Be Safe and Signal to Others

Gearing up for another motorcycle trip? Before you rumble off into the sunset, put on the brake and consider that the majority of motorcycle accidents often boil down to one simple issue: inexperience. This is why MotorEagles is offering a quick reference guide for a few of the most commonly used motorcycle hand signals. While not all encompassing, these signals are often life saving, either while riding alone or in a pack.

Left Turn

Although it’s a rather simple gesture, many motorcycle users fail to use it, which means they fail to be safe. To signal a left turn, raise your left arm horizontally with the elbow fully extended.

Right Turn

For a right turn, drivers should extend the left arm and bend the elbow 90 degrees vertically until your arm looks like an “L.”

Slow Down

To signal to other riders to slow down, extend the left arm at a 45-degree angle and move your hand up and down.


Extend left arm at a 45-degree angle and face your palm rearward.

Single File

This motorcycle hand signal requires a rider to position the left hand over his or her helmet and extend a finger upward. Attentive riders should fall in a single file line.

Staggered Formation

When it’s safe to return to a staggered formation, a pack leader should extend the left arm upward with the index and pinkie fingered extended.


Motorcycle hand signals vary for hazards depending on the location of danger. When a hazard is on the left, extend your left arm at a 45-degree angle and point toward the hazard. When the hazard is on the right, perform the same arm motion but with the right arm.

When you’re riding in a group, make sure everyone knows the hand signals as well as to convey them back through the group so everyone knows what is going on. Now that you know most of the proper motorcycle hand signals, also remember to use caution when driving with one hand. There may be instances when it is not safe for you to signal, so use your best judgment on the road.


Source: “Group Riding Hand Signals” I Ride My Own, accessed July 26, 2013.

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