Safety Feature written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide – second quarter 2010 by Bill Gade, Tour on 2 I know many riders that avoid group riding because of unfavorable experiences they have had when riding with a group. As a professional motorcycle tour guide, safe group riding is something I have to deal with every time I lead one of my tours.  Prior to the start of every tour we have a safety briefing where we cover all aspects of group riding such as; motorcycle spacing, riding speed, hand signals, parking at stops, road conditions and the day’s itinerary. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.org) has a great “Guide to Group Ride” brochure that can be downloaded from their website. I use this guide as a starting point in my safety briefing but I also cover expected road or weather conditions, the day’s route and stopping points for breaks and lunch. As a tour leader it is important to know what intervals between gas stops need to be maintained.  I will ask all the riders when they need to stop and plan fuel stops based on the shortest interval.  Riders tend to get nervous, and rightly so, if they believe they may run out of gas. When they are nervous and thinking about getting gas they tend not to think about safe riding and that can spell trouble. It is also important that everyone know the route in case they get separated from the group. I give everyone a route sheet and/or GPS file but my policy is to stop and wait for the group to catch up.  We have all seen people run red lights trying to keep from losing the group.  Also, I let everyone know that we will pull over at a safe spot and wait for the group to reassemble. I often hear from many riders, that they avoid group riding because of riders in the group that drink. On my tours I have a strict no drinking policy; you drink you are gone and I do not refund your money. I like a drink as much as the next person, but I do believe that riding a motorcycle and drinking should not be mixed. Riding as a group can actually be safer than riding alone, if proper group riding methods are used.  As a rider in a group make sure you show up with a full tank and follow the directions of the group leader. If you do not understand something or have additional questions ask them. Finally, I have a group riding presentation that I offer to Clubs and Organizations for their members or road captains free of charge. Please contact me at touron2@aol.com or visit my website at www.tourontwo.com for more information about this presentation. Riding as a group can be a lot of fun and very safe when done properly. Ride Safe!
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