Dec 7, 2020

The Rules of Motorcycle Etiquette

Ericka Ellis

If you're a new motorcycle rider, you might have gotten all the right gear and found one of the best motorcycles for beginners, but all that means nothing if you are that guy. Don’t be that guy. You know, the one who always ignores the rules and safety while on the road; the one who rides like a whacko and is just as distracted on the road as cagers, who seem determined to run us down. Yeah, that guy.

Whether you are a new rider or a seasoned road veteran, you understand there are certain road rules to go by. So, here is a quick refresher course on some appreciated rules of motorcycle rider etiquette.

1. Honor the code of the road.

We all feel there’s honor in riding, and as such, there’s an unspoken code among riders that every responsible person is expected to follow. Details of the code, such as hand signals for groups as well as paying respect to other riders, are understood by a fellow motorcyclist. As one of those riders, you should do your part. So keep the Golden Rule in mind, and don't be a jerk.

2. Lend a hand when it’s needed.

Help out when someone is broken down

We all have places to go and things to do. And it’s likely that the rider who’s broken down on the side of the road has places to be, too. If you see a fellow rider pulled over to the side of the road, or, God forbid, they have a broken down bike, pull over and see if they need help. It’s the right thing to do.

3. Pay attention.

When you buy a motorcycle, one of the best perks is obviously the freedom that comes with it. You feel the wind on your face and get to experience the scenery in a truly cathartic way. One of the most important ways to stay safe on the road is to pay attention. Learn to operate your motorcycle skillfully and avoid distractions, as difficult as that may be.

4. Avoid sneak attacks.

If you come up behind another bike on the road, it’s basic etiquette to avoid honking your horn or blowing past them. It’s not only polite to avoid passing them right away, but, considering you don’t know this rider’s abilities, it might not be a smart move for the both of you, and could result in an accident. It’s best to stay behind them for a few moments until you are sure they have noticed you. Once that happens, they might give you a little wave to pass, and then you can go by them if you need to.

Motorcycle etiquette includes avoid surprising other riders

But, and this should go without saying, wait until there is a passing lane to pass someone. The last thing you need is to put yourself or someone else in a dangerous situation or get a ticket just because you’re in a hurry. Stay safe out there.

5. Don’t be a jerk.

Don’t trash talk someone else’s bike, regardless of the brand or condition. Just because your exhaust mods are louder or you think you’re the biggest badass on the road, everyone on a bike has earned their right to the road, just like you.

You may be a Harley rider for life, but everyone is entitled to their make and model preference. Just like your ride is your pride and joy, other people have theirs. So be respectful of other people’s motor babies like you would want them towards yours.

6. Remember to wave.

The wave is a protocol among bikers on the road, and you should wave to your fellow two-wheelers as a courtesy to the culture. When you pass another rider going the opposite direction, give them the gesture of the brotherhood by dropping your clutch hand parallel to the ground, or initiate a subtle head nod. It’s a polite way to extend a greeting and acknowledge that, hey, great minds think alike!

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