What are the Motorcycle Hand Signals?

As a motorcycle rider, you know that communication on the road is crucial for safety and smooth group rides. While your bike may have turn signals and brake lights, hand signals offer an additional way to convey your intentions to other riders and motorists. In this blog post, we’ll answer the question what are the motorcycle hand signals that every rider should know?

Image courtesy of The Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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Left Turn

Extend your left arm straight out to the side, parallel to the ground, to signal a left turn. Keep your fingers extended. This clear and visible signal indicates your intention to turn left or change lanes to the left.

Right Turn

There are two ways to signal a right turn on a motorcycle. The first method is to raise your left arm at a 90-degree angle, with your elbow bent and your hand pointing upward, palm facing forward. The second, less common method is to extend your right arm straight out to the side, parallel to the ground, with your fingers extended.

Stop or Slow Down

To signal that you’re slowing or stopping, extend your left arm at a 90-degree angle to your elbow and with your hand pointing straight down to the ground, palm facing back and your fingers pointing down. This signal is especially important when riding in a group, as it alerts the riders behind you to adjust their speed accordingly.

Hazard in the Road

If you spot a hazard on the road, such as debris, potholes, or oil slicks, point at the hazard with your right foot or left hand. This signal alerts other riders to the potential danger, allowing them to take appropriate action to avoid it.

Double File

To signal a return to a double-file formation after riding single-file, the leader will raise their left arm vertically, with their index and middle fingers pointing up. This signal indicates that it’s safe for riders to pair up and ride side-by-side once again.

Tapping the Helmet

What does it mean when a biker taps his helmet? This gesture is a friendly acknowledgment, similar to a wave or a nod, and is often used to say “hello” or “thank you” to fellow riders and other road users. However, sometimes, a rider may tap their helmet to mean “heads up,” an alert to others about potential hazards, or to indicate that they’re about to slow down or stop.

Applying What You’ve Learned

Now that you know “what are the motorcycle hand signals?”, you can practice on your next ride and can improve communication and safety on the road. Clear and timely signals are crucial for avoiding accidents and ensuring that group rides run smoothly. Practice these signals regularly, and remain alert and aware of your surroundings while riding. Stay safe out there!