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Thread: Hand Signals

  1. #1
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Hand Signals

    OK, I'll admit that I'm not terribly diligent about signaling, but listen to this:

    I'm out for a "Dawn Patrol" ride this morning. I am approaching a side street where I want to make a left turn and I am about in the middle of the travel lane. I look into my mirror and notice that a car is approaching from behind. I figure that I'd better let the driver know why I am not going to move out of his way and give him the lane. So I stick out my left paw and point at the approaching intersection. Apparently the driver thinks that I am waiving him around so he pulls into the oncoming lane to pass me (It was about 6:15 am so there wasn't any traffic). Good thing that I was watching him 'cause I merely had to slow down and let him by, but...

    In this case, signaling did no good whatsoever.

    What did I do wrong? Should I not have pointed? Is there some better signal to indicate "Hey I am about to turn right THERE"?

    I had a hand signal for him after he started passing but I didn't use it...
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  2. #2
    Senior Member gregam's Avatar
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    It might have been that 9mm in your hand.
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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    There is no adequate hand signal in that particular situation because there is no cure for stupidity. Sometimes you have to provide all of the intelligence which you did by watching the moron.

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    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    The proper hand signal for a left turn is to stick your arm straight out to the left, not pointing ahead to the intersection you're approaching. It sounds like you gave a confusing signal. But then, people are not used to seeing hand signals anymore, and it's possible that the driver would have misinterpreted anything you might have done.

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    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    The driver who hits you may get a ticket for improper traffic behavior. You get the hospital bill. I never assume that anybody knows what I'm going to do (although I do use the clearest, most standard signals I know), and always assume that everybody is both deaf and blind. I don't want to be in the right and injured/dead.

    Good riding--you avoided a nasty by attending to the lack of attending by the driver.

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    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    take this to A&S... we don't need this crap here in 50+...

    :-)

    p.s. go to West Marine or U.S. Boats and get a large flare ***... one shot 'across the bow' should do it!

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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    There was probably nothing else you could have done. In the modern world of digital communication however I doubt that I would have wetheld that last message!

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    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
    The proper hand signal for a left turn is to stick your arm straight out to the left, not pointing ahead to the intersection you're approaching. It sounds like you gave a confusing signal. But then, people are not used to seeing hand signals anymore, and it's possible that the driver would have misinterpreted anything you might have done.
    Like I said, I'm not very diligent about signaling, but I assume that drivers are not familiar with hand signals. I point to intersections precisely because I'm afraid that a standard flat hand will be interpreted as a wave of "c'mon around".

    As an aside, I once had to tow a car on a flatbed trailer that had no lights from Orangeburg South Carolina to Philadelphia, including through Washington DC (absolute WORST traffic east of the Mississippi...far worse than downtown Manhattan). I used standard hand signals the whole way and got some peculiar looks from drivers who obviously had no idea what I doing...but I was wrapped inside two tons of Chevy Suburban so I wasn't too concerned about other drivers' interpretations.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  9. #9
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    I learned the only hand signal I ever really needed at an early age


    No! - that would likely get you shot or worse. But I did think it was a funny picture...
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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    You seem to be kinder by nature than I. You assume the driver mis-read your hand signal. I would likely have thought that the driver knew just what I meant, but didn't want to wait for me and passed just to get ahead of me. I suspect the only other thing you could have done is moved more toward the left of the lane you were in, but that has it's risks too. In such a case, the driver may then decide to pass you on the right. BTW, this is one of the reasons I wear a helmet mirror.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  11. #11
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    OK, I'll admit that I'm not terribly diligent about signaling, but listen to this:

    I'm out for a "Dawn Patrol" ride this morning. I am approaching a side street where I want to make a left turn and I am about in the middle of the travel lane. I look into my mirror and notice that a car is approaching from behind. I figure that I'd better let the driver know why I am not going to move out of his way and give him the lane. So I stick out my left paw and point at the approaching intersection. Apparently the driver thinks that I am waiving him around so he pulls into the oncoming lane to pass me (It was about 6:15 am so there wasn't any traffic). Good thing that I was watching him 'cause I merely had to slow down and let him by, but...

    In this case, signaling did no good whatsoever.

