Bicyclists are required to use signals to let others know what they plan to do.
The nature of riding in a group necessitates that you use hand signals to convey various messages to your buddies. If you’re not on the front of the bunch, you may not always see a hazard, but a well-drilled group using signals correctly will ensure that all riders are safe on the road. If you’re group riding or simply in a crowded area where a lot of people are cycling, using hand signals can warn them of your intentions and giving them the time that they need to react appropriately.
Hand signals are primarily a way to reduce the risk of being hit by a car while riding on the road. While there is still a chance of a motor vehicle driving carelessly and hitting you, signaling your intentions can make this possibility less likely.
Beyond motorists, learning signals is vital to the safety of other bicyclists.
Knowing the basic signals to use and when to use them can keep you and those around you safe.
Raise a hand straight above your head to indicate that you expect to stop. This indication supersedes the indication and call to slow.
While optional, the call of “Stopping!” can be absolutely necessary if the nature of the stop is sudden or sharp. This can make the difference between a safe stop and a potentially very dangerous situation, so ensure the call is loud, sharp and urgently made with as much notice as possible.
The most common hand signal used by cyclists is the “stop.” This signal is necessary because – unlike motor vehicles – most bikes don’t have brake lights. To indicate that you are stopping or slowing down, simply extend your left arm out, and bend your arm down at a 90-degree angle, with your hand open.
With your arm outstretched, palm-down, and slightly behind you so cyclists behind you get a clear view of your hand, move your hand up and down at the wrist to indicate that you’re about to slow.
In addition to the signal, and if braking is more urgent and you haven’t got time to indicate safely, call out “Slowing!” loudly and sharply. When possible, signal about 100 feet before you intend to turn or stop. This gives other drivers and cyclists time to react and gives you the chance to put both hands back on the handlebars as you turn or stop.
Turn To signal a left turn, fully extend your left arm out to your side. Make this signal approximately 100 feet before you turn, to alert others and so that you can get your hands back onto your bike as you turn. Hold the signal for about 3 seconds before making your turn or coming to a stop.
There are two ways to signal e a right turn. The first, and most frequently used, is to simply extend your right arm out to your side – just as you would for a left turn, on the opposite side. Some states do not allow this type of signal. To signal a right turn, extend your left arm out to the side and turn your arm up at a 90-degree angle.
An open-hand, waved or wiggled palm down indicates a multitude of hazards, or a change in the road surface. If the person in front of you flashes their hand down like this, get your bicycle underneath you, keep an eye out for the obstacles, and be sure to give those behind you a wave so they know to focus on their bike handling too.
The single-finger point indicates a hazard or obstacle in the road to be avoided. If you see someone in front of you pointing, follow their finger to pick up the hazard and once you do, point at it yourself.
Hazard Move Left/Right
These signs are meant to warn the rider about the hazards/situation lying ahead on the road. The driver should obey these for their safety.
A give way sign indicates that merging riders must prepare to stop if necessary to let a rider on another approach proceed. A rider who stops or slows down to let another vehicle through has yielded the right of way to that vehicle.
Do Not Call While Cycling
The name says it call, never use your phone while riding a bicycle, it is not safe for you or the other riders riding along.
If you aren’t using bike hand signals, now is the perfect time to start. Spoke Herd has outlined the top signals that you need to know to stay safe on the road and ensure predicting riding.