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It’s no secret that riding motorcycles can be exhilarating, to say the least, and what could be even better than sharing this pleasure with family or friends?
Nonetheless, the dynamics of riding get more complicated with the increasing number of motorists.
Therefore, knowing the motorcycle hand signals chart (that we’ll delve into) is crucial for any rider. It’s a great way of communicating with other motorists and makes all the difference in keeping you safe from hazards on the road.
Motorcycle Hand Signals 101
As a means for conveying simple messages on the road, motorcycle hand signals are a necessity for riders to know and other motorists that share the road with them.
If you’re in a vehicle that’s trailing a motorbike, it’s important to understand what they are trying to communicate to you. They could be warning you of a dangerous situation ahead, stopping, or turning. It’s worth noting that all hand signals are used on the left side of the car you’re in.
When Would Hand Signals Come In Handy?
Motorcycle hand signals are useful in the following scenarios.
When Traveling in Groups
When riding as a group, each member should be well aware of the hand signals. The leading rider has the responsibility of bringing the group to the destination in the safest way possible.
Therefore, they’ll need to perform most of the motorcycle hand signals, and the members must keep an eye on the front of the pack.
The gesture from the leader will spark a chain reaction to the tail biker. In large groups, the bikers will use hand signals to relay messages for the riders at the back to follow.
When Your Bike Lacks Turn Signals
By using motorcycle hand signals to alert traffic instead of the turn signals of your bike, you help curb accidents that could otherwise be fatal. Hand signals are a foolproof way of providing enhanced safety and visibility on the road.
When Riding With a Friend
Motorcycle hand signals are an excellent way of communicating with a fellow rider who also happens to be your friend. For instance, you can warn them of a potential hazard or if the cops are a couple of miles down the road waiting to give a speeding ticket.
Motorcycle Hand Signals Chart
The chart below sums up the motorcycle hand signals that promote the safety of riders and other motorists on the road and prevent accidents.
What Are the Proper Hand Signals For Riding a Motorcycle?
Here’s a breakdown of the ideal hand signals that every rider should know to improve their safety.
What is the Arm Signal For a Left Turn?
Upon making a left turn, extend your left arm out while pointing your palm downwards. It’s a motion that’s easy to grasp given that you’re making a left turn and using your left hand to signal that direction.
What Does The Finger Circle Mean?
The ‘Okay’ sign. By making a circle with your index finger and thumb while your other three fingers are extended, you’re signaling that you’re okay and asking if the other rider is as well.
What Does The 3 Finger Hand Sign Mean?
Despite being deemed the cruiser or Harley wave, the left-handed low is a wave usually used by all riders. The arm is aimed down towards the street and extended at a maximum angle of 45 degrees with three fingers extended.
Furthermore, the palm’s direction is also crucial to the feel and look of this wave. Therefore, it must face the rider or the road.
A classic variation of the left-handed low is the generic thumbs-up signal or throwing a deuce (peace sign).
What is the Hand Signal For Stopping or Slowing?
To signal that you’re stopping, extend your left arm and fingers while ensuring they are pointing down and your palm is facing rearward. It’s the universally accepted signal that you’re decelerating, and other motorists should intuitively comprehend it. Keep your arm in this position until you fully come to a halt.
What is the Hand Signal For Stop?
It’s used to indicate your intention to stop at a restaurant or gas station. You’ll make a ‘thumbs up’ signal with your left hand while gesturing toward the front of your helmet or mouth as though your thumb is a straw poking out of a glass.
Indicate it by poking your arm out to the left and shaking your fist using short upward and downward gestures as though you’re shaking a bottle. Remember to make this stop only when the shoulder or road is free of debris and there’s ample room to pull over.
What is the Hand Signal For Right Turn?
Use this sign to signal other motorists that you’re turning right. It can also be used to break from or lead other riders if you’re riding in a group. To indicate a right turn, simply tilt your elbow to a 90-degree angle, clench your fist and point it at the sky.
What is the Arm Signal For Speed Up?
With your arm extended to a 180-degree angle, your palm facing down, and an upward swing, you can signal your fellow riders to pick up the pace and keep up with you. The speed-up signal is essential for inexperienced bikers to avoid being left behind as the group increases the pace.
What Are Rider Courtesy Hand Signals?
Courtesy signals are not required but are more of a way to communicate with fellow riders.
Give your fellow riders a heads up about police activity a couple of miles up the road by gently tapping the top of your helmet with your left palm.
Turn Signal On
Let another rider know that the left blinker of their motorcycle is on by making a ‘blinking’ gesture using your left hand while alternating between making a fist and extending your fingers.
As a result, the rider can save face during the next refreshment or comfort stop.
Gesture other riders by extending your arm towards your shoulder with your palm facing outward.
In doing so, you’re declaring that you’re the new, self-appointed leader or segmenting a large group.
As a two-in-one signal, it entails pointing with your right foot if the road hazard is on the right or your left arm if it’s on the left.
Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind
Even as you use a motorcycle hand signals chart to improve your safety and that of other riders on the road, consider the following considerations.
Comfort is Key
As essential as it is to be in sync and coordinate with your group of riders, it’s equally important to avoid riding beyond your abilities. Remember, you don’t have to match a leader setting a fast pace because your safety comes first, so feel free to slow down to a speed you’re comfortable with.
Before you begin a group ride, everyone must be familiar with the destination. Inevitably, the group may get separated, so it’s important to discuss where you’re going, the designated stops you’ll make, and what to do if you get separated.
Furthermore, exchange phone numbers and ensure the latest plan is clear every time the group starts.
When ideal signaling is crucial to safety, for instance, during track days or group rides, important hand signals must be communicated during pre-ride meetings.
Motorcycle hand signals are intuitive, particularly when combined with appropriate body language.
It’s no surprise then that new bikers may be confused upon seeing them for the first time.
Nonetheless, as with everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Therefore, the more they use these hand gestures on the road, the more they’ll become second nature.
People Also Ask
In this section, we’ll answer some of the most popularly asked questions so you can gain more of an understanding when it comes to the motorcycle hand signals chart.
What Are the Hand Signals a Passenger on a Motorcycle Should Know?
- Left Turn: Palm down with your left arm extended.
- Roadway Hazard: Index finger and right pointed toward the ground with your left arm extended.
- A Right Turn: A closed fist while your left arm is out and your elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Stop: Your left arm extended down with your palm facing back.
How Old Does My Motorcycle Have To Be Able To Use Hand Signals?
For as long as you’re on your motorcycle, you can use hand signals to boost your safety on the road. There’s no age limit.
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