:: Riding in Metro Areas


Arizona Auto Safety

Riding in Metro Areas

Motorcycle enthusiasts often ride together in groups to benefit from added safety and also to enjoy the social element of riding. When riding in a group through a busy metro area like Phoenix, motorcyclists need to be aware of specific risks associated with group riding. Because groups work together, it is important to have a plan with solid communication. Groups should either use radio headsets or be familiar with hand signals. Groups should ride in stagger formation to allow each rider room to avoid debris and negligent motorists. Groups should stay small and avoid becoming separated by merging traffic. Separation can also occur at intersections or stop signs, so a plan for regrouping should be developed. If a motorcyclist is injured while riding in a group, they should seek medical attention and contact an experienced motorcycle attorney. Group riding in the City.

Group Riding in Large Metro Areas

An interesting quality in motorcyclists is the camaraderie they share with other motorcycle owners. This social element to owning a motorcycle leads many enthusiasts to ride in groups. Group riding increases conspicuity and can be a rewarding way to enjoy riding with friends. However, before riding in a group, motorcyclists should be aware of potential risks. Riding in a group in a large metro area like Phoenix, Scottsdale or Mesa requires specific skills and strategies that are different that those used when riding alone. Additionally, groups are vulnerable to negligent drivers on crowded streets and freeways who either ignore the needs of motorcyclists riding in groups, or just don’t see them.

Why ride in Groups?

Group riding brings a social element to the motorcycle experience. Motorcyclists can share riding and maintenance tips. Riding with a friend may also serve as a confidence boost for those new to the craft. Having a partner or group to watch one’s back can take the edge off of rush hour traffic and make the experience more enjoyable. Riding in a group also brings some safety benefits. Groups are more conspicuous on the road, and more likely to get other motorists’ attention. In case of an accident, other members of the group are on hand to call 911, perform first aid, and help get contact information from witnesses. The following are some tips to keep your group ride through the city as safe as possible:

Know the plan

When riding in groups, the first safety precaution is to plan the ride in advance. Exchange phone numbers and emergency contact information in case of an accident. Second, decide on a riding formation and the position of each motorcyclist. If you have CB’s or intercoms in your helmets, make sure everyone is on the proper channel and test them beforehand. If not using radios, make sure each rider knows the standard hand signals.

Use Stagger Formation

The safest pattern to ride in through the city is stagger formation.The motorcycles are staggered with the lead in the left, the second bike following to the right, and the third bike two seconds behind the first. The forth bike is two seconds behind the second, and the pattern continues as such. The formation gives each bike room to the left or right to avoid debris, negligent motorists, or other obstacles present on the city roads.

Keep Groups Small

Motorcyclists should keep groups small when riding through busy traffic found in cities like Scottsdale, Glendale, or Tempe. Groups should be no larger than six motorcycles. Large groups block traffic that needs to merge, are difficult to manage, and pack motorcyclists too tightly to avoid road hazards and negligent motorists.

Avoid Separation

One risk to riders in a group is being separated by passenger vehicles. Many motorists are unfamiliar with the unique needs of motorcyclists. They may attempt to cut through space used as buffer zones or interrupt a passing manoeuvre. The motorcyclist is suddenly confronted with less following distance, losing sight of the lead rider, and possibly losing control due to a sudden shift in wind shear. This risk is particularly high when approaching on and off-ramps on the freeway because of the increased rate of merging. The bottom line remains that drivers of passenger vehicles are less likely to notice motorcyclists, especially in crowded streets like those of Phoenix or Scottsdale. Should the group be divided, the riders face increased risk of an accident.

Be Cautious at Intersections

The Hurt Report found that the largest cause of motorcycle accident injuries was the driver of a passenger vehicle taking a left turn in front of a motorcyclist who had the right of way. Additionally, riding in a group magnifies the risk of the yellow dilemma: what traffic analysts call the driver’s decision to stop or continue when faced with a yellow light. Groups can potentially stretch many times the length of a single motorcycle, so the odds of separation at a light are high. Groups should establish a procedure for separation, so there is no pressure to run the light.

Be Cautious at Stop Signs

Stop signs are difficult for groups because the law states riders must go through individually. Groups should establish procedures to regroup in case of separation. Additionally, motorcyclists should be aware of negligent drivers who might violate a rider’s right of way and potentially cause an accident.

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