Bike Safety: Signals for Cyclists
When riding with others, it is important (like, it could save a flat tire or a crash!) to know what is going on around the group. Other writers have discussed the usefulness of having a rearview mirror so that you can see what is coming up from behind.
It is also important to know what is ahead, so all the riders need to know their ride leaders. Ride leaders use different signals to convey information. Some point to obstacles to avoid; others point in the direction riders need to move to avoid the obstacles. Both are acceptable, and provide important information, BUT ONLY IF THE RIDERS IMMEDIATELY BEHIND CONTINUE TO PASS THE SIGNAL(S) BACK TO THE LAST RIDER!! ✎
1. Everyone knows the most common hand signals, and some samples appear below:
|Left arm straight out||Left turn or lane change to the left|
|Left arm out, with elbow bent up||Right turn or lane change to the right|
|Left arm out, forearm pointing down, palm facing back||Slowing or stopping|
2. There are also a couple of alternatives:
|Right arm straight out||Right turn or lane change to the right|
|Either leg off the pedal||Slowing or stopping|
3. And, of course, there are special signals:
|Pointing down (either side)||Road hazard on that side (glass, pothole, catch basin, etc.)|
|Arm out, fingers pointing ahead, either arm||Group is approaching a hazard, or a hazard is approaching the group|
|Arm out, forearm down, palm facing back, swinging||Railroad or trolley tracks|
Some of us who ride together a lot have even developed a special signal for when we are approaching a gaggle of geese, a common hazard along Marine Drive! (FYI, a group of geese is a gaggle when it is on the ground; airborne, it would be a skein.)
Main safety tips here are:
- Riders, know your ride leader.
- Ride leaders, know your riders!
Dave McQuery, Candidate for Member at Large