsibility to delegate a Lead and Tail Rider.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with who they are. The Organizer/Leader will explain the important information as it pertains to the ride, such as how to handle a roadside emergency and so on. 
  • If you are leading or tailing the ride, be sure you know the route, have copies of the route, a cell phone, a first-aid kit, anything else you feel may be needed. 
  • If you plan to drop out of the group at some point on the ride, notify the Lead and Tail Riders prior to departure.  This will eliminate the chance of misunderstanding.  Also, if you plan to drop out, pick a position close to the rear for ease in exiting. 
  • Your responsibilitY prior to the ride  includes being familiar with the limits of your own riding skills.  If you are a new rider and have some reservations talk to the group ride leader and pick a place to position yourself where you'll feel most comfortable. 
  • Know the stopping power of your motorcycle    Use both brakes to stop.  Remember, approximately 70 percent of the stopping power is in the front brake. 
  • Hand signals are often reviewed before a group ride  Hand signals are a useful tool to keep the group aware and cohesive on the roadway.  Know your hand signals.  Hand signals should be used by every rider.  This ensures all riders are aware.





  • never pair up beside another rider.  When youre riding in a group always use the staggered formation; two seconds from the rider directly in front of you.  Riding in staggered formation is for your safety as well as the safety of the group.  When a group is riding in a staggered formation, it takes less space on the highway than a single-file line, is easier for other motorists to see and, by protecting its lane, is less likely to be separated by other traffic.  A staggered formation also allows a cushion for riders to react in case of road obstacles or hazards. 
  • Larger groups should divide up into smaller ones    No more than 10 is a manageable size. 
  • cars will often need to merge with your group.  Let them.  Most cars will pass over as soon as traffic clears.  They do not wish to be in a group of motorcyclists any more than you want them to be there. 
  • Single-file riding   There may be times when you'll need to make the group single file.  The single-file formation is best used when more room to maneuver might be needed such as on narrow or curvy roadways, in poor visibility, at tollbooths, entering and leaving highways, on roadways with bad surfaces, or in any situation where more space cushion is needed.  By riding single file, each rider in the group can use the entire lane and choose her or his own line through a turn.  As with riding formations, keeping an adequate space cushion between riders and adjusting it to suit changing needs is always important. 
  • Intersections are the area of highest risk.  When making turns, tighten the formation to allow as many riders as possible to pass quickly through the intersection.  Do not ride side by side; the group should make the turn single file or in a tight, staggered formation.  Each rider should ride their own ride and act accordingly and safely at intersections.  Often you may see someone on a motorcycle blocking an intersection for the group.  Without proper permission this is illegal and can cause serious issues for the group if a motorist chooses to disregard the person blocking the intersection.  The only time this is legal is when a proper police escort is provided. 
  • Passing on highways and freeways as a group takes a little more skill than a single motorcycle.  Do not think because the rider in front of you is moving over that it is safe for you turn your head and check to see the speed of oncoming traffic.  When the group leader signals, the signal is passed back to the tail rider who will move over when traffic allows.  The group should stay in the pass lane until all riders have cleared the vehicle they are passing.  Cutting back in could cause the next rider to move over before clearing the vehicle and cause this driver distress.  When the group exits the freeway use the same method as when entering the highway.




  • Parking as a group has benefits  If parking is organized, you get your group off their bikes more quickly.  You also run less risk of blocking access to others trying to park in the lot. 
  • Avoid parking front first on down slopes.  When entering a parking area, follow the group.  When riders start breaking out from the group it creates confusion for your fellow riders. 
  • know the parking laws in the State you're in.  Some States have laws against more than one motorcycle in a parking space.