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Motorcycle Group Riding Hand Signals

by Michael Murray


Etiquette on a motorcycle is knowing the rules of the road, and having respect for other riders, automobiles, pedestrians, and most of all the environment.

The following are a few short guidelines:

• Remember you are often not seen by other drivers, so make sure other motorists can see you. Don’t ever assume you are seen, even if you make eye contact with other drivers. A good way to be seen is to ride in view of rear-view mirrors and to wear bright colors.

• Don’t tailgate. Tailgating decreases your buffer zone, your ability to see ahead.



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Off-Road Group Riding Hand Signals

(from Thumpertalk Forums)

If you ride two-way trails...

...please take the time to learn proper trail etiquette in terms of hand signals.

When I put up two fingers, I'm not flashing you the peace sign. I'm communicating to you that there are two more riders coming behind me, so exercise caution!

For example, if you are riding in a group of three people, the leader should flash on-coming riders two fingers, the 2nd guy one finger (middle finger not advisable) and finally the last guy should flash a closed fist (no more riders in your group).

Nobody wants a head on collision and hand signals are one of the ways to help minimize accidents.

So, the next time some flashes you these hand signals, please don't wave. Respond with the appropriate hand signals.

Here's another method:

Instead of trying to remember how many are behind you, and having to hold that many fingers up, instead just point your thumb (in the area behind you) like you are hitchhiking. Then when the last man comes along, he can give the closed fist.

This solves a couple of issues; only the lead and sweep need to do anything, AND there is no room for error (lead just has to point his thumb, doesn't need to count... this is particularly useful if a few riders catch up to your group).



Trail Etiquette for Motorcycles

(dual-sports & dirt-bikes)


Respect private property
Know were you're permitted to ride and where you're not. Respect private property and closed areas; that's good public relations.

Be courteous
Always be courteous when you pass hikers on a trail or other vehicles on a dirt road. Remember, one little blip of the throttle can leave a shower of gravel or a cloud of dust (and an enemy) behind you.

Be quiet
Even a quiet motorcycle can seem noisy to a hiker, a hikers dog, or a horse & rider; it depends on how and where you ride it. Keep the RPMs and speed low and steady when you're near houses and campgrounds, horse trails, or anytime you're around non-riders.

Meeting horses
When you meet a horseback rider, go slowly and stop on the outside of the trail. Shut off your engine. Take off your helmet and say hello. Speak in a calm, normal voice. The horse needs to recognize you as a human. Avoid any sudden movements.

Stay on the trail
Don't cut switchbacks or take shortcuts; it sends a poor message about your sport and causes environmental damage.

Be a good citizen
Above all, think about yourself as an ambassador for motorcycle trail riding. Your actions speak for all riders, so be sure that everyone you meet remembers trail riders as good citizens.


Dirt Bike School, by Motorcycle Safety Foundation

(Dirt Bike School, by Motorcycle Safety Foundation)



Ride on!

Michael Murray
Owner | Rider | Enthiusiast

Michael Murray, Cameraman for the Road Less Traveled motorcycle documentary, and owner of

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