After all, if we’re genuinely in this together and looking out for one other, we’d greet each other as we pull into a gas station. But no, when we’re strangers, we normally just ignore each other. So what’s the point of waving?
The Motorcycle Wave’s Beginnings
Many riders claim there was once a hidden wave society, comparable to the Priere de Sion fraternal organisation, which was created in 1903, the same year the first Harley Davidson rolled out of the factory. There wasn’t any of that. It all began one day in 1904 when Arthur Davidson drove past William Harley and waved because they knew one other. Another biker observed the two “Kings of Motorcycles” doing it and decided it was a must-have for bikers. A custom was born.
Throughout the years, the waving custom persisted, although it was always haphazard. There were motorcycles doing the “Bye Grandma Wave,” “Howdy Waves,” and the incredibly feminine “Princess Waves,” among others.
After several years of these image-damaging motions, a group of crusty old motorcyclists decided to establish some correct waving standards in 1946. The Wave Hard And True Biker Society were created as a result of their efforts. WHAT-BS is an abbreviation for what-is-wrong-with-you.
How to Wave While Riding a Motorcycle
You’ve probably heard the term “the wave” if you ride a motorcycle. The wave connects you to your motorcycling brothers and sisters on the road, but does it hold a special secret? Did you look up to a wave expert and attempt to imitate their style when you first started riding, or did you develop your own? Have you ever wondered if your wave is correct? Wave training is unfortunately not included in either the basic or advanced motorcycle safety courses.
So there you have it: the five most basic motorcycle waves. Your concerns about not knowing fundamental motorcycle etiquette are unfounded.
To Wave or Not to Wave?
The dilemma is whether to wave or not to wave. We’ve all had the experience of feeling compelled to wave but then being unsure. The anxiety begins, followed by an overpowering sense of guilt. Now you don’t have to be concerned. To assist you, here are some general waving rules:
- On the highway; it’s a waste of time.
- In the rain or at night; unnecessary On a curve; unnecessary
- On a pleasant two-lane road; appropriate
- On a quiet route with little traffic;
- Unnecessary during a rally
- In traffic, it’s pointless.
However, there is some reality to the notion of solidarity. It used to be that Jeep Wrangler owners would wave to one another, but now that practically every other car on the road (and they’re almost always on the road) is a Jeep Wrangler, that practise is fading away. Mazda Miata drivers used to wave at each other, but only while the top was down; this is becoming less popular. Except for your kids, who are curious about the value of your clunky Mazda Miata.
However, motorcycle riders remain a minority on the road, and we value those who share our enthusiasm. A wave of positive affirmation may go a long way towards improving a ride.
Of course, there are some good and bad methods to do it.
• Use your left arm to maintain your right hand on the throttle and be ready for the brake lever, even if you have cruise control. A right-handed wave is a clumsy manoeuvre.
• If you need both hands on the bars, such as when passing through intersections or around corners, don’t even consider waving.
• If you’re waving on a split roadway, at a rally, in traffic, or at night, don’t bother.
• Don’t allow people to misinterpret your wave for a left-turn hand signal. Raise your arm to a 45-degree angle or higher, palm front, one or two fingers extended, or drop it to a 45-degree angle, pointing towards the road. You’re meant to be pointing to the other bike’s tyres and saying, “Keep the rubber side down.” Riders on Gold Wings and other motorcycles with large fairings prefer to point up for improved visibility, whereas cruiser riders tend to point down. Sportbike racers barely remove their hands off the handlebars and flash a finger wave. To everyone his or her own. If you’re going to wave, make sure you wave at all different types of bikes. Don’t be oblivious and only recognise brands or styles that are similar to yours.
• If they’re outside of Quebec, wave to trikes and Can-Am Spyders and Rykers, as their riders have a motorcycle licence. Waving is optional in Quebec, where three-wheeled Can-Ams are authorised to ride with a vehicle licence.
• Don’t wave to Polaris Slingshot drivers, who are likely only licenced to drive a vehicle, unless it’s raining and we’re all in it together.
• Don’t wave to 1 per cent bike gang (unless they wave at you, in which case they’re probably a bunch of dentists with tattoos on their way to Starbucks).
• Do not wave at electric bicycles, especially if their riders are on their way to get their daily beer fix.
• Also, don’t wave at sportbike riders wearing mohawk helmets. They’re completely oblivious to what you’re doing since they’re in their own universe.
• However, if you see a scooter rider, give them a wave. It truly brightens their day.