Flag Etiquitte

Flag Placement On Motorcycles

US Flag Only

If only the US Flag is on your bike, it should either be at the center, or to its “marching right” – on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider’s perspective when facing forward.


US Flag And One Other Flag Of Any Type

 If the US Flag is on your bike with another, it should be to its “marching right” – on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider’s perspective. If the other flag is that of another nation, it should be the same size and at the same height of the US Flag – NO flag should ever be displayed higher than the US Flag.


US Flag And More Than One Other Non-National Flag

 If the US Flag is on your bike with several other non-national flags (POW/MIA, ALR, Eagles, Service Banners, etc.), it should be at center and higher than any of the other flags.


US Flag And More Than One Flag Including Those Of Other Nations

 If the US Flag is displayed on your bike with those of any other nation, the flags should be same size and at the same height, with the US Flag to marching right (right side of the vehicle), and others arranged in alphabetical order to the left. Other flags should be arranged in order of decreasing importance – Nations first, states (in order of admittance) and territories second, military third (in order of establishment), and then any others. Again, no flag should fly higher than the US Flag, but the US Flag should be no higher than that of any other nations displayed.



 It’s argued that, since the small bike flags we use are all but invisible from the front (when mounted on the rear), the concept of “Flag’s own right” should be used with the vantage from the rear of the bike. (This would place the Flag on the on left-hand, rear of your bike). This concept, unfortunately, overlooks a more applicable concept.

If you equate the motion of your bike with marching, and you equate traffic with a procession, another portion of the Flag Code becomes the obvious choice for display of the Flag alone, or with another:

Rule 9: “The Flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags should be either on the marching right; that is, the Flag’s own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.”

The second portion of this rule does not work well with most motorcycles, since there usually is no means to mount the Flag in front (in the direction of travel) of the others if all flags are to be mounted at the rear of the bike. In this case, we rely on:

Rule 10: “The Flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.” Included in this would be POW/MIA flags and American Legion Riders flags.

Finally, if you are displaying another country’s flag along with the US Flag, they both should be at the same height and the same size, and the US Flag should be displayed on the right side (again, marching right). This is basically Rule 11.

Rule 11: “When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace. The order of precedence for flags generally is National flags (US first, then others in alphabetical order in English), State (host state first, then others in the order of admission) and territories (Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc.), Military (in order of establishment: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard), then other.”


Order of Precedence for Flag Display  

The order of precedence for flags is 1) National, 2) State, 3) Military (in order of creation date), and 4) Other.  The United Nations uses alphabetical order in its presentation of national flags so that no one country has precedence over another.  According to the Military District of Washington, Ceremonies and Special Events Office, Army Regulation #840-10 mandates that state flags should be displayed according to the date that each state was admitted to the union.  According to the Department of Defense Directive 1005.8, the prescribed precedence of military flags is determined by service birthdays.

The  appropriate order is given below:

  • Army Birthday – 14 June 1775
  • *Marine Corps Birthday – 10 November 1775
  • Navy Birthday – 13 Oct 1775
  • Air Force Birthday – 18 September 1947
  • **Coast Guard Birthday – 4 August 1790    
*The Continental Congress officially authorized the already-existing standing Army in June,1775. The Marine Corps was officially established on 10 November 1775, even though it was actually a force in readiness before the Army or the Navy. The first Captain of Marines was commissioned on 28 November 1775. Congress officially authorized the Navy by resolution in October 1775, however, the first commander-in-chief of the Navy was not commissioned until 22 December 1775. The process of procuring and outfitting ships and enlisting and commissioning personnel followed thereafter.
**According to the Institute of Heraldry, and in keeping with the order in which troops are listed in Department of Defense Directive 1005.8, during peacetime the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security.  If, during wartime, the Coast Guard is called into service under the control of the Department of Defense, then the Coast Guard flag would come before the Air Force flag in order of precedence.


The Merchant Marine, Vietnam Veterans, and POW/MIA flags can be displayed following the military flags.  There is some latitude in the order of display regarding these three flags.  Our government has not officially recognized the Merchant Marines as being a branch of the military (its members are often not given veteran’s status), but we feel it is appropriate to honor them as a military branch.

The American Legion recognizes the Merchant Marines for membership, depending on when and where they served.

The Vietnam Veterans and POW/MIA flags could be reversed in their order if so desired.  We felt it appropriate to place the flag for the living veterans (who are here to see the honor so accorded them) before the flag for those not presently in our midst.  You can use your discretion here.

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