Motorcycle Hand Signals

No I’m not talking about those special little gesture you may use when expressing your feeling to other drivers that cut you off, or to a friend so cuts you with a wise crack.  I’m talking about the various gesture you may use while riding in a group formation.

Although the number of signals varies based on who is providing them, on average there are about 14 different signals that come in handy.  Now I wouldn’t use these signals if you catch up to another bike on the road traveling in your direction, or some bike creeps up behind you.  These signals are used to help control the group and pass along any intentions/message.

Now the reason I bring this up is that I’ve found, and I haven’t ridden with many different group, but for the ones I have, signal use is very limited.  Of course, we use the “crap in the road” signal, but it has been modified to using both feet, instead of just the right one.  We have also used the “PoPo” signal, where you pat the top of your head to alert all following that we are approaching the police.  (Notice that one isn’t in the picture)

On one ride, when a member heard the calling of Mother Nature, he would quickly ride up to the front from whatever position he was in scream over “BATHROOM” to the Road Captain, then zoom off to the next exit.  In some cases, we played hell trying to move the group off the road to keep up without causing an crash.  The guys I ride with are pretty laid back, and I guess we’ve developed our own method of communications while on rides, but until then, I suggest that everyone learn and know these 14, 15 with the PoPo, signals so when you see it being passed, you know what the hell they are talking about and do what is being requested.  I wonder how many groups, starting at the Road Captain on back, actually know and use the various hand signals, even if they are a little modified.

The other hand gesture would be the biker wave.  From my understanding, when you are passing a two wheeled vehicle traveling past you, and they can be going in the same direction, you perform the wave to acknowledge they are brother/sister riders.  Well something like that.  As I’ve been riding for a few years, I’ve modified who I will wave to.  First, if you are on anything that doesn’t require a license or a helmet, then you aren’t on a motorcycle, hence, not a biker, indicating no wave.  Nope, nope, nope.  Scooters are another set that I don’t wave at, but it is becoming harder and harder to tell from a distance.  I’ve had those moments when I started to wave, figured out it was a scooter and tried to play it off.  Damn, scooter!! Got me again.  Aside from the that, I wave.  You’ve earned my respect when you’ve earned the skill/license to ride a motorcycle.  There are times that waving could be dangerous, and of course you can’t be expected to see everyone on bikes all the time.  We do get distracted by other things.  If you are traveling on a six lane highway and both bikes are in the slow lanes, then it IS understandable to miss the wave or to not even attempt.  If you are passing on a two lane highway, well come on…just acknowledge and wave.

You have those people who just don’t wave.  For whatever reason, they don’t wave at anyone or maybe they have a more restrictive list of wave recipients.  Who know, I’ll continue to wave, because it feels good when the other rider waves back.  It’s like being in an elite club.  I know the Jeep owners have a similar thing, but I don’t think it is on the same level.  Anyone can go out and buy a Jeep and drive it if they have a license, but you can’t do that with a motorcycle.  You have to go that extra step to ride effectively on two wheel while avoiding being ran off the road by these four wheeled idiots who are too lazy to turn their fat f$%^ing head to see if we are there.  Which is why I have loud pipes, but that’s another blog. Where was I……oh yeah, waving.  There are different types of waves based on what you ride and if you are a full time rider or a weekend warrior or somewhere in between.  You can do the two finger low wave, the five finger low wave, the “Hiya Doing” wave, the wave off the handle bars.  I guess it all depends on your mood and how you are sitting on the bike.  I guess my biggest thing, is wave and acknowledge that other rider because regardless of how long you’ve been riding or they’ve been riding, you are both riding and are part of the elite club of two wheelers.

Happy riding. Keep the rubber down and the wind in your hair…keep safe.