Motorcycle Hand Signals Riders Should Know | Agawam, MA | V&F Auto

The Top Motorcycle Hand Signals You Need to Know

Motorcycle Hand Signals and How to Use Them

Motorcycle Hand Signals 101

If you plan on performing any kind of motorcycle riding, you'll need to know how to use the proper hand signals before jumping on the road, as these are critical in assisting riders to communicate with one another while riding. Even if you don't plan on leading a ride anytime soon, you may need to learn the hand signals used by the group leader, especially if you or another member of the group is riding without a motorbike communication system.

Below, we will take a look at some of the most common hand signals used among motorcycle riders to educate you on what to expect while riding your motorcycle. If you live in the Agawam, Massachusetts, area and are in dire need of certified motorcycle repair, come visit the experts at V&F Auto Inc. today.

Nine Motorcycle Hand Signals You Should Know

Here are nine motorcycle hand signals you need to know before hitting the road:

Left Turn

This is one of the most basic motorbike signals to learn, and it's a fantastic place to start. This hand signal can be used to direct the group if you're leading, or it can signify that you're breaking away if you're following. Simply stretch your left arm straight out from your body with the palm facing down to signify a left turn.

Right Turn

This hand signal can either direct other riders or notify them of the fact that you're breaking off. Since motorcyclists control their speed with their right hand's throttle, thus they can't easily extend their right arm to signal, or they'll slow down, extend your left arm, bend your elbow upward at a 90-degree angle, and make a clenched fist with your left hand to signal a right turn.

Speed UpWhen riding a motorcycle, you should aim to travel somewhat quicker than the traffic around you. For less-experienced groups, this can be an issue; thus, a more experienced group leader should use the "speed up" signal to instruct the group to match the leader's speed. This signal is executed by extending your arm out with your palm up and then swinging it upwards.

Slow Down

Because braking on a motorcycle does not engage the brake light, it's essential to explain when you're utilizing engine braking to slow your bike rather than tapping the brakes. Extend your arm, palm down, as if marking a left turn, and then swing your arm down repeatedly to suggest to other riders they should begin slowing down. It's a good idea to signal everyone to slow down before you reach a corner that isn't marked, but you know it might be a hairpin turn that everyone is going too fast for.


The "stop" signal entails a little uncomfortable action, but it's not too difficult to master. With your palm open and fingers pointing toward the ground, extend your left arm at a right angle to your body. If you're riding with a large group, other riders should repeat the signal until everyone is aware of the impending stop.

Roadway Hazard

If you're leading a group ride or have other riders following you, it's a good idea to point out road dangers as you pass them. This could be roadkill, big potholes, oil pools, or a gravel patch in a curve. Depending on whether the hazard is to the left or right of the signaler, there are two ways to signal a roadway hazard. To indicate a roadway hazard, point diagonally at the ground with your left arm to indicate a roadway hazard on the left, or stick out your right leg from your bike to signal a roadway hazard on the right.

Follow Me

This hand signal is used to introduce a new group leader, who is often self-appointed. It can also be used to divide a huge group into smaller groups. You can also use this signal to split a larger group into smaller ones, but make sure you figure out which group members should follow which leader ahead of time. Extend your arm forward at the shoulder, palm facing outward, to signal other riders to follow you.

Comfort/Refreshment Stop

This hand signal is used when you need to take a break to stretch your legs or indicate whether you'll be stopping at a nearby gas station or a restaurant. For this signal, extend your left hand and shake your fist up and down and make a thumbs-up sign with your left hand and place your thumb on the visor of your helmet.

Pull Off

This signal indicates a potentially dangerous problem that requires you to pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible. Swing your finger in an arc above your head to the right after pointing up and to the left. This signal should only be used for circumstances that require immediate attention.

Although most motorcyclists learn motorcycle hand gestures as part of their motorcycle license exams, they are frequently forgotten and rarely used when they are needed. If you’re getting ready to hit the road on your motorcycle, be sure to brush up on your hand signals so you know how to communicate with other riders you might come across.

If you own a motorcycle or are a motorcycle enthusiast, you understand the value of routine motorcycle repair. At V&F Auto Inc., we understand this, too, which is why our team of certified motorcycle repair experts is ready to inspect your motorcycle and identify any potential problems with your ride with certified maintenance services.

Give us a call or come see us today, conveniently located in Agawam, Massachusetts, for motorcycle repair services you can trust.

Written by Nicole Palange