Introduction to Bike Hand Signals
Safe road biking requires the use of bike hand signals. I know you’re probably thinking “grumble grumble! bike hand signals are lame!”
Don’t be such a Grumpy Guss! It only takes five minutes to learn these cycling signals and it will make you a lot safer on the road. So pour yourself something tasty and read on!
Why Use Hand Signals While Biking?
When you drive your car, you use your signals to change lanes. This helps alert other drivers to your actions and avoids accidents. Last time I checked, bikes don’t have turn signals, so you’ve gotta kick it old skool, yo! Throw out your hands and get signaling! Don’t get hit changing lanes.
It’s Easy! There’s Only 3 Basic Bike Hand Signals!
Anyone can learn these three basic bike hand signals: turn left, turn right, and stop. In fact, you’ve probably already learned them when you were a kid, and again when you were doing Driver’s Ed. So let’s just call this a review.
Before we begin, it’s important to lay out some general ground rules:
- Before leaving a lane, give a hand signal.
- It’s always a good idea to use a bike hand signal as soon as possible. Try to give at least 25 feet of warning.
- Usually people signal with their left hands.
- Be sure to practice to improve your balance before getting to a major intersection.
- Always try to establish eye contact with drivers before turning.
Please note that these rules apply to countries where people drive on the right side of the road, like the U.S. If you live somewhere backwards, like the U.K., everything would be reversed. And the toilets probably flush backwards too.
Bike Hand Signal for Turning Left
Extend your left hand straight out to the left.
Bike Hand Signal for Turning Right
Extend the left arm out. Bend the elbow 90 degrees with hand pointed up.
Bike Hand Signal for Stopping
Extend the arm to the left, bend the elbow 90 degrees with the hand facing down.