What Does a Helmet on the Ground Behind a Motorcycle Mean? – All You Need to Know with FAQs & More

The breakdown of a motorcycle in the middle of nowhere can cause distress. Especially if you lack the tools to fix your bike. 

Well, don’t fret about it as a helmet on the ground behind a motorcycle simply means that you have asked for help. If you are lucky, most likely within minutes any stranger will read this universal signal and pull over to help you. 

If you’re confused about the term “what does a helmet on the ground behind a motorcycle mean” then read this detailed guide to find out.

Quick Summary


In this guide, we shall cover:

  • What is the meaning of a helmet on the ground behind a motorcycle?
  • Does it help?
  • Inability to read rider language
  • FAQS
  • Final verdict

Let’s take a look into it. 

What Is The Meaning Of A Helmet On The Ground Behind A Motorcycle?

Within the biker community, putting your helmet on the ground is a common signal but generally, non-bikers do not know that it is a cry for help.

A helmet on the ground is an international rescue signal of the biker code.

Being alone with a broken bike in the middle of an unknown place can cause distress and you place your helmet behind your bike on the ground, you are in a position to:

  1. Retreat a safe distance from the traffic 
  2. Use your cell phone to reach out for help safely.
  3. Ask for help from the neighborhood, other drivers, bikers, etc.
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Does Putting A Helmet On The Ground help? 

Many bikers have an affirmative answer to this question. Yes, when you place your helmet on the ground behind your motorcycle you give out an SOS signal. 

Most drivers in many countries are aware of this condition and reach out to the rider who called for help.

One of the riders from Canada reports that once, he broke his motorcycle chain on his way to work. He placed his helmet on the ground behind his motorcycle. At once, he was approached by a truck driver, who not only gave him a ride to work but also dropped his bike at a mechanic. 

All over Europe, this signal is recognized as a request for help and it is a part of the rider’s etiquette to pull over and check on the person asking for help. 

Inability To Read Rider Language

Most of the bikers have said that people did not pull over to help them when they had a clear sign i.e. the helmet on the ground. Out of many cases, one is stated below.

One of the bikers has reported an incident in Cayuga, where his companion and he, faced some issues with their bikes. They had stopped and ritually put their helmets on the ground beside their motorbikes.

He reported that many bikers just casually crossed by without recognizing the cry for help. 

However, this cannot be generalized as a rule. Many new bikers do not understand the biker language. It is also that the riders’ fraternity language is also about to extinct. Where you place your helmet, is very important in signaling.

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Many people have reported that helmet or no helmet, drivers stopped by when they saw parked motorcyclists on roads, just to make sure they were alright.

Old riders also complain that new riders have no idea about the motorcycling brotherhood. 

Types of Helmets

types of helmets

Full Face Helmet

A full-face helmet is the most ideal helmet for your riding. Full face helmets cover your face and the entire head. It offers you the most protection to save you from sustaining serious injuries to your head and skull.

Half Face Helmet

A three-quarter helmet is also known as a half-face helmet. It covers the head of the rider leaving the face open. The face is covered by the visor and will give you a complete view of the field. However, you are more prone to facial injuries at the time of an accident with a half-face helmet.

Modular Helmet

Modular helmets are a hybrid between full-face and half helmets. The front of a modular helmet is adjustable and can be moved up to convert your helmet into a half-face helmet. the modular helmet weighs a little more than other types.

Half Shell Helmet

These are also known as the skull helmet which offers you minimal possible riding safety. It offers protection to only the top of the head till the ears leave the face, jaws, and neck all open. Half-face helmets are comparatively cheaper though and easily comply with the laws making them a good option.

Off-Road Helmets

Most off-road helmets are limited to the ones who choose to travel where there are no roads. Off-road helmets look very cool and are specifically designed to counter dirt and debris. This helmet is not a preferable option unless you are into off-road biking. 

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Dual Sport Helmets

These helmets are designed for professional bikers. They are DOT approved and more aerodynamic. These helmets are more costly but have the highest security and protection.  For more information on helmets, CLICK HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is the meaning of 86 for riders?

It means that a certain item is unavailable e.g food or a beverage item. Generally, it means to get rid of someone or something. 

What is the meaning of a double-tap on the helmet?

It is a rider signal that indicates that there are cars with lights on heads, ahead. This simply means there are cops ahead.

Is a helmet on the ground bad luck? 

In bikers language, it says, “helmet on the ground, head to follow”. However, it is entirely superstitious. 

What color is bad luck for motorcyclists?

The green color is bad luck as it camouflages with the landscape and makes it difficult to see the rider. 

Why do bikers mostly wear black gear or outfits?

It is just an environmental adaptation to hide oil, dirt, and grease. 

Where should I put my helmet if I have to ask for help?

It should be away from the motorcycle, at a practically safe distance,  not on the kickstand or the bike then it would mean nothing.

Final Verdict

Now that we have reached the end of this guide, we hope that you are now aware of what the helmet on the ground signal means. 

If there’s anything you would like to know, please feel free to reach out to us. 

CLICK HERE to visit our website and learn more.