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Best Practices for Group Riding: Part I

Lane Position, Formation, and Following Distance

Some people are unsure about group riding before they decide to go on one of our tours. In reality, though, riding in a group is a lot of fun when you’re paired with like-minded riders who are following the same safety guidelines.

Just like riding in traffic, the goal of riding in a group of motorcycles is to make sure your “danger zone”—the space ahead of you, behind, and to the side—is kept clear of other vehicles. In general terms, you should keep a space of at least two seconds clear in front and the same behind, and avoid encouraging other vehicles to share your lane. That includes other motorcycles.

Imagine that each lane on the road is divided into three narrower lanes: the left side, the center, and the right side of the lane. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid the center of the lane. That’s where the “grease strip” lain down by leaky auto engines is, and it’s especially true in wet weather. In most situations, even if you’re on your own, you should avoid riding on the grease strip.

So if you’re riding in a group, avoid the grease strip, don’t ride side by side, and allow for the maximum distance around you. The safest logical option is a staggered formation. If the bike in front of you is riding to the left side of the lane, ride to the right side of the lane, and vice versa. You should leave a minimum of two seconds between you and the rider in front of you.

The staggered formation is best for going through towns and straightaways. Once we’re in the curves though, we should all be on the same line. This is the ideal line and is the safest and most fun to follow. Our Blue Rim tour guides are all excellent riders, and we strongly encourage each participant to watch the guide’s line and follow it.

Remember, take it wide, lean it in when you can see the exit and throttle out. And never, ever have your motorcycle or a body part cross the center line. Follow these rules and you’re ready to ride with us!

In the next part, we’ll discuss the accordion effect.

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