Hand Signals Bikers Use and What They Mean

If you’re a newbie at riding motorcycles or even just a passenger, you should learn as much as you can about the sport. Bikers who ride in groups use hand signals to communicate while driving. It’s the easiest way with all the noise on the road. Getting on the road as a motorcyclist is a serious matter that puts the safety of others and yourself in your hands. For those reasons, take time to get to know the basic biker hand signals and their meanings before riding with a group.

Stop and Turn Signals

The most basic things you should know how to communicate or interpret are when to stop, go, and turn. Since you’re riding close together with others, you’ll need to adhere to the signals you’re given at the same time to avoid confusion or accidents. Here’s what you should know about stop and turn signals:


To let your pack know you’re about to stop, reach out your left arm to the side of your body with an open palm. Do this within sufficient time to allow space for everyone behind you to stop also. Extending your left arm straight down with your palm facing the back also communicates a stop.

Right Turn

To communicate a right turn, you would do the opposite of the stop signal. Instead of using your left hand, you would extend you right hand straight out to the right with an open palm. As another option, you can put your left hand out beside you while bending your arm at a 90 degree angle. With the latter option, you would have a closed palm. As a leader of group, stick to whichever is easiest but remember both. You never know which one you’ll see as a rider following another leader.

Left Turn

For left turns, the lead rider will reach out with the left arm and have an open palm facing the ground. As with stops, give everyone advanced notice before preparing to turn. You should signal at least 10 yards ahead of time.

Signs to Let the Group Know About Road Hazards

The leader of the group has many tasks besides calling the shots. One of the most important is to look out for everyone behind them. They’ll communicate any issues or any precautions ahead. There are several signals to know for safety while riding.

Hazard in the Roadway

This signal lets you know there’s something in the road you’ll want to avoid. You’ll need to pay attention and move quickly. To communicate a roadway hazzard, reach out the arm closest to the hazard location. Point to the object while move your arm in a circular motion. You can also point with your right foot to indicate a road hazzard on the right side.

Signal to Appoint a New Leader

This is another reason to be alert. When the biker leading the pack needs a break, they’ll ask someone else in the group to take over. If you’re the leader, using the custom hand signal, point and extend your arm at a 45 degree angle and swing the arm forward. The signal looks like you’re ushering the person to pass in front of you. After the signal, make room for the new leader to get to the front of the group.

Other useful hand signals motorcyclists use are:
* Slow down
* Speed up
* Follow me
* Single file
* Double file
* Comfort stop
* Refreshment stop
* Fuel
* Cops Ahead
* Turn signal on
* Pull off

One important thing to remember about hand signals and riding with a group is to be cooperative. Choosing to ride with the group means doing things you might no want to do at the moment. If the leader communicates a stop, the entire group should stop. If a leader needs a break, another rider should be prepared to take over. You can find more on biker etiquette and working as a team at the new website from Bikers Basics.

Information about biker hand signals is definitely useful if you’re just beginning your biking journey. Still, you can also find it helpful to know what’s going on as a vehicle driver. Knowing biker language can help prevent accidents on both ends. Use this as a start for learning about how bikers communicate while riding together, then find the other recommended sources to learn even more.

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