WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Waving to bikes, waving to cars

By James - 4/11/2005

I was out driving home from a hike with the dog and had the windows down, both me and the dog were cooling down on a warm and sunny spring day. She had her head out the window and I was wishing I could do the same but for the wellbeing of both of us I just dangled my left arm out. Rumbling down the road towards me were two cruisers and as they got close I instinctually waved. As soon as I did it alarm bells went off in my head. “You are driving a Civic, dummy!” my inner voice yelled.

I was reading a survey, You Are What You Ride, about motorcycle behaviors commissioned by an insurance company. There is a section in there about waving to other riders. Now I know this gets a lot of discussion about who waves to who, everybody seems to feel left out by another group of riders. I don’t really feel like writing about that. I want to talk about waving to cars.

Back to the two bikers I waved to from my car; they didn’t wave back. Maybe they didn’t see me, maybe they don’t wave to cars, or maybe they just don’t wave to anybody. I wondered how I would have reacted if I was on that motorcycle. I have never had a car do the oncoming-wave-thing to me. But I do know I have waved to cars. I do it as an an acknowlegement for a good deed rather than a “what’s up". I can’t always wave when someone does something good, because it is more important at the time to work the clutch, but I try to reinforce good cager behavior when I can.

A lot of us make sure cars know when they make a mistake, but how many of us acknowledge a car moving over for us or yeilding the right of way? We have a hard enough time converting cagers to biker-friendly cagers, which makes it doubly important to keep those biker-friendly drivers happy with bikers. We should make these drivers feel like their actions are not in vain and, at least for a moment, that they are a friend of the biker family.

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