I’VE BEEN SAYING TO MYSELF FOR YEARS I WOULD NOT WRITE ABOUT THE MOTORCYCLE “WAVE.” On the one hand – at least in North America – it’s a fine symbol of the brotherhood experienced by riders of all ages, races, religions, creeds, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. On the other hand, it can be tiring in areas where there are lots of motorcyclists. And of course, at certain times, it’s downright dangerous (like when riding around turns, or any instant when a rider wouldn’t feel confident about taking a hand off the handlebars, or for an inexperienced rider at any time).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m actually one of those guys who does wave to other riders – the majority of the time. And much of the time, I enjoy the simple acknowledgment to other riders, some whom I may see regularly on mutually and routinely traveled roads (although never having met them except in passing as we travel in opposite directions). But mostly I wave to riders I may never see again.
The reason I have not wanted to write about this is because, to me, to wave or not to wave is really a personal preference and, from my perspective, if you’re going to do so, it should be based on common sense. In other words, even if you are of the persuasion to wave to other riders, it’s smarter not to wave if doing so might endanger yourself or the other rider(s) you are waving to.
Hence, it just doesn’t seem like a topic that would warrant much contemplation.
But, I can imagine there are those sticklers who would argue that one should NEVER take their hand off the handlebars at any time, due to safety concerns. Although I like to consider myself somewhat of a motorcycle safety advocate, I’m not in the sticklers’ camp. Yet, I would argue that anyone who lacks the personal self-assurance about taking one hand off their handlebar, even for a fleeting moment, should definitely not do so.
One remark I might note is a change I’ve observed over the decades. Back in the 70’s, it appeared to me then that there were certain bikers who would only wave to other riders who rode machines similar to what they were personally riding. Although it would not be true to say that such a bias no longer exists, personally, it seems like nowadays there are more riders willing to wave to other riders, regardless of their machines.
Having said all that, I’m older now, and my recollections may be somewhat influenced by the perspective that all riders should be able to get along, regardless of what brand of motorbike they might be riding on any given day. Despite such sentiments and much more to the point of this article, I don’t really care one way or the other who waves to who and for what reasons. I’d rather just ride and be friendly as it fits the circumstances.