The Rules of Motorcycle Riders’ Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know About the Do’s and Dont’s

The rules of motorcycle riders’ etiquette and everything you need to know about the do’s and don’ts is covered in this article guide. Talking about the motorcycle rider’s etiquette, it would be wise to learn to operate your ride safely and skillfully; after all, having good manners is always the right thing to do in any situation.

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Motorcycling is FUN! Sweating up to your neck and leaving the whole world behind is one of the most thrilling experiences one could only experience on two wheels. 

That sensation of the wind whipping across your face as you accelerate your way through miles and miles of traffic-free stretches with endless twisties and curves is beyond explanation. It’s just you and your ride on the road, and the rest of the world fades away just like that. 

That feeling gets intensified when combined with the sheer beauty of nature’s most striking wonders. As crazy as it might sound, motorcycling invokes a sense of freedom that cannot be felt in the convenience of an enclosed vehicle. Only a speed enthusiast would understand the feeling of riding with the winds astride a motorcycle. Motorcycle riding can indeed be exciting and a perfect way to unwind. 

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As with every responsible person, there’s a particular code and rules among motorcyclists, too. There must be some protocols or etiquette in place when riding a bike, especially when you come across another motorcycle rider. There are many things, or many hand signals or some waving that only a motorcycle rider can understand. In addition to skillful riding, riders should abide by the following protocols of motorcycle etiquette.

Insanely Useful Etiquette Every True Motorcycle Rider Should Know

The basic motorcycling etiquette is to avoid honking when coming up behind a fellow biker. Do not overtake immediately because you don’t know the rider’s abilities. Stay behind for a few seconds and wait until the rider sees you.

Etiquette states that one biker should help other bikers in trouble. If you see another rider with a broken motorcycle, it’s a good idea to stop and see if he needs help. Similarly, if you see someone on two wheels pulled over for some reason, pull over yourself and ask if the rider is okay. They may need some kind of help.

Don’t flaunt your ride just because your bike has a bigger engine or it costs more than the other rider’s bike because they’ve earned the road as much as you. Don’t do anything stupid because even a helmet won’t protect you from that beating.

If there’s not enough space for you to pass, wait for a passing lane to overtake a slower rider. However, if the biker signals you to pass and there’s enough space to pass in the same lane, it’s okay to take a pass. Waiting for the biker’s signal is the right thing to do.

When you are approaching another biker at a red light or stop sign, don’t pull up right beside the biker. Instead, stop on either side of the biker so that he/she can see you clearly but with plenty of space between you.

Don’t be a jerk at places like toll booths and stay in line just like others and take your turn instead of switching between lanes to the head of the queue.

Don’t ride competitively to show off because that usually doesn’t work in the rider’s circle. Don’t try to impress because you might hurt yourself. Remember, on the road, everyone is the king of the road.

Do not talk rubbish about someone else’s ride regardless of the brand or condition of the motorcycle. Never bother to ask to take someone else’s bike for a ride.

Motorcycle Riders’ Waving Etiquette Mistakes and How to Fix Them

One of the most common forms of the protocol is the infamous wave between the bikers. When you pass through another biker, give them a wave or at least a nod with the head – it’s kind of a brotherly gesture for the brotherhood.

Don’t be overenthusiastic, too subtle, or too cool when waving a fellow biker. At the same time, don’t give the one-finger salute to your eyebrow either; just a simple wave, enough to be noticed.

A wave is not necessary at night or in heavy traffic, or at a rally. You should greet other riders with respect regardless of the kind of bike they are riding. The ideal way of greeting a fellow biker is to drop the clutch hand and extend your hand low parallel to the ground.

Don’t wave around the corner as you have already enough on your plate, steering your bike and looking at where you’re heading.

Don’t wave to your fellow bikers during a parade or a charity run, for that matter. Not only are there too many bikers to wave at, but they also ride in the same direction. It would help if you had both your hands on the bars, so you don’t have to wobble in front of them and cause an accident.

Never overreact or do some weird signaling if someone doesn’t respond to your wave. Some will not even respond to a nod. 

These bikers may have been distracted by something or somebody. Alternatively, they may be changing gears at the time. Even if somebody does it willingly, doing nothing is the right thing to do.

There are three common occasions when a rider is bound to wave no matter what: – 

  • First is if he sees somebody else riding the same bike as you because great minds think alike.
  • The second is when it’s exceptionally miserable because only a biker would understand the misery of surviving harsh weather conditions.
  • The third is when the perfect moment is the reason, like a perfect light across the alpine vistas, lush vegetation surrounding the roads, or the clear mirror-like lakes’ scenic views.
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Ways You Can Improve Your Group Riding Etiquette

Know your limits when riding in groups because you’re tempted to keep up with the lead riders, and you may not be ready for what comes next. So, if a group outpaces you, feel free to ride at the back or find another group.

Never assume a group of bikers would feel good to have you join them.

Leave your comments and suggestions to yourself when riding in groups. It’s not wise to create a scene out on the road. All these unnecessary arguments do nothing but distract you and other riders from paying attention to the road.

Keep enough distance between bikes, especially when there are many bends and curves or narrow lanes on the road. The staggered formation is the best thing to do when coming across wider roads with more visible sweeper turns.

Never separate from your crew, no matter how slow they are. Treat a group as one long vehicle, and pass where safe to do so without blocking them.

Be real careful around new riders in a group and give them as much room as you can.

There’s virtually no time when a group enters into a different lane simultaneously, in normal traffic conditions. It’s impossible to find a wider gap for a whole group to move in heavy traffic. Regardless of what other riders are doing, each rider must check personally if the lane is clear of traffic.

Specific hand signals come in quite handy when riding in groups. Pointing to the tank is the universal hand signal to tell everyone that you need to stop, possibly to refuel, as soon as possible, no matter what the reason is.

A Guide to Motorcycle Riders’ Hand Signals

The palm of the left hand shown to the group means the lead biker is signaling you to back off.

Thumbs held up high enough to be visible to everyone shows it’s time to go.

One finger being pointed towards the sky on top of the helmet automatically refers to the single-file formation being requested.

Waving your left arm up and down, keeping it in a straight position, is the recognized universal signal to slow down.

Raising your left arm up and down but with your index finger fully extended upward indicates that the leader wants you to speed up.

Little hand taps on the helmet mean there’re police or emergency vehicles nearby.

The first finger and the little finger pointing to the sky on top of the helmet means staggered formation.

Extending your left arm at a 45-degree angle along with the palm facing the group signals the group should pull to a stop.

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Motorcycle Etiquette Conclusion 

Even if the idea of waving to a fellow rider doesn’t sound so good or the idea of letting go of the whackos who think they rule the roads isn’t fair enough, a motorcycle rider always adheres to biking protocols and etiquettes.

Quite rare would you find anyone switching lanes without signaling a fellow biker or someone trying to outrun you while you’re entering a merging lane. Motorcycle etiquette exists, so make the most of it and appreciate what it is and what it can give you.

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