The Parade Mentality…again, sadly

I wrote an article a while back titled, ‘The Parade Mentality’ it was about a group of riders riding two by two, side by side slowly down the road holding up traffic. The riders finally pulled off the road to the delight of the mile long stretch of motorcycles, cars and motorhomes behind them. Think about how embarassing it must be know that on a motorcycle, you’re holding up a motorhome??!! Anyway, this version of ‘The Parade Mentality’ is a bit different. Sadly.

A good friend of mine, Steve McQueen ..not the dead one but the very alive one, is a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor( and a rider with years of experience. He can teach you much. One thing that all motorcyclists should know, either from being told by ridinig friends, reading your DMV test booklet or taking the MSF course from my friend Steve( or his counterparts, wherever you may live), is how to ride in groups.

Steve teaches basic riding skills and, working with other organizations, more advanced skills. One of the advanced skills is how to ride in groups. The group may only be three or four riders, it may twenty or more but the same basic rules and skiills apply. Riders are taught to ride in a staggered formation, never side by side nor too close together. And there is a good reason why.motorcycle_crash_200

1253391367Here is what happens when ‘The Parade Mentality’ gets in the way of safe and common sense riding. A dozen riders off to the hospital, some with serious injuries, a major interstate closed down for hours and all because one or two riders couldn’t stop fast enough..hit the cars ahead of them and the rest of ‘The Parade’ ran into them…instead of being cool, how about being smart.

4 thoughts on “The Parade Mentality…again, sadly

  1. Maria aka PartyGurle

    I don’t know if it’s common sense that I learned from my father who’s been riding for 50 years, but that is one of the most important things that I do know! I NEVER EVER ride right beside someone. Now, I’ve ridden with people who have tried to ride beside me before when we’re in a group and I immediately slow down to form the stagger formation…Not only is it safe, but it makes me nervous to have someone riding that close to me anyways! Great post!

  2. Steve McQueen

    Thanks for the plug Paul. You are right. The staggered formation, although not as cool as some may like it, is the only way to ride in groups. It allows for lead times to be maintained, hazard avoidance, and maneuvering room to take those curves using the correct path of travel. This was indeed a sad story that never had to become a story. A small correction, find me at

  3. Judy LaParne

    Hey, Paul.
    Great advice and post. That accident happened a mere 5 miles from me and sent shivers up and down the spins of the motorcycle community. The Saturday after the accident was the monthly meeting for one of my clubs (Rose City Motorcycle Club, one that stresses “no nonsense” safety policies) and the main subject of the meeting was not the group involved but what they had done wrong that led to the mangled mess! There is a responsibility to being on the road….the “cool factor” isnt part of it!!
    Keep the good stuff coming….Judy


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