You booked your theory test online and passed it with flying colours. You took your practical and breezed through it without a blemish. There’s still a lot to learn, though, including the challenges of navigating and dealing with all the weird scenarios that happen as part of daily real-life driving.
One important thing that your test absolutely won’t have prepared you for is the proper etiquette and decorum of being a motorcyclist. These are some of the rules you need to follow in order not to be an obnoxious twerp and to make the world a little bit better to ride in.
1. Eyes Only
Chances are that you love motorbikes of all colours and shapes and sizes. From the weediest moped to the most muscular super bike, every bike has its charms. But just because you appreciate the quirks and lines of someone else’s bike and you’re part of the club, doesn’t mean that you have the right to touch or sit on it. The chances are that you’d feel pretty offended if a stranger waltzed up and started fiddling with your bike, so don’t do it to others. Never, ever, touch someone’s bike without their permission.
2. Don’t Compete
Motorcycles are fun, exciting beasts. They make you feel young and alive, free from constraints. Just remember not to let that get the better of you. If you come up behind someone and are riding faster than them, don’t roar past them at a distance of inches in a fury of speed and burning rubber. Remember that you were slow and nervous once, so slow down and wait for them to acknowledge you. Chances are that they’ll move to one side and wave you on and you’ll both feel good about it. Overtaking in a fit of competitive exuberance causes accidents.
3. Be Part Of The Fellowship
Motorcyclists are very much a minority on our busy roads and it’s part of the etiquette to acknowledge fellow club members. Sometimes that can be a bit tricky to figure how to wave or whether you need to greet every member of a group, but on the whole if someone makes the effort to nod or gesture to you, return the courtesy. We’re all in it together.
The second part of being part of a wider group who love all things two-wheeled with a motor is to help out your comrades when they’re in trouble. If someone’s clearly having mechanical problems at the side of the road, see if you can help them out. A lot of riders have hands-on experience in resolving faults, which you might one day benefit from if you have a breakdown of your own. So lend a hand if you can.
There are many other habits and manners to learn on your way to becoming an experienced and considerate motorcyclist. As a general rule, follow the Golden Rule: do to others how you would be done to, and you won’t go too far wrong. Enjoy!