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Here are some tips to help make a group ride a fun and safe ride, adapted from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:
Use and understand hand signals. The hand signals below are used by the Chapter to communicate with each other on group rides. Pass the hand signals back to those behind you.
Start Engines With your right or left arm extended, move your index finger in a circular motion.
Left Turn Raise your left hand horizontal with your elbow extended
Right Turn Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees vertically.
Hazard Left Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard. Or extend your left leg to point towards the hazard.
Hazard Right A Extend your right arm at a 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard. Or extend your right leg to point towards the hazard.
Hazard Right B Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your elbow bent to 90 degrees and point towards the hazard over your helmet.
Speed Up Raise your left arm up and down with your index finger extended upward. This indicates the leader wants to speed up.
Slow Down Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and move your hand up and down.
Stop Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle with the palm of your hand facing rearward
Single File Position your left hand over your helmet with your fingers extended upward. This indicates the leader wants the group in a single file formation. Usually this is done for safety reasons.
Staggered Formation Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your index and pinkie finger extended. This indicates that it is safe to return to a staggered formation.
Tighten Up Raise your left arm and repeatedly move up and down in a pulling motion. This indicates the leader wants the group to close ranks.
Ride In Staggered Formation
A staggered riding formation allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A single-file formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or maneuvering room is needed.
Periodically check the riders following in your rear view mirror.
If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.
If you’re separated from the group or need to stop, don’t panic.
Your group will have a Road Captain riding sweep. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.