Being able to communicate effectively is a necessity. Lack of communication causes many problems, from marital strife to plane crashes (some may feel those are interchangeable!). On the road, a car that ran out of blinker fluid may be your pet peeve. Or maybe it's the one that leaves the blinker on for 30 or 40 miles. Obviously, making your intentions known accurately and in a timely fashion is an effective way of saving other drivers money on doctor's visits and blood pressure meds.
On a motorcycle, effective communication takes on even greater importance. Since motorcycles have this amazing ability of becoming invisible to car drivers, most motorcyclists drive as defensively as humanly possible, so I will not cover communication with car drivers other than to strongly suggest that,
although hand signals are perfectly appropriate, single-finger salutes are best avoided.
The communication we are concerning ourselves with on this trip will be bike-to-bike-to-van. We all have Scala full-duplex headsets attached to our helmets, which allow rider to rider and rider to passenger communication. The minivan, however, required some Cajun ingenuity. Although the minivan driver is a rookie, we all agreed helmets for her passengers was not really necessary. After brainstorming for a bit, Dennis decided to make a headset that could be used in the minivan, sans helmet. Here's his creation:
He took an old headset and wired the Scala set onto it, with liberal use of zip-ties. After testing this puppy, we find that we have a perfectly acceptable communications system for the minivan passenger. No, the driver will NOT be wearing this contraption.
We have also settled on some hand signals, just in case any of the headsets fail. Some of the signals are pretty standard. Here's some commonly used hand signals:
We are not using all of these, plus we have some specific to our group, but you get the idea. For an informative, funny look at other types of signaling, visit: