When you first got your driving license, the instructor went into some detail about how to drive safely. Your knowledge of these safety rules allowed you to get your license.
If you were smart about it, you stuck with these safety rules even when no one was watching. Later, when you were an experienced driver, you probably expanded on this idea of driving safety to improve the safety of your road trips.
So on a long road trip, you would make sure that you got your car thoroughly checked out. You also made it a point to check out the weather and see that you had the right guides, maps, or instruments to make sure you understood the route.
Motorcycle Safety When Riding Alone
This experience of being safety-mindedness also served you well when you got your first motorcycle because an accident could be catastrophic. San Diego motorcycle accident lawyers at the law offices of Michael Pines warn, “Riding a motorcycle poses an increased risk of injury if an accident should occur due to the lack of safety features such as airbags, seatbelts, and other safety devices normally found in vehicles. When an accident occurs, most injuries are serious and catastrophic in nature. A catastrophic injury is devastating to the individual and their family.”
Motorcycle Safety When Riding In A Group
While you understand how to stay safe on the road, how do you stay safe when riding with a group of motorcycles? The rules are slightly different now because a group of motorcycles is like a flock of birds. So, what one bird does affects the other birds flying in close formation.
When you are not the only one responsible for safety, it becomes a group initiative. However, this means that you have to play your part and know the rules that the others are following.
In a way, riding in a group requires even more vigilance because any sign of individualism (like changing your speed or distance on a whim) can jeopardize everyone around you.
Things can change quickly on the road. Sometimes this change can happen in seconds. The speed of the lead rider could increase or decrease. The weather might change from clear to misty, from sunny to rainy, or from a breeze to a strong wind. Road conditions, too, might change as you enter a new stretch of road or run into rush hour traffic as you approach a city.
When riding in a group you have to think about safety in a whole new way. Besides being responsible for your own safety, you also have to understand how your behavior on your bike affects those in front and behind you.
Here, then, are five rules of safety you should follow:
1. Pay attention to the Road Captain and leading bikers.
When motorcyclists travel in groups, someone is assigned to be a Road Captain. As part of the group, it’s your responsibility to pay attention to his movements at all times, as well as to the riders in front of you. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but there are many distractions along the way – for instance, you might want to gawk at the beauty of the passing scenery and miss the way the leading motorcycles change speed or direction.
2. Don’t join the group if your bike has not been checked out to be in good running condition.
Your lack of maintenance may do more than affect the speed with which the group travels; it can also affect the safety of other riders to the side or behind you. At best, not taking care of your bike may inconvenience other riders; at worst, it might endanger them because they will be riding alongside you in close formation.
3. Ride in a staggered formation.
The worst way to ride in a group is in columns of two or more riders. It is much safer to ride in a staggered formation. To achieve this pattern, you must stay about two seconds behind the bike directly in front of you and about one second behind the bike to your right or left front.
3. Constantly monitor your speed and distance.
Bikers sometimes refer to the catastrophic event of bikes crashing into each other as the slinky effect. The way to avoid this is to keep your speed and your distance constant in relation to everyone else. In other words, avoid falling back or speeding up because this confuses other riders who have to adjust to your change in pace. Your goal is to be as predictable as possible.
4. Know your hand signals.
The best way of communicating in a group is through hand signals. These have proven their efficiency over time because they have been codified so that everyone instantly knows exactly what they mean. If you have forgotten the standard hand signals, you need to brush up before joining the group.
5. Fuel up before you go.
Always make sure that you have a full tank when you leave with the group and be sure to top off every time the group reaches a scheduled fuel stop.
Follow the Rules
Even if you pride yourself on being a maverick, riding in a group is not the time to express your rugged individualism. Every group has its own rules, so be sure you understand them well.