The Importance (and Effectiveness) of Hand Signals While Riding
When you are riding in a group of two or more, effective communication can enhance safety and make your intentions clear to other riders. When used in tandem with technological solutions, like headset radios, hand signals are an extremely effective way to make sure everyone is on the same page. A few simple hand gestures are all it takes to indicate when you are turning, stopping, speeding up, or changing lanes.
Why Are Hand Signals Important?
Hand signals help to organize and coordinate a group of riders, warn of road hazards and indicate when it’s time to stop or pull off the highway. Basic hand signals make sure everyone is on the same page. For instance, in a large group, if the lead rider suddenly speeds up without signaling, each successive rider will have to accelerate faster to catch up. This can cause confusion and excessive speeds that could endanger the entire group.
By signaling your intention with the correct hand signal, each rider can be prepared to match the pace in a safe, controlled manner. Similarly, when slowing down gradually using downshifting and engine braking, the brake lamp on the lead bike will not illuminate. Using the “slow down” gesture can alert the other riders, allowing them to safely follow suit. When riding in traffic, hand signals can also help other vehicles on the road notice you.
The Most Essential Hand Signals
There are about 16 commonly used hand signals, but some are more important and universally understood than others. These include:
- Turning – The right turn and left turn signals are important even though all modern bikes have turn signals and brake lamps. Such lighting can be hard to see from a distance, and even the best quality lighting can experience problems like burned-out bulbs and damaged wiring.
- Speeding up and slowing down – Communicating your intention to speed up or slow down to other riders can make the trip safer.
- Road hazards – Pointing out road hazards like pot holes, gravel, oil slicks, or debris can help other riders avoid accidents.
- Stops – Using the appropriate signals to pull off the highway or stop for fuel can keep the group coordinated and allow other riders to indicate when there is a pressing need for a stop.
- Leading and following gestures – Using the correct hand signals can indicate who the group is supposed to follow, keeping everyone organized.
In addition to the proper hand signals, wearing the right gear is another important factor to motorcycle safety. Las Vegas Harley-Davidson has a great selection of riding gear that will help keep you safe while looking stylish. Contact us today at 888-218-0744 for more information.