Early-Morning Motorcycle Ride Ends in Disaster: A Need for Group Riding Rules

According to local authorities and KTLA News in Los Angeles, an early morning ride by a group of Los Angeles motorcyclists resulted in a fatal CA motorcycle accident in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Norwalk, California on June 3rd, 2010.

The 38-year-old victim had been riding in a small group of motorcycles when he reportedly sped up and wove his way through the group before losing control of his bike. He was immediately struck by multiple vehicles. The resulting fatal California motorcycling accident also led to a secondary vehicle crash as a truck driver rear-ended another driver who had stopped in order to avoid the motorcycle accident.

This biker accident highlights the need for group riding rules, even for small, informal groups of bikers. Group riding can be especially fun and exciting, yet additional awareness and rules are required in order to maintain safety. The main difference between riding solo and riding as a group is that members of the group must give up a little individual freedom in order to enjoy the benefits of being with the group, thus the need for rules.

Who needs rules?

Depending upon the road and weather conditions, the challenges of group motorcycling riding can be greatly magnified. Small groups of California bikers who gather for impromptu rides, such as the informal group ride highlighted in the KTLA story, are most likely to benefit from following a set of guidelines because, without group rules, any hazard for one rider is multiplied beyond the total number of riders.

Groups of California motorcycle riders are most at risk of accidents when they are riding under the following conditions—

At night and during inclement weather
After social events
When riding in a group with new or unknown guest members
When riding in crowded condition, such as in parades or on large runs

Road and weather hazards, riding at night, drinking, and unknown riders are all risk factors that need to be carefully assessed by all California bikers.

Good rules for group riding

When riding together, even a small, informal group of motorcyclists should use some good, commonsense rules in order to avoid causing or being involved in an accident. Various motorcycle-riding organizations have published group-riding rules based upon years of experience with group rides. Group riding rules come from several sources, including the Red Knights, a national and international group of motorcycle-riding firefighters, and even women’s motorcycling groups such as Women Riders Now.

The following are a summary of the most-common group riding rules:

Appoint a Road Captain, and perhaps a Tail Gunner as well
Do not mix motorcycling with alcohol or drugs, especially on a group ride
Top off the gas tank before the ride, and stop only at designated stops
Wear eye protection and a certified helmet
Ride in staggered formation, only break it to allow outsiders to pass
Maintain minimum two-second following distance between bikes
New riders, or riders with passengers, should stay to the right
Caravan vehicles, if any, should stay at the rear of the formation
Be extra cautious at the first sign of rain or fog; seek shelter in heavy rain
Signal hazards by pointing a finger at them
For security while parked, designate a watchperson

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, whether while riding with a group or not, you should contact an expert California motorcycle accident attorney who can assess the circumstances, advise you of the options available, and help win the relief you deserve. Call 1-800-4-BIKERS today!

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