Biker Etiquette

Biker Wave

You’ve all seen it; two motorcyclists driving past each other on a roadway acknowledge and wave to each other as they pass.  It’s usually a below-the-shoulder hand meant to acknowledge the other rider, affirm a common bond as motorcycle aficionados, and a well-meaning wish to “keep the rubber side down,” or “ride safe.”

It’s near universal; every biker does it.  Except in Florida.

In Florida, there is a subset of bikers who form cliques where the clique rules don’t allow them to wave at other bikers who don’t ride the exact same kind of bike they ride.  Crotch-rockets will only wave to other riders of crotch-rockets.  Harley-Davidson riders will wave only to other Harleys.

It’s weird; when John and I rode to Kentucky earlier in the summer all bikers, regardless of the kind of bike they rode, were respectful and courteous to each other and they all observed the social conventions that bikers share.  Namely, they all waved as they rode past.

Why is Florida different?  Why do we have strange, elite, biker groups?  The only answer I have is that in Florida, more than most states, bike choice is also a cultural indicator and, in Florida, cultural boundaries are more prominent than other states because of the sheer diverse population we have.

You know the clichés.  They wouldn’t be cliché if there weren’t some element of truth to them:

  • Hispanics favor the crotch rocket.
  • Young riders favor the crotch rocket.
  • Mid-life Crisis people prefer a Harley and all the gear
  • Rednecks prefer the Harley and no extra gear.

The list goes on – but you get my meaning.  Bike choice, in Florida, is often an indicator of social or cultural status.

This makes me sad – that bikers would prejudice themselves against or ignore other bikers based on what kind of bike they ride.  That sweeping judgments against an entire class of riders are made because of what they choose to ride.

Riding a motorcycle has always been a form of brotherhood for those of us who ride.  I hate the fact that this brotherhood is cheapened by prejudice in Florida.


  1. The Rules of Motorcycle Waving | The Binary Biker - April 16, 2012

    […] wrote a post a while back about “Biker Etiquette.”  In it, I cried foul on Florida riders for waving based on “cliques” or bike […]

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