Motorcycle riding can be fun and a great way to unwind! First, research various brands of motorcycles before deciding to purchase a bike. Once the bike has been purchased, the rider should learn to operate the motorcycle safely and skillfully. The motorcycle owner should be knowledgeable on some basic maintenance tasks to assure the bike continues to run properly. In addition to skillful riding and motorcycle upkeep, riders should abide by the following six commandments of motorcycle etiquette:
- Thou Shalt Assist Other Bikers: Protocol regulates that bikers assist other riders that appear to be broken down on the side of the highway. Etiquette states that bikers help other bikers in trouble.
- Greet Fellow Bikers with the Brotherhood Wave: Dropping the clutch hand from the handle and extending the hand low parallel to the ground is the preferred greeting when passing another motorcycle. Sometimes one, two or three fingers maybe extended aimed towards the pavement. However, a nod or a wave is also acceptable. A rider should greet other bikers regardless of the brand of motorcycle. A wave is not necessary at night, in the rain, interstate, heavy traffic or at a rally.
- Do Not Covet Thy Brother's Parking Space: It is acceptable to share the same parking space when riding with a group. Otherwise, do not park in a parking space where another motorcycle has already parked.
- Be Courteous When Passing: Wait for a passing lane to overtake a slower biker. However, in areas where it is okay to pass in the same lane, if a slower moving biker waves you to pass and there is plenty of room in the same lane. Remember that lane splitting is illegal in many states.
- Obey Red Lights and Stop Signs: When approaching another biker at a red light or stop sign, stop behind the first bike to either side of the motorcycle so that the bike may be clearly seen by the first rider. Pulling out suddenly and accelerating may result in an accident.
- Thou Shalt Respect Thy Neighbor's Motorcycle: Do not trash talk someone else’s motorcycle regardless of the condition of the bike. Never ask to take someone else’s bike for a ride.
*Photo courtesy of Motorcycle by Sea Thames, New Zealand by Simon Smith at Flickr's Creative Commons.