Here’s What that Cryptic-Looking Biker Wave Actually Means

Motorcycle season never ends in some states, however, as Spring approaches all 50 states will soon get its share of motorcycle enthusiasts on road trips or weekend getaways in small groups or big gatherings lasting into the Fall.

Bikers are in a club of their own even if they don’t know each other and that club includes a private wave. It’s called the biker wave and it’s pretty simple.


According to the Riding Without Reason website, motorcyclists put out their left hand at a 45-degree angle or so below the handlebars at hip or knee height and stick out the index and middle fingers like a horizontal peace sign.

This biker wave is 100 years old and started by, you guessed it, William Harley and Arthur Davidson who are the creators of Harley Davidson motorcycles of course.

There are three other waves as well that aren’t nearly as common.

Low Palm Wave

According to Motor Biscuit, some riders prefer to put their entire palm out instead of two fingers keeping that same, low height.

3-Finger Wave

Meanwhile ‘trikes’ which are motorcycles with three wheels sometimes receive a three-finger wave that includes the thumb or ring finger.

Fist Wave

A left fist in the air according to the website Big Bike Reviews where the elbow is bent at 90° is to show solidarity and support for social justice causes and the motorcycle culture.

However, as I mentioned above, the two-finger wave is by far the most common. So what does this cryptic-looking wave mean exactly?

Two fingers are a way to say ‘Hey my two-wheel friend, stay safe and keep two wheels on the ground’ according to Riding Without Reason. If two wheels aren’t on the ground chances are the biker is crashing or already crashed.

All motorcycle waves are truly a gesture to communicate support and camaraderie,  often dedicated to just true motorcycles from crotch-rockets to custom-built ones versus something like a moped according to Big Bike Reviews.

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