Dynamics

February 6th, 2010
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Guide To Group Riding


Reprinted from the August 2008 issue of American Motorcyclist with permission from the AMA

You ask:

I often ride in groups of three to six motorcycles, and we’re often on freeways. Sometimes, when changing lanes, the lead rider will keep the same position in the lane (Generally, in the left wheeltrack), and sometimes, a different lead rider will change positions depending on which lane he’s in (left wheeltrack in the right lane, right wheeltrack in the left lane).

My question is:
Where should the lead rider be, and does it vary from lane-to-lane on a freeway? And should the rest of the riders re-stagger when and if the lead rider’s position changes?”

Simon Morris, AMA No. 807523, Winter Park, FL

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Responds:

The whole group’s formation should be dynamic, yet follow a few basic guidelines.

If the road is straight and there are no unusual traffic or surface conditions, the 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, while keeping the group compact. The leader should ride 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. If the group is using this pattern, the leader should remain in the left position, even after the group changes lanes, so the other riders aren’t continually changing their positions in response.

However, if the leader feels that the center third of right third of the lane is the best position for the road and traffic conditions, then the leader can signal the group to adjust to a single-fine formation, with a 2-second following distance throughout. A single-file formation should be used 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.

Image &copy Copyright AMA. All Rights Reserved.

Image © Copyright AMA. All Rights Reserved.

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