Have you ever seen a biker make animated movements with his hands while on the road? Well, those are the biker code signals used to communicate their objectives. Most bikers use these signals for two major things, first, to let the other road users know if they are about to take a turn, brake or stop, and second, if a biker is leading a group of riders, they use hand signals to convey messages to other riders.
In this blog, we decode the hand signal bikers make use of to communicate their intentions to fellow bikers and other people on the road and prevent any accidents or mishaps.
Most riders generally point two fingers down to greet each other. Basically, it is just used to say “Hello”. Non-bikers might get confused about it, but it shows a sign of respect among the bikers to acknowledge each other on the road. While a nod can go unnoticed and a full hand wave can turn dangerous, two fingers do the job perfectly.
While most bikes have effective, bright indicator lights which the rider can use to let others know about an intention to turn left, what if the indicator stops working or the bulb goes off? A rider can communicate the impending left turn by holding the left arm outside so that everyone behind can see it. Doing so comes in very useful when you are riding in a group as well.
You might think that if the signal for turning left is to hold the left hand out in the air, then the sign for a right turn would be to hold the right hand out. But doing so can be unsafe as the rider would have to remove their hand from the front brake handle. So riders use their left hand to signal right as well but make a different gesture. The left hand is held up in a fist with the arm at a 90-degree angle.
Bikers make use of the most common signal to convey stopping. They hold their palms up. Even if you are a non-biker, this signal will make you stop instinctively. The problem arises when you want to show your palm to the riders behind you on the road. You can extend your shoulder and flex your elbow to show your palm to the vehicles behind you as a signal to stop.
If you see a rider with their left arm down to the side and opening and closing their fist, they are trying to communicate that you have forgotten to turn off your indicator lights. You should immediately check your turning signal and shut them off to avoid any further confusion.
If the leader biker of a group wants to ask fellow riders to slow down behind him, you can see them waft their left hand in a downward motion. You can also look at the brake lights to confirm the signal.
If the leader or the rider in the front notices a potential danger which is hard to see by the vehicles behind, they use a signal to translate the same to their fellow riders. Generally, you might see them point directly at it using their left hand if the danger is on the left side. Similarly, bikers usually use their right leg to point to a danger on the right.
In the biking world, a tap on the head indicates to the other bikers the presence of police or speed camera traps ahead. Do not be surprised if you see someone on a BMW C 400 GT give the signal to someone in a car, as this is a very common sign of letting others know that there are cops ahead.
Experienced bikers might already know the hand signals mentioned above and use them regularly to communicate with fellow bikers while riding. However, if you are a beginner or a non-biker, you should know these signals to understand the biker language. Whether you ride a fancyBMW M 1000 RR or a regular bike, you need to stay aware of these hand signals for your safety and that of others.