I’ll answer the “social” rules of riding, mainly geared to MC’s and RC’s, since the “safety” rules of riding have already been well covered.
Approaching the Pack
Packs of bikes should be treated as one big vehicle, or at least a tight group of vehicles. Never cut in, ride through, ride alongside, or otherwise disrupt a pack if you can help it. It’s better to pass them safely or fall behind them.
Corollary 1: Don’t join a pack unless invited by the Road Captain or the President (they’ll be the riders up front).
Corollary 2: This also goes for parked bikes – clubs park by rank as well as ride by rank, and an outsider’s bike among the club’s bikes pisses them off. Park someplace else away from theirs.
Organized Bike Runs
On organized runs, you’ll get a safety briefing by a Road Captain, and get staged by the people putting on the run. Don’t decide you prefer to be up front or moving around within the formation; ride in the formation position you’re assigned.
Corollary: Organized runs are not for showing off. ALWAYS ride safely around other riders. Pay attention to the safety briefing, and follow it.
Respect the Property of Others
Never sit, lean against, or pose your lover on someone else’s ride. It’s disrespectful, no matter how small the bikini is. Taking pictures of a pretty bike is usually OK, but if anyone’s nearby, ask first.
Never diss someone’s bike. It may be a classic that needs a little TLC, or it may very well be a rat bike that they are well aware of its shortcomings but it’s all they can afford. Besides, there’s enough Us vs. Them when it comes to bike brands.
Common Sense Parking
Never lock your bike to someone else’s, unless you’re riding together and there’s no way the other person leaves without you.
Never block another bike in with yours. Park so that anyone can leave without having to move another bike out of their way. This also applies to how close you park – if they can’t stand their ride up off the sidestand without bumping your motorcycle, you’re too damn close!
A courtesy when parking in a standard automobile space is to either:
A) park to one side or the other to leave room for another bike
B) back your bike in perpendicular to the curb so that several bikes will fit in the space.
Never park your bike so that it blocks a sidewalk or a handicap space/ramp zone, a fire door, a dumpster, gate or utility door, or other safety or accessibility feature.
Most businesses are cool with bikes parked in pedestrian areas, as long as they’re not in anyone’s way. If in doubt, park in a normal space, then find a manager and ask, and then if the answer is yes, move your bike to the optimal spot.
People put patches on their Kutte (battle vest) to express themselves, but that doesn’t mean they want you to analyze them or get into a debate.
Read the patches, smile, and move on.
(If a biker’s old lady has a lot of patches on her kutte, you probably should read hers in small doses – staring is a Bad Thing!)
Anyone with the word “Prospect” on their kutte is doing their best to earn a place in a club. That means their priority is doing what that club needs them to do. They aren’t at your beck and call because they’re a Prospect and you’re not.
Unless you’re a patched member of the same club, you’re not anyone’s “bro”. That’s a relationship you earn, not one you get when you buy a motorcycle.
STOLEN VALOR is a big deal, so wearing any kind of service patch (military, first responder, or another club) that you haven’t earned is a big no no. I have ONE “SAR” based patch on my kutte, because I used to volunteer for a Search and Rescue team. I earned that orange stripe. (Exception: If you’re the son, daughter, parent, or spouse of a first responder, veteran/active military, or club member, most riders will understand if you’ve a couple of patches supporting your family member.)
These apply doubly for 1%’er MC groups (the three-rocker kutte types). These are the folks who have zero tolerance for bullshit, and don’t believe in calling someone else in to iron out any disagreements. Most of them will simply stomp your ride (and/or you) rather than discuss what you did wrong and give you an opportunity to make it right.
Acknowledging Other Riders
Feel free to wave to other riders, but don’t get miffed if they don’t wave back. (If you get the middle finger, think about how you’re riding, there -may- be a reason!)
Most of these distil down to the following:
Most bikers (even the 1%ers) are mellow, cool, and considerate with other mellow, cool, and considerate people. The ones that aren’t, are pretty easy to spot, they’ll be the loud and arrogant types, that you’d probably prefer to avoid anyway.
, I’ve ridden motorcycles across country for 15 years.
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Thank you for visiting Haul N Ride. Dave