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Protocol for passing a group?

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by TJC, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. What's the protocol for passing a group of motorcycles?

    I'm talking about a small group of bikes (6-10 maybe), in typical formation, on a 2-lane road, with enough on-coming traffic to require some planning to pass.

    Do you wait for an opportunity to pass them all at once (which might not happen)? Do you pass them a few at a time then merge into their lane (messing up their formation)? Do you pull over and take a smoke break so you don't have to deal with it (but ruining the "groove" you were in)?

    Does the answer change if you're driving a car instead of riding a bike?

    I spent some time behind a group of bikes on HWY 20 a few weeks ago. They were out enjoying the road just like I was. I didn't want to harsh their mellow, but I wanted some clear road to play on and my definition of "enjoying" was about 10mph faster than theirs.
  2. Jims08Z06

    Jims08Z06 Bat Crazed

    Drop a couple gears on your Bad Boy; Loft that front wheel in the air and let,er rip. k I would approach and let my presence be known, then depending on their pace, crank my R1 and wave Bye Bye. PS in the passing lane, and not on a corner...AJ

    KNanthrup likes this.

  3. Use common sense and good judgment. Don't push it beyond your skill level. From there, ANYTHING goes.
  4. IMO.... passing the entire group in one fell swoop would be ideal. With that being said, as long as there is enough space between certain riders to enter the group safely..... Why not? If they're gonna get butt hurt over that well.......:thefinge:
  5. For me really depends too on how fast they're going. If they're already moving fast already sometimes I take it as an opportunity to slow down a bit. Otherwise it's game on in a nice passing lane.
  6. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Streetfighter

    If they didnt see you catch them and/or let you through well.....,
    Me, I'd try to blast them, by setting them up with a hard drive out of a corner, if possible. Or take them in bits using my blinkers and try to be gentle and considerate.
  7. i take my time and go slow for a bit .. then i make sure they have seen me whilst going slow and then ZOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM and if i have to cut into their formation oh well .. maybe they should HOG the road lol and then they place me in to the sport bike category .. but i do this whilst having my bags on and touring windscreen lol so they can second guess there putting me in that category lol
  8. What's the R1 up to these days? Getting some miles on her?
  9. As a Road Capitan with a local HOG group (Sunset chapter) we go to great pains to teach our riders how to ride in a group safely. Our Insurance carrier requires us when on a group ride to ride at the speed limit (+ or - 5 mph). Now I do understand that this can be annoying to other riders, believe me, it can be annoying to us as well but when your in a club you have to follow the rules.

    With that said, most times we are on CB channel 4 if you ask to pass when it is safe we will make a lane for you, or just pull over and let you go. We do not want to hold you'all up either. What we do not want is someone weaving they way through a group or trying a unsafe move, this will put us all in danger.

    If you do not have a CB, then usually if it is a HOG group (And we seemed to be the ones that ride too slow) the end rider SHOULD be a Road Capitan riding in a sweep position. When it safe, pull along side of him or her, and with a hand jester indicate you would like to ride by, we know what you want and we try to accommodate.

    The one thing I would like you all to please understand is, when you see us out there, while i am a fairly skilled 20+ rider who can keep up with most of you here, in a HOG club I have to deal with very green riders, we are not a training organization, but we do what we can but really, it can be like herding cats sometimes. They are green and it takes all they have to keep it on the road, if you rattle them you may find yourself in the accident.

    Just be patient, we all want to get home safe.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
    Guff likes this.
  10. This^^^

    But usually I'll ride behind them for a few miles to see if they are considerate and move over to the right and/or wave me by. If they don't, then I pretty much follow what Lone Rider said above.
  11. add this to my statment
  12. Yup... Me too.
  13. Thanks for the insight from someone with logs of group experience.

    Although I'd agree that it's often a cruiser group that's going a slower pace, in this particular instance it was a group of ST-s doing more T and less S.

    Jeffytune, how do you handle a car wanting to pass in a similar situation? I suspect most don't have CBs and pulling along-side the sweeper to get his attention (or even getting close behind him) seems like something to avoid.

    And for that matter how do you communicate "move over, there's someone trying to pass us" to all of the green riders between Road Captians?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  14. Texasl

    Texasl Totally Charming Retired Moderator Staff Member

    Normally I will just drop in to the slot right behind the sweep rider and hang for a while, sizing up the riding style/skill set of the group. If the chance comes up to pass them in a single shot, and I am comfortable that they don't seem to be prone to stupidity, I will pass.

    If the traffic is spaced out so that passing becomes a chore I will either make the conscious decision to dial it back and loosely trail the group or just pull off and cool my heels for 10-15 minutes, either on the side of the road or grabbing a soda if there is a store nearby. If I find myself getting all wrapped around the axel about being held up by a group of riders it is probably time for me to recalibrate my head anyway.

    As for when I am in a cage, I just bide my time well back from the group. If they are riding so slowly that they are impeding my rate of advance on four wheels I don't want to be anywhere near them.
  15. Mic

    Mic Retired


    If they are staggered, I like to weave in and out of them and imagine I'm doing the slalom.

    If they are side by side, I like to split down the middle of them.

    This keeps me from making unsafe passes in the other lane, so I don't have any worry about head on traffic.
  16. Texasl

    Texasl Totally Charming Retired Moderator Staff Member

    The splitting is ok if you make sure to do it on the back wheel.
  17. Mic

    Mic Retired

    Absolutely, how else is there to do it?
  18. I had a side-bet with a friend on how long it would take for someone to respond with the "slalom" answer. Thanks Mic, you just earned me $1.
  19. Jims08Z06

    Jims08Z06 Bat Crazed

    Yes I am, not as many as I should though considering how nice the weather has been. And a side note, in all honesty I'm usually never riding fast enough to overtake groups. Well maybe scooter groups...AJ crackup:
  20. Safety first. Be patient. Don't be too aggressive, and jeopardized your life and the lives of others.

    I treat a group of bikes just like I treat a group of any other vehicles. If they're bunched up, and you've got the room, pass 'em all. If they're spread out, take advantage of the gaps, and pass 'em as you can. Make sure you have plenty of room to get back in after the pass. In my experience, people have a tendency to slow down when being passed, so the gap that was there when you started your pass might not be there when you need it. Keep in mind, sometimes you're just stuck. There's no shame in tagging along or pulling over to cool you jets for a few.

    I'll only pass in the same lane if waved around, and only then after carefully assessing the situation. Always be thinking of an avenue of escape. As we all know, things can turn to shit in a hurry.
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