I’m not talking fashion faux-pas here (although there are definitely a few of those going around; tucking your jeans into your boots seems to be a common source of ire among bikers). I’m talking about the breach of motorbike etiquette – breaking that unwritten code that makes bikers lose respect for one another. If you want to be a tip-top biker, make sure you observe these unspoken rules of the road, and think twice before committing a motorbike faux-pas.
Many bikers get quite worked up about this, as there are a number of ways to acknowledge a fellow road warrior and so there is a danger that you display the wrong ‘wave’. Do you nod your head? Do you raise your arm? Do you give an almighty “Howdy”? The truth is there is no hard and fast rule for this. Every biker develops their own ways of acknowledging other bikers, and different biker cultures will have different methods. So long as your gesture isn’t vulgar or deliberately offensive, then you should be okay.
One rule to stick by is that is someone waves at you, you should always reciprocate where it is safe to do so. Ignoring another biker’s greeting is considered to be plain rude. Some bikers prefer to stick their leg out a little to show greeting where they do not wish to take their hands from the handlebars, so the greeting may be subtle.
A common question is if you approach a fellow biker who is stopped at a set of traffic lights, should you pull up alongside them and talk? If you know them well enough then that should be fine. Otherwise, keep a safe distance behind them. They might not be the conversational sort, and may think you’re just looking at a subtle way to overtake them once the light changes green. For some, biking is about personal space, and if you charge in wanting to have a chat, they might be a little displeased with you.
This applies more so when approaching groups that are stopped at the lights. The last thing a group wants is some random biker barging into their formation and interrupting their groove. Keep a safe distance and give them The Wave where appropriate.
Yes, you have a motorbike. Yes, you’re cool. People will likely stop and look at you and your ride because that’s part of the beauty of riding a motorbike. But James Dean you aren’t. Revving your engine as much as you can and creating a lot of noise will definitely attract attention, but likely the wrong kind of attention. It’s behaviour like this that tarnish the reputation of all bikers, so if you’re looking to annoy the entire biker culture, then mission accomplished. Above all else, follow the rules of the road and be courteous to all other road users.
This guest post was written by Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for motorbike insurance comparison site, Confused.com. As well as all things on two and four wheels, he is an avid movie fan and will frequently point out trivial bits of information, even when no one is listening.
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