16 Biker Hand Signals You Need To Know – How These Signals Work?

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Learning how to drive a motorcycle is easy. You can get the basics in a few weeks. But did you know that there are many other things that a new biker should know which are currently used on the road.

One of the most important of them is biker hand signals. Many signals should be learned. The total number is sixteen, and all of them are regularly used on the road. Fortunately for you, these signals are pretty easy to understand, and they are easy to get used to.

Let me list down all of them before we get into the details:

  1. Left Turn
  2. Right Turn
  3. Stop
  4. Speed Up
  5. Slow Down
  6. Follow Me
  7. You Lead
  8. Road Hazard
  9. Single File
  10. Double File
  11. Comfort Stop
  12. Refreshment Stop
  13. Turn Signal On
  14. Pull-Off
  15. Police Incoming
  16. Fuel Stop

Now that all of these signals have finally been listed, this article will get into the details of all of them.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it. Strap in for the ride because you should not miss any of these signals.

16 Motorcycle Hand Gestures Explained

Image Source: Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office

This section of the article will compile all of the sixteen hand signals, all of which were listed above. If you are a new motorcyclist, it is recommended to read through this section in its entirety.

The reason for this is that not only is memorizing all of them an important task, but one should also know their meaning.

Let’s begin!

1. Left Turn

Now, this first one is one of the more basic ones. Whenever you are on a motorcycle, you should always extend your left arm, so other people in the traffic can understand where you want to turn.

This is because motorcycle indicators are pretty small, and drivers might miss them. So, this is done to give them the message. Your palm must be facing down. This is important and will be discussed why later on in this article.

2. Right Turn

So, a right turn must simply extend your right arm, with the palm down, right? Well, you would be wrong. Instead, you will create a 90-degree angle with your left arm. You need to bend your elbow and then make a fist towards the sky.

This will allow the driver to understand if you are trying to make a right turn. One would think this is a stop signal, but it is completely different.

3. Stop

As I said before, a stop signal is different from one that anyone would guess. Instead of making a right angle and pointing towards the sky, you will be doing it towards the ground. It must also be remembered that your hand must be open.

All other bikers should repeat a stop signal if you are traveling in a group. If the leader has made the sign, all previous bikers should do so too. This way, the group can act as a chain and stop without being abrupt.

4. Speed Up

Now, this is a rather simple gesture. This one is used only when your motorcycle group is moving too slowly. All you need to do is swing your left palm upwards after extending it downwards.

This will indicate to the group that it is time to speed up. More experienced biker groups rely on body language, and they don’t need to use this signal. So, if you are a beginner, this signal should be learned by heart.

5. Slow Down

This is another important signal that allows your group to understand when to slow down. Although the sign does not look appropriate for the situation, it is the one that is being used.

You need to extend your left arm and swing it with your palm wide open. You should start from the bottom and then pull your arm until it matches your shoulder height. This will indicate to the group that they need to press on the brakes for a bit.

6. Follow Me

As bikers already decide who will be the leader while moving in a group, this is not the case sometimes.

If, in a rare circumstance, you have to make the group follow you, then all you need to do is put your hand straight up and with the palm open.

This is also used when some bikers in a group need to separate, and the smaller group leader can signal when to do so.

7. You Lead

If you are a group leader and want to appoint someone else to do it, you cannot just slow down and let a random person go upfront. Instead, you need to slow down until you are by the side of the person you need to lead and make the signal until he notices.

The signal is simple. Come up to their right side and point a finger towards their motorcycle. Then swing your arm forward, indicating that he must take the lead.

8. Road Hazard

Now, this is one that one must know by heart. Like the previous one, this is a 2-in-1 signal used to point toward a hazard. It could be a road closure or a pothole. If the hazard is to your left, all you need to do is point your left arm downwards.

If it is on the right, you need to point with your right foot. You should never take your right arm off of the motorcycle handle.

9. Single File

This is a rather simple gesture and can be used in various scenarios. A single file gesture is carried out by putting your hand up and pointing towards the sky with your index finger.

This will allow the rest of your group to understand that they need to make a straight line. This is useful in traffic when there is only one way to pass through. It is also used to indicate if the road ahead is getting narrow.

10. Double File

Want your group to look stronger, or is the road clear for miles ahead? Then all you need to do is put your hand up, just like with the single file signal, but instead of one finger, you will be using two fingers.

This will indicate to the group that two lines must be created. A biking group in a double file formation looks great, and it also turns heads where you go.

11. Comfort Stop

Have you been riding for a long time? If you were the only one to stop, it would have been rather simple.

But if you want to indicate to your whole group that it is time to take a breather, then you need to put out your left arm and make a fist.

  • After doing that, you should shake your arm up and down.
  • Take it as if you are shaking a can of spray paint.
  • The group will start to slow down and stop.

12. Refreshment Stop

Now, a refreshment stop is different from a comfort stop. That is why the signal for it is completely different. The gesture is simple, and all you need to do is to give a thumb up and point that thumb towards your mouth.

All bikes will understand that a gas station or a restaurant is nearby and there is going to be a refreshment stopover there. This is a fairly simple gesture but is used in almost all long trip group rides.

13. Turn Signal On

Now, when you are riding a bike, it can happen that you forget to turn the turn signal off. Well, if the leader of a group, or even someone else, is doing this, you should double-check if your indicator is turned on.

So, how can one identify if someone is signaling that his indicator is on? Well, if you see the biker repeatedly opening and closing his fist with his left arm stretched, it means that he has noticed someone’s blinker turned on.

14. Pull Off

If the group has to get off the highway at an immediate exit or the next one, then the group leader will make a signal. It is simple. With his index finger pointed out, he will be pointing towards the left, moving his arm again and again.

This means that the exit should be taken. If there is no exit, then the one that will be coming first is the one the group has to take.

15. Police Ahead

Although the action does not match with the scenario, if the group leader is tapping his help, then it means that there is police up ahead.

  • So, if you are over-speeding or breaking any law when traveling, this will allow you to fix that before you are charged with a heavy fine.
  • Regardless of whether there are cops or not, you should never break the law.
  • This ensures your safety and the safety of the people around you.

16. Fuel Stop

I have saved the most important one for last. There is nothing more embarrassing than running out of fuel when traveling with a group.

  • So, if you notice that you are low on fuel, you should point toward the fuel tank with your index finger.
  • This will allow other bikers to understand that your ride needs filling up.
  • You should always be wary of the fuel level, and it is better to get your bike topped off before heading for a ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. When A Motorcyclist Holds Up A Fist What Does That Mean?

It looks like you jumped straight to the frequently asked section. Well, this was the second signal in this article, and it means that you are going to take a right. This will help the other bikers in the group understand that they have to take a turn.

Q2. When A Motorcyclist Taps His Head What Does That Mean?

This is an indicator that there are cops ahead. It is important for this signal to exist because a biker group should check for everything, such as a broken blinker or something else that can land him in trouble. So, when you see the signal, you should be ready.

Q3. When Bikers Point Two Fingers Down What Does That Mean?

Now, this is a hand signal that can be learned but is not as important as all 16 that were mentioned in this article. Pointing towards the ground with two fingers is a sign of respect. It means that the one who is signaling is wishing other riders a safe ride.

Conclusion

Now that all of the important biker hand signals have been covered, if you did read through this article in its entirety, there is no other website you need to visit.

If you are a new motorcyclist and want to get to know the dos and don’ts of the road, then this is one of the ways to get started.

Learning these signals will help you be respected by your fellow riders, and it will also help you not make a mistake while riding.

I hope this article helped you in understanding everything there is to know about all important signals.