Road Rules – Why You Should Biker Wave


Waving and riding have always gone together for me. The camaraderie of the road and riding two wheels just fit. Those other riders are the only people who get what it feels like.

More and more those other riders wave back less. There was a time that I got mad, thought they were rude, and tragically fell into that all too human trap of thinking negatively about that other rider.

What I have come to realize with age, understanding, and wisdom is they might just not know or understand the wave. Maybe they are thinking of other things and while they didn’t wave back they appreciated the wave. Maybe that wave made them smile and they waved at the next rider.

People are more connected than ever. I can message across the world, video chat anywhere, post pictures, videos, and “talk” to my followers on social media anytime day or night. What I can’t always do is be present in the moment. That small gesture between riders is an understanding of the passion, the lunacy, and the need that is riding a motorcycle.


Don’t wave expecting it to be returned, wave to show you get it. Wave because you want to connect, wave because that rider could use the wave to brighten an otherwise lonely day. Wave at all bikes, big and small, foreign and domestic. Wave because you mean it. I know if I see you I’ll wave your way. It may be a peace sign, drop it low, or even just a finger lift but I will acknowledge you on the road. If I happen to not wave and you did. Know I appreciate and I’ll pass it on to the next rider.

/biker wave

31 thoughts on “Road Rules – Why You Should Biker Wave

  • September 16, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Also consider, they might NOT seen you. I always wave, but there are times when I don’t see the other biker on time cause I was paying attention to traffic right in front of me…that driver in a side street that might pull in front of me. Or, I’m pulling on the clutch to shift gear while coming to a stop, so my left hand is otherwise occupied. Sometime I’ll wave at the last minute, when I see you, but you might already pass. When I can’t wave cause I’m using my left hand for something else, I’ll nod my head.

  • September 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Exactly. The other rider isn’t trying to avoid you or not waving on purpose in every case. Be safe and be courteous! Thanks for commenting!

  • September 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I ride a bicycle and always do the wave, but rarely get a wave back. Do I have to be on a motorized bike?

  • September 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I wave 90% of the time and receive the same back, other 10% is almost always road conditions or traffic or in the city rather than the open road.

  • September 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    well you may be taking motorcyclists by surprise, can’t speak for bicyclists.

  • September 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    The idea is for everyone to wave, but you may be surprising people. I say keep waving, eventually they will wave back!

  • September 16, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I was under the impression it was just Motorcyclists to Motorcyclists, but I have caught myself a couple of times waving at motorcycles when i’m out on my road bike.

    Last week I even gave someone the “cops ahead” signal, kind of laughed at myself after that one, it was completely automatic.

  • September 17, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Just got my 23 year old daughter riding. For her first road trip we rode through the mountains of Marin on a 120 mile day ride. At the end of the ride she was beaming and said that the best part of the ride was the waves she got and returned…she felt like she got into an exclusive club.

  • September 17, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Roadies usually are very condescending towards motorcyclists so it would be a real shock to see one wave to me in a positive manner…none the less keep waving…perhaps you’ll start a trend!

  • September 17, 2015 at 7:27 am

    The great part is she got into an exclusive club that is also inclusive. Glad she got on two wheels and you have more to share with her.

  • September 17, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    keep up the good work and wave at anyone you want too. Why not?

  • September 18, 2015 at 7:56 am

    happy to be the artist who did the “Highway Handshake” painting…

  • September 18, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Always loved this painting! Beautiful work. And on my favorite road to ride, hwy 89a, just outside my home town of Prescott Az.

  • September 18, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I’m not sure if my previous post was made, but want to take credit for having done this painting, “Highway Handshake”

  • September 18, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I will add an attribution to it. Thanks for coming by and commenting. I had no idea where it originated and thank you for a beautiful representation of exactly the point I was making.

  • September 18, 2015 at 11:03 am

    all good, thanks!

  • September 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I am a brand new rider with only 1 short highway trip. I did wave at others just because I felt like it, not knowing it was a ‘thing’. One question: what is ‘cops ahead’ signal? Love it so far, hoping I can soon move up to my bigger bike.

  • September 23, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Everywhere is slightly different. Some places it is a helmet tap, others it is a circle motion with your hand and then move it up, some others it is a palm down up and down movement to slow down.

  • September 24, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks! I will keep my eyes open…safe travels….

  • September 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I wave unless I am in a turn or depending on the situation. I will instead look at them and nod my head.

  • November 19, 2015 at 10:35 am

    This is the dumbest article ever. It is not a wave it is a two finger down salute

Leave us a comment and add your thoughts to the discussion.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.