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I found this site from a link. They are in the US, but I think they are trying to go international. It seems like something to look into for Europe, too, judging by this thread. (The US has long been fragmented within the biker community), as well as hostile traffic from 4 wheeled vehicles.
In many instances the wave is merely a matter of numbers, the more bikers you encounter, the less likely you are to wave. The same thing happens with cage drivers in Australia, as you get further away from the cities and into the outback, people start waving as you go past and are more likely to stop and help if you are broken down.
I think what you say about europe is interesting as I find I get hardly any waves in Europe. These days, when over there, I don't bother waving till someone waves at me.
As to the 'fragmentation' of the biking community I'm not sure that is right. On my big traillie I get the same number of waves from all types of biker, except possibly a FEW more from other guys on the de riguer 'adv' bikes (GSs, Tigers, V-Stroms etc.) especially when I have me boxes on!
Among sports bike/cruiser/road tourer the response is similar.
I have also found round these parts, that while most bikers will pass a stranded biker, a critical few will always slow/stop to see if you are OK.
Waving is more prevelant in the North too, in my experience.
Matt, I guess this just shows that it is probably a very subjective thing we are talking about here. My own recent experience, mainly in Iberia, and on both my sports bike and off road bike is that more or less everybody gives you a wave as you pass by - from scooters to superbikes. Luckily i haven't had the need of roadside assistence ( I ride Hondas!). Last time I rode in England there seemed to be a very cliquey thing going on, very tribal and exclusive. It was not what I remembered whilst living and riding in England. Maybe I am looking at the past through rose-tinted spectacles.
If you want to wave go ahead. If you are going to worry about them waving back perhaps this is showing just a tad of insecurity.
Hi Riq, think your missing the point. I don’t think its an issue of insecurity, I think its an issue of manners, I don’t go home and cry myself to sleep or suffer from the Oprah, Montel, Trisha disease of “low self esteem” because I did not get a wave, I consider myself to be a pretty grounded sort of person. It’s too easy to label people in this way.
It costs nothing to be polite, what I am concerned about is that fact that ten years ago everyone seemed to acknowledge each other and help each other out, it isn’t just a wave it’s an acknowledgement of a shared interest or common bond that extends beyond what piece of kit you have just bought or what machine you ride. However IMHO this is dying out which is a pity.
The day when motorcyclists regard each other as just another road user will be a sad day indeed.
Now I am going off to have a cry and eat some chocolate. Cheers - Greg
The closer to London you are ,the less likely you are to get a nod or a wave. So many here ride through pure practicality. You won't even get an acknowledgment when you are stopped at the lights together. In France bikers will wave or stick a foot out, without exception. In South America absolutely everyone waves which is one of the reasons I love it so much!
How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda
I must agree that things have changed with the wave and even with stopping to help. I think it is kind of funny that the people I see the most broken down at the side of the road are also the same people on the Harleys that are too cool to wave.
It is definitely a function of how many other bikes there are on the road and where you are. Near major urban centres, with loads of bikes it's more difficult to get the return wave but out in the sticks more common. Same thing for the stop to help. We just returned from a trip up to Inuvik, which by most definitions is pretty remote. Every single biker waved back and most automobile drivers did too. We stopped by the side of the road for a break, eating a plum, and people (cars and bikes) would stop and see if we were OK. Here at home, near Calgary, I may or may not get people to stop no matter what's wrong.
By the way, whenever I see a European motorhome with Euro plates (here in North America) I always wave and I usually get a return. Hey, they're travellers too!
In my experience you still get lots of waves in France (outside of big towns).
Also I would like to clarify the "rules" as it seems from the above that there is a bit of confusion:
You wave (with your left hand) to say "Hello"
You stick your (normally right) leg out to say "Thank you" - especially when cars etc... get a bit out of the way so that you can overtake, it is the custom to stick a leg out to say Thanks once the overtake is done!
I've had to explain many times to my french friends why UK riders never say "thank you" when cars get out of the way to let bikers overtake. Some of my friends even told me that if they realise that the biker behind is from the UK, they won't make it easier for the biker to overtake as they are "so rude". I had to explain that things are just different in the big Island! so please if someone in France position themselves so that it is easier for you to overtake, don't forget the "leg signal"!
It may have something to do with traffic today.
As the previous posters wrote, waving is less near big cities.
When I am driving in dense traffic near a big city, I have all my attention on the road in the direction/lane I'm driving and sometimes I notice the biker in the opposite lane to late to wave back.
This has nothing to do with lack of respect so please, don't take it to personal (don't go complain to Oprah ;-)
On a two lane countryroad, I always wave back because I notice the other biker in time.
I don't think it has anything to do with the kind of bike you ride. I have been riding all kinds of bikes, Harley's, GoldWings, BMW's, Yamaha's and even an Russian Ural and I did not notice any difference in waving back.
On Harley forums, members complain that GoldWing riders don't wave back, on GoldWing forums the Harley riders don't wave back etc.
When I see a stranded rider, I always try to stop to offer help but the same as with waving, in big city or freeway traffic, it is not always possible to stop in time on a safe way so then I hope the next biker will stop.
Also I think that a lot of "new motorcycle riders" don't know that habbit until someone tells them.
Well, maybe I can wave to some of you on the road to the Belgian meeting next month (and maybe even shake hands and have a :-)
I'm getting waves from car drivers as well. and from time to time from bystanders. but the most rememberd was a policeman on a honda in Egypt 3 years ago,He waved and I waved him back and went on. 10 km later I was stopped by another one, saying I had to spot when I was waved at
I have just spent the summer in Lincolnshire and had a mixed reaction from the Yellowbellies. I actually found that most bikers nodded rather than waved.
I have a few questions for those who ride regularly in the UK.
Is a nod the same as a wave in terms of greeting?
Is a quick flash of the headlight OK, as a lazy option, or does it indicate something else and possibly annoy riders?
How far down the c.c. scale should I take my friendliness? I don’t think I’m a snob but I didn’t wave to the numerous oncoming mopeds and scooters unless I couldn’t tell what they were. Then when they passed I felt a bit silly. Any pointers?
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