15 Must-Know Motorcycle Hand Signals for Group Rides

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You must have seen many gestures and hand signals from motorcyclists in group rides. These hand signals have some meanings.

Initially (I was a beginner), I noticed a fellow motorcyclist tapping his helmet, which I found funny. But, actually, that person was trying to convey that cops are ahead, and I was unaware of that.

Later, I searched for why a motorcycle rider tapped his helmet and learned that motorcyclists use many hand signals to communicate with each other.

If you’re a beginner and joining any motorcycle club in your city, you must be aware of such hand signals. Otherwise, it would be difficult for group rides.

I have prepared 15 popular motorcycle hand signal meanings that will help you in group riding.

15 Important Motorcycle Hand Signals With Images

If you’re joining any motorcycle club for group riding, please memorize these bikers’ secret codes for communicating.

1. Indicate To Turn Left

Left Turn

Generally, motorcycle riders turn on their left indicator light when they have to turn left. But what if his indicator lights have blown? He will use a hand signal to indicate to turn left.

He will make the signal by “extending his left arm straight out with his palm facing down.” This indicates he is taking a left turn, which you must be alert for.

2. Indicate To Turn Right

Right Turn

What will you do if your right indicator light is faulty and you’ve to take a right turn? In some countries, riders extend their right arm, but lifting their right hand from the motorcycle handlebar is unsafe.

There is a biker code hand signal for a right turn. “Bend your elbow 90 degrees, then point your clenched fist at the sky to complete the signal“. Use this signal to break from the group and take the right turn.

3. Indicate To Stop


If you’re a group leader and suddenly press the brake pedal to stop, a chain reaction starts from the first vehicle to the last. It may lead to an accident. There is a biker’s handle signal to stop the motorcycle.

To indicate a stop signal, “bend your arm 90 degrees, keeping your palm open, and pointing your fingers down at the road“. This will let other group members know they must stop the motorcycle.

4. Speed Up

Speed Up

If you’re leading a motorcycle group and want to convey a message to speed up other motorcyclists to match your speed, “extend your arm and swing your palm in an upward direction to give the signal.”

5. Slow Down

Slow Down

If you’re riding your motorcycle in a group and the leader is “extending his arm and swinging the palm down toward the road,” he tells group members to slow down the speed.

6. Follow Me

Follow Me

If someone is “extending his arm forward at the shoulder with the palm facing outward,” he wants to become a self-appointed group leader by segmenting a large group into smaller groups.

7. Turn On Signal

Turn Signal On

If you find another biker who has forgotten to switch off the left blinker (turn on the signal), you can make a “blinking” gesture using your left hand, alternating between extending your fingers and making a fist.

8. I Need Fuel


Is your motorcycle running out of gas? There are certain hand codes to inform the group members you need to fuel up your tank. So that they can stop at the next gas station.

To let know you need fuel, “extend your left arm to the side and point at your fuel tank.” It’s a pretty clear indication that everyone understands.

9. Hazard In Roadways

Hazard in Roadways

If you notice any roadkill, pothole, or hazardous road condition, you must inform other group members to prevent the risk of an accident. There are certain hand signals to warn fellow members about hazards in roadways.

If there is a hazard on your left, point toward the road with your left hand. If the hazard is coming up on your right, point with your right foot.

10. Comfort Stop

Comfort Stop

Back pain is a common issue that every motorcyclist faces for long rides. Riding a motorcycle is not as comfortable as a car. So, a short break after riding 200 to 300 miles will relax your muscles.

To signal your intent for a comfort stop, “extend your left forearm out to your side with your fist closed. Move your forearm up and down in small movements” – just like shaking a can of paint or chain lubricant.

11. Cops Ahead

Cops Ahead

Have you noticed a motorcyclist going in the opposite direction, tapping his helmet with his left palm?

When I first saw this, it looked funny to me. But, when I researched, I found that it’s a secret biker signal to warn that law enforcement is ahead.

So, if a biker taps his helmet with his hand, he is warning that cops are ahead and you should follow the traffic rules.

12. You Lead/Come Forward

You Lead Hand Signal

If someone from your motorcycle group wants to lead, he can indicate with his hand signals. If you see a member’s “arm extended upward at a 45-degree angle and palm forward pointing with the index finger, “ he is telling you to lead the group.

13. Refreshment Stop

Refreshment Stop

If you’re hungry and looking for a snack break, you can indicate your intention to stop at a gas station or restaurant.

Make a “thumbs up” with your left hand and gesture toward your mouth (or the front of your helmet).

14. Single File

Single File

If you’re leading a motorcycle ground and notice a single lane ahead, “extend your left index finger and bend your arm up to the sky.” It’s a warning signal that narrow roads are ahead, and all must fit in a single line.

15. Double File

Double File Hand Signal

If a wider road ahead, “bend your left arm at the elbow and point to the sky with your index and middle fingers.” This indicates a double file.

Why Do Motorcycle Riders Point To The Ground?

When a motorcyclist points his left hand to the ground, it indicates hazardous roadways on the left side. But you should ensure that he has pointed his index finger and the rest are folded. If the rider has extended his left arm and palm facing down, it indicates he is taking a left turn.

Why Do Motorcycle Riders Tap Their Helmets?

If you see a “motorcycle rider tapping his helmet, it indicates cops are ahead,” and he is warning you to drive appropriately. It’s a common biker code to inform other motorcyclists.

Why Do Motorcycle Riders Point Two Fingers Down?

When motorcycle riders point two fingers down while passing another rider, it shows respect. It means “Hello! Stay safe and keep both wheels on the ground.” This is a way to express that the rider wants the other rider to be safe while riding.

What Is Hand Signal For Cops On A Motorcycle?

In the United States and other parts of the world, bikers use hand signals to communicate with each other in group rides. If you see law enforcement (cops) ahead and want to warn other members, tap your helmet several times with your left palm. Other members will understand it.

What Does It Mean When A Biker Puts His Fist Up?

If you see a rider in front of you put his fist up, it indicates he is taking a right turn. Because he can’t extend his right arm from the handlebar (increases the risk of accident), that’s why he folds his arm at a 90° angle.

What Does It Mean When A Biker Sticks His Leg Out?

If a biker in MotoGP racing sticks his leg out closer toward the ground on the corner, it means he is shifting his center of gravity to balance the motorcycle.

It increases air resistance to make it easier to enter a corner and to prevent an inside overtake by a rival.

However, if a motorcyclist points his right foot toward the ground, it indicates there is a hazardous road on the right side.

What Does It Mean When A Biker Puts His Helmet On The Ground?

If you see a biker has put his helmet on the ground, it’s an international signal that his motorcycle has broken and he needs help. If you’re passing nearby and find a biker has put his helmet on the ground, you should come forward and help him.


I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. These are some common hand signals that motorcyclists use to communicate with others. If you’re a beginner, you should remember these bikers’ safe ride codes.

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