There is a variety of gestures riders can use to signal to people in their pack or other riders sharing the same route that make riding safer and more effective.
Apart from hand gestures, you can use your leg, the motorcycle horn or your headlights.
Before reading further on, click here to read about the various hand signals and click here for advice about flashing your headlights to warn of an incident or police ahead.
New hand signal
On our recent tour of Italy with Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours, we have seen a number of new signals, some from the locals and some from an American rider in our group.
Victoria Zandonella, a blogger with Ride-NewEngland.com and a regular off-road tour group leader, is obsessive about helping other riders in the pack with her clear hand and foot signals.
She does all the usual signals to indicate turns, potholes, loose gravel, etc.
But she also has a great signal for telling following riders that it is safe to pass.
In Italy and many countries where the roads can be crowded, you do a lot of passing, so it’s been very helpful with our progress.
Once she has passed a vehicle, she indicates the road ahead is clear for others to pass by putting her arm out straight with a clenched fist.
Then she drops her arm if a vehicle is approaching.
It’s a great system … but it only in countries where they ride on the right!
You can’t use your right arm to do the same in Australia, UK, New Zealand and other left-drive countries because you need to use it for the throttle. (Unless of course you have cruise control!)
I’ve usually indicated to mates following that the road is clear by giving them a beckoning wave or a thumb’s up with my left hand.
But it’s not very clear.
Whatever signal you provide, it should be discussed first with your travelling mates.
It demands a high level of trust in each other and a high level of responsibility and care taken by each rider.
But it is very effective in making good progress through traffic on your favourite road.