You’ve been riding your motorcycle for a long time now, and you know all of the signals that riders use to warn each other of impending danger out there on the roads. One of the most common you see, of course, is that quick double-tap on the helmet that tells you that the law is just up ahead.
Should you warn other motorcyclists that way or not?
Is it ethical or wise to tap your helmet? Is it an act of defiance or proactive defense?
One long-time motorcyclist says that he’s stopped tapping his helmet to warn other riders about the law because he worries that it’s condoning speeding and leading to wholly unnecessary injuries and deaths. And it is true that excessive speed can kill — even in accidents that don’t involve other vehicles.
Here’s another perspective, however: Motorcycle profiling by the police is a very real problem. So much so that the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution to both raise awareness of the issue and urge its halt.
Unfortunately, such a resolution has no real teeth, so it may not actually improve the situation for motorcyclists — but it does highlight the fact that motorcyclists are often pulled over and handled a pile of tickets for minor infractions where a warning would do. Plus, motorcyclists are more likely to be stopped and closely evaluated for drunk or drugged driving based solely on the look of their bikes, their gear, their patches or their company.
There are no easy answers to the question of whether it’s right or wrong to tap your helmet as a gesture of warning to other riders. There is, however, an easy answer about what you should do if you’re profiled, stopped, and ticketed by the police while riding: Get some legal help. An attorney can defend your interests.