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Passing should always be undertaken one motorcycle at a time, in staggered formation. Remember, passing at any time can be hazardous. Use common sense.

Passing Other Vehicles:

  1. Pre-pass position: Be far enough behind the vehicle you are passing to see clearly down the road to do an "oncoming traffic check."
  2. Signal. If you have a passenger, he or she should signal as well.
  3. Check your mirrors and then turn your head to check your blind spot and ensure that no one is passing you.
  4. Accelerate and change lanes. Remember, legally, you can't exceed the speed limit.
  5. When returning to your lane, signal and make a mirror check and head check to be sure there is space between you and all other vehicles. Return to your lane and turn off your blinker.
After Making the Pass:

The lead rider makes the lane change, going to the right track, until he can clearly see that the other riders have made their lane changes.

Keep the Group Together
(Printed with copyright permission of the MSF)
  • Plan -The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so "the word gets back" In plenty of time. Start lane changes early to permit everyone to complete the change.
  • Put Beginners Up Front - Place inexperienced riders behind the leader, where more experienced riders can watch them.
  • Follow Those Behind - Let the tailender set the pace. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. If a rider falls behind, everyone should slow down a little to stay with the tailender.
  • Know the Route - Make sure everyone knows the route. Then, if someone is separated they won't have to hurry to keep from getting lost or taking a wrong turn.

Freeway Passing into a Faster Lane

As a group, it can be difficult to pass a slow moving car on any road with two or more lanes of same-direction traffic. This is especially true with moderate to heavy traffic. Often there is not enough room for the entire group to get between cars in the faster lane.

The way to accomplish this is for the last bike to pull over one lane to the left and hold his position. Each rider should move to the left lane as the cars in front of the rear biker pass them. You can then pass the slow car as a group after the lead rider moves to the left lane.

The lead rider should move back to the right lane after passing the slow car by a safe distance. It is very important that the lead rider maintain speed to make room for all the other riders. Each rider should move back to the right lane one at a time once safely cleared the slow car. This can be a real slick choreographed move for other motorists to observe.

Freeway Passing into a Slower Lane

During a lane change into a lane moving slower than the group (usually to the right), the FRONT bike moves over first. Now, what do the rest of the bikes do? Legally, if the whole group moves like a "brick" (everyone changing lane together in one movement), that is considered to be parading and can cause problems if any emergency arises. So, if each bike individually changes lanes in order following the first bike to change lanes (whether from the front or the back), you can reduce your risk factor, change lanes legally, and still look good while doing the maneuver!

It is important that the lead and tailing bikers talk to each other before the ride and come to an agreement on how they intend to pass cars.

Two-Lane Passing

It is usually very difficult for a group to pass a slow moving car on a two lane road. Generally, a group will not pass a car on a two lane road, particularly on local rides, unless it is going very slow. If the lead biker decides to pass the car, each biker must decide on his own if it is safe for him or her. DO NOT follow the bike in front of you unless you are certain that it is safe for you too.

IMPORTANT: After passing the car, keep going. You must make room for all the bikes behind you.

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