Editor’s Note:What appears below is a guest blog post from veteran biker Jeff Maddox, who regularly holds court over at the JMAdog blog.
We bikers are a friendly bunch. You’ve seen it a million times during riding season-a wave with the left hand in a show of unity, and as a symbol of the sport we all love. I will say that in the surrounding miles of a rally where motorcyclists gather, the wave can get a little over-done. But I also think that a wave from seasoned riders can be a good thing for new riders who have just started their adventure in motorcycling. From the seat of our motorcycle we don’t know how long the approaching biker has been riding. That biker could be as vintage as we are, or just picking up his new bike from the dealer down the road. So maybe a wave is exactly what he or she needs to welcome them into this world of motorcycling.
We also forget that each and every biker on the road is at a different stage of enthusiasm. For example I have been riding for a while and the wave is something I do on occasion while those who are new to the sport might do just the opposite and wave to each and every biker along the way to the point of exhaustion. Remember, we need those folks. Those new riders with the never ending wave are the future of motorcycling. Sure, after a while they will settle in and relax a bit, but for now let them wave!
I would also like to try something else here in regards to the wave. We should have a campaign to make motorists aware of bikers on the road. I know, there are plenty of campaigns out there, but hear me out. How many of you (while riding your motorcycles) wonder if the driver of the car sees you? I think of this every day. I have the habit of waving at a stopped motorist to see if they wave back. If they don’t wave back, I assume they don’t see me. I also watch the front wheel to see if it is rolling forward just the slightest, and if it is, I’m prepared. But why can’t the motorist wave first? As a biker, I’m already looking AT the motorist to see if they are looking at me. A simple wave from them telling me they see me would be assurance that they are letting me pass in a safe manner.
I take full responsibility for myself when on my Road King, and I assume I’m invisible to anyone on four wheels. So it would benefit everyone to have a wave as a universal sign telling those of us who ride that we are “seen.” I have always hoped that my habit of waving at a stopped vehicle would also convey the message that not all bikers are outlaws. Whether on a sport bike or cruiser, a simple wave at a motorist might give them the impression that we too are contributing to society. And who knows, it might give the motorist who doesn’t ride something to think about if they have always wondered about riding a motorcycle themselves. Maybe the rider that just picked up his or her new bike at the dealership was one of those motorists I waved at previously. They saw me wave and said to themselves “I wish I could ride a motorcycle of my own.” I would like to think they were saying to themselves “that must be Jeff Maddox on his Road King! I read his blog!”
So let’s start today with the National Wave at a Biker Campaign. Let your friends in cages know that as the riding season approaches a wave is all it takes!