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 Helmet as distress signal
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Dogugotw
Male Standard Member
117 Posts


Bristol, NH
USA

Kawasaki

2011 Kawisaki EX650R

Posted - 06/30/2006 :  11:49 AM
Never heard of it. Of course, that's not necessarily unusual. I've always ridden alone and never knew many other folks who rode so there are a bunch of things I'm now learning through the MSF courses, the forum, and 'Proficient Motorcycling'.

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Mydlyfkryzis
Senior Member
274 Posts
[Mentor]


West Milford, NJ
USA

Honda

1991 Nighthawk 750

Posted - 06/30/2006 :  7:50 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Mikeydude


Like I said, I only mentioned it wondering if there is a difference between sports-riders and cruisers in this sort of topic.



There are other types of bikes. Why is it only Sports bikes and cruisers? My Nighthawk is neither. I assume some Dual Sport riders feel left out too.

Having said that, I vaguely remembered the helmet being a help signal when Jim mentioned it, but didn't remember before that.

If so few know it, it prolly isn't as useful as it once was.
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Revdsky
Male Junior Member
39 Posts


Paducah, KY
USA

Kawasaki

'10 Vulcn Nomad 1700

Posted - 07/01/2006 :  11:35 AM
Never heard of it. Usually, around here, you can tell if someone's having trouble because they're kicking dirt and gravel...
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alignm2
Male Junior Member
97 Posts
[Mentor]


potomac, md
USA

Yamaha

v-star

Posted - 07/23/2006 :  6:58 PM
This seemed familiar and when I checked my old MSF basic course notes, there it was! I have never had to use it (thank God) and I guess it just slipped away. I wonder if one were to put their helmet next to the front tire if they would get lots of bikers and/or cagers stopping by to check them out. Has anyone used this device (is this a devise?) in a time of personal peril?
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Harry
Junior Member
91 Posts


Suffern, NY
USA

Honda

1983 V65 Magna

Posted - 08/18/2006 :  12:57 AM
I tried this today, and counted 15 bikes go by in about an hour. No one stopped. Kind of bothers me, because one of the guys who went by I had been speaking to not ten minutes before at a rest stop. I mentioned to the cop that I placed my helmet on the ground, thinking this was a known signal, and other bikers would stop to help. He said he'd been riding more than ten years, and never heard of such a thing.

I ended up spending $180 for a tow, and it turned out to be a vaccuum line that came loose, which I found within 60 seconds of unloading it from the truck.
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Thom Thumb
Advanced Member
1594 Posts
[Mentor]


Jordan, MN
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster XL883

Posted - 08/18/2006 :  8:48 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Harry

. . . I ended up spending $180 for a tow, and it turned out to be a vaccuum line that came loose, which I found within 60 seconds of unloading it from the truck.



Ouch! That's a pretty steep tuition payment to the school of hard knocks.

As to the riders who went on by . . . seems to me, there are a lot of new riders, who maybe don't know much about motorcycling - let alone cycle etiquette. Before reading about signs and signals on this site, I had no clue (except for the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign, of course).

Live to Ride. Ride to Live.

TT
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biggunbob
Male Standard Member
139 Posts


parma, OH
USA

Harley-Davidson

electraglide classic

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  5:39 PM
I heard it and saw it in print somewhere(?) Some of my friends know about it also....just another reason to use a helmet when riding.
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  6:05 PM
Even if only a third of people who ever rode know about the signal, there is still a pretty good chance someone in a cage who is or was a rider will stop pretty quickly.

Remember when a white handkerchief on the door handle was a distress signal? Then there were the litterboxes with help written on them. Gee, I'm getting old. That has been a long time.
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Speedmaster07
Senior Member
287 Posts


Los Angeles, CA
USA

Triumph

Speedmaster

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 04/26/2008 :  2:45 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rioguy

Remember when a white handkerchief on the door handle was a distress signal?

Or the radio antenna. No longer valid, because most people don't carry handkerchiefs anymore (I'm one of the few).

quote:
Then there were the litterboxes with help written on them. Gee, I'm getting old. That has been a long time.


Litterboxes?

The jumper cables I carry in my car are stored in flat, circular vinyl pouch that has directions for use printed on one side, and HELP in large letters on the other. Won't help me on my bike. Good thing I have AAA motorcycle assistance coverage.
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Cat-woman
Female Standard Member
234 Posts


Radcliff, KY
USA

(None)

Posted - 07/07/2008 :  2:20 PM
As a newbie this caught my eye. I had never heard of this and have a few family memeber that ride.

Now I am wondering if MSF will teach standard curtisy signs. I have seen the "wave" many times but aside from it being a "hey, fellow biker" I don't understand it. Is there a particular direction for the hand, angle for the arm, etc.

Perhaps this would be better posted elsewhere--a better place within the forum. I will look.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 07/07/2008 :  10:18 PM
I ran out of gas once, years ago, in the middle of nowhere, and that signal (helmet by the front wheel) got me a gallon of free gas from a guy who was driving a pickup truck who happened to be a rider. He wouldn't even let me pay him for the gas, about a quarters worth back then.
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Leaky
Male Junior Member
91 Posts
[Mentor]


San Diego, Ca
USA

Harley-Davidson

XL1200C, FLHTCUI

Posted - 07/21/2009 :  12:48 AM
I had some time to kill while testing out my packing job for my cross country trip this Friday while taking a break on our local back roads.

I tried the helmet on the ground distress signal for half an hour with the bucket by the front wheel, and then the back for another half hour.Only a handful of drivers slowed or stopped to see if I was ok.

I then placed the helmet on the dirt shoulder (well back from the bike) laying on it's side for another half hour. The result was simply amazing! The majority of drivers slowed and looked, (free helmet perhaps?) and about half of them stopped to see if I was ok. Interesting........... Looks perhaps a little psychology might be one of the tricks.

DISCLAIMER

This was in no way a scientific study, for I am too busy enjoying my retirement, and I cannot guarantee the accuracy and effectiveness of my results, lol.

Bruce
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 07/26/2015 :  4:46 PM
I know this is an old thread but, the subject just came up in another forum that I frequent. The last post in this thread was 2009. It is now 2015 and I must admit that I didn't know of the helmet on the ground signal myself till today. Has there been any progress on making this a universal signal?

BTW I have always used the thumbs-up to question if a rider is needs help and look for a thumb response from them.

Edited by - commonground on 07/26/2015 8:23 PM
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 07/27/2015 :  8:06 AM
quote:
Originally posted by commonground

I must admit that I didn't know of the helmet on the ground signal myself till today. Has there been any progress on making this a universal signal?
No.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 07/27/2015 :  10:42 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I've always heard that placing the helmet behind the rear wheel is a sign for "need help". Doesn't matter to me...if I see a bike on the side of the road, I always slow down or stop to see if they need help. Usually, if I slow down and start to pull over and the other person doesn't need help, they'll usually wave me on. Most of the time, I'll stop for a breather anyway.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 07/27/2015 :  11:26 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
A helmet by the bike signal wouldn't help much here. Rare to see a rider with a helmet at all.

Lately, I slow down for a rider at the side of the toad, only to find they stopped to take a phone call.

I can see the day when riders simply assume a bike on the side of the road is taking a call. This day and age, bikes aren't breaking down like they used to. Maybe phone users should pull off the road, or at least make it obvious they're on the phone.

Something like a white hanky or something tied to the road side mirror would make a better distress signal.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 07/27/2015 :  3:00 PM
If you have the seat off and maybe a bunch of tools laid out on the ground, it becomes more obvious that you might need some help.
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