Recently, Motoczysz was asked why the majority of bikers wave to one another on the road. I told her that it’s just a good thing to do and that it demonstrates togetherness. She didn’t seem convinced, and I didn’t either after giving it some thought for the first time in decades. After all, we would say hello to one another as we pulled into a gas station if we were truly in this together and watching out for one another. But no, usually we just ignore each other while we’re strangers. What use does waving serve then?
Start of the Motorcycle Wave
The Priere de Sion fraternal organization, founded in 1903, the same year the first Harley Davidson motorcycle left the factory, is compared by many riders to the alleged hidden wave society. That wasn’t present at all. One day in 1904, Arthur Davidson drove passed William Harley and waved because they were both familiar with each other. Another biker decided it was essential for bikers after seeing the two “Kings of Motorcycles” do it. It became a tradition.
The waving custom endured over the years, though it was always careless. The “Bye Grandma Wave,” “Howdy Waves,” and the strikingly feminine “Princess Wave” were among the maneuvers performed by motorcycles.
After a number of years of these unflattering gestures, a group of aged motorcyclists made the decision to create some proper waving guidelines in 1946. They succeeded in founding the Wave Hard And True Biker Society. WHAT-BS, which stands for “what’s wrong with you,” is an acronym.
How to Make a Motorcycle Wave
If you ride a motorcycle, you’ve probably heard the term “the wave” before. The wave links you to your traveling motorcycle brothers and sisters, but does it have a secret of its own? When you first started surfing, did you look up to a wave pro and try to emulate their style, or did you come up with your own? Have you ever questioned the accuracy of your wave? Unfortunately, neither the basic nor the expert motorcycle safety courses contain wave training.
These are the five most fundamental motorbike waves. You shouldn’t worry about not knowing the rules of basic motorbike etiquette.
Should You Wave or Not?
The conundrum is whether to wave or not. Everyone has had the need to wave but then feeling unsure. Anxiety starts, then comes a crippling sensation of guilt. No longer do you need to worry. Here are some common guidelines for waving to help you:
- That is a waste of time to do it while driving.
- During the night or in the rain; unnecessary On a curve; not required
- On a charming two-lane road; suitable
- On a calm street with minimal traffic;
- Not required during a rally
- In a crowded area, it is useless.
The idea of solidarity does, however, have some basis in reality. Jeep Wrangler owners used to wave to one another, but that custom is disappearing now that there are so many of them on the road (and they’re virtually always on the road). It used to be common for Mazda Miata drivers to wave at one another, but only while the top was down. Except for your kids, who want to know how much your clunky Mazda Miata is worth.
Although they are still a minority on the road, motorcycle riders admire people who share their enthusiasm. A wave of encouraging words may significantly enhance a ride.
There are both good and awful ways to go about it, of course.
• Even if your vehicle has cruise control, use your left arm to keep your right hand on the throttle and be ready to depress the brakes. A right-handed wave is an awkward motion.
• Don’t even think of waving if you need to keep both hands on the handlebars, such as when navigating junctions or corners.
• If you’re waving in traffic, at a rally, on a divided road, at night, or on a split highway, don’t bother.
• Prevent others from mistaking your wave for a hand gesture for a left turn. Drop your arm to a 45-degree angle and point it toward the road, or raise it to a 45-degree angle or higher with your palm facing forward and one or two fingers extended. Keep the rubber side down is what you should be directing your attention on on the other bike’s tires. For better visibility, riders of Gold Wings and other motorcycles with huge fairings prefer to point up, whereas cruiser riders prefer to point down. Sportbike racers wave a finger and scarcely take their hands off the handlebars. Everyone has their own rights. Make sure to wave at all different kinds of bikes if you’re going to do so. Don’t be unaware and just recognize companies or fashions that resemble your own.
• Wave at trikes, Can-Am Spyders, and Rykers if they’re outside of Quebec, as their drivers have a motorcycle license. In Quebec, where three-wheeled Can-Ams are permitted to travel with a vehicle license, waving is not required.
• Unless it’s raining and we’re all in the Polaris Slingshot together, don’t wave at Polaris Slingshot drivers, who are probably only licensed to operate a vehicle.
• If the 1% bike gang waves at you, they are likely a group of tattooed dentists on their way to Starbucks. If they don’t, ignore them.
• Avoid waving at electric bicycles, particularly if the riders are en route to grab their daily dosage of beer.
Don’t wave at sportbike riders who are sporting mohawk helmets either. Since they are immersed in their own world, they are completely unaware of what you are doing.
• Give a scooter rider a wave, though, if you see one. It genuinely makes their day better.
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