    What did I do wrong? Should I not have pointed? Is there some better signal to indicate "Hey I am about to turn right THERE"?

    I had a hand signal for him after he started passing but I didn't use it...
    Hmm, when I am preparing for a left, I pull to the left side of the lane to make my intentions clear. I can signal, but usually road or traffic conditions either don't warrant it or make it dangerous to take hands off the bars. Besides, as others have mentioned, hand signals are often misunderstood or ignored.

  12. #12
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    ...BTW, this is one of the reasons I wear a helmet mirror.
    I always thought helmet mirrors or eyeglass mirrors looked dorky. I just purchased an eyeglasses clip-on mirror about a month ago and guess what:

    I don't care how dorky I look wearing it!! I can see behind me! The blasted things just work too well not to wear one. If I had not been wearing the mirror I never would have known that the guy was passing me until it was too late.

    Besides, my looking dorky embarrasses the hell out of my teenage sons
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  13. #13
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    I learned the only hand signal I ever really needed at an early age


    No! - that would likely get you shot or worse. But I did think it was a funny picture...

    I usually give them the pinky...that's for people who don't deserve the best
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    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    I learned the only hand signal I ever really needed at an early age


    No! - that would likely get you shot or worse. But I did think it was a funny picture...
    Animal lovers like this one, too
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  15. #15
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    In this case, signaling did no good whatsoever.
    "Drivers" don't understand hand signals, or really much else in terms of the rules of the road.

    ... Brad

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    There are definitely exceptions, but I find that in most situations, most drivers respond correctly when I clearly communicate my intentions. Being predictable is the most important factor in riding in car traffic.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Without knowing the situation or hearing from the driver, my opinion is that you made a confusing signal that the driver didn't understand. I can certainly understand that if any signal departs from the conventional hand turn signals, there's room for misunderstanding.

    Just signal properly. And do it all the time. That way, at least you'd know if the driver was being dumb and/or unsafe. This way you don't really know.

  18. #18
    Burn Rubber BRNRBR's Avatar
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    I re-read the OP a couple times, and that's my interpretation...pointing ahead made it look like "go ahead". So on they went.

    At that hour, it could have been a lack of coffee on the vehic driver's part too.
    Yeah baby, let's peel out!!

  19. #19
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRNRBR View Post
    I re-read the OP a couple times, and that's my interpretation...pointing ahead made it look like "go ahead". So on they went.
    That was my thought, too, that somehow he thought I was waiving him around.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRNRBR View Post
    At that hour, it could have been a lack of coffee on the vehic driver's part too.
    That is a doubt, the benefit of which I have no intention of giving him.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  20. #20
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    Glad you weren't hurt.

    I think ot is safest to:

    Item 1) Behave strictly according the rules of the road. This will prevent as much thinking as possible on the part of the approaching driver who, of course, knows and recognizes the rules of the road and reacts automatically, quickly, instinctively, predicably and safely to them.

    Item 2) Assume you are a hunted animal and that, item one to the contrary, the approaching car could at any moment dispassionately hunt you down and run you over.

  21. #21
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Just signal properly.
    I have to disagree. 1 out of 1,000 "drivers" understand proper hand signals. That, in itself, is bad. However, they may interpret your proper signal as the WRONG turn signal - that is REALLY bad!

    Just point in the direction you are going to turn. Most "drivers" aren't looking anyway.


    ... Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by bac View Post
    I have to disagree. 1 out of 1,000 "drivers" understand proper hand signals. That, in itself, is bad. However, they may interpret your proper signal as the WRONG turn signal - that is REALLY bad!

    Just point in the direction you are going to turn. Most "drivers" aren't looking anyway.


    ... Brad

    I don't know why you're disagreeing - we actually agree because pointing the way you're planning to turn is proper hand signaling! You point straight left to turn left, you point straight right to turn right. I know that many might use the "left arm bent at an upward angle" to signal a right hand turn, but for bicyclists, the straight right arm signal is also legal and I believe a better signal. At least it's legal in my state. The left arm used for a right turn was invented for use in a left hand drive car. It makes absolutely no sense for a bicyclist. (IMHO, of course).

  23. #23
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    I'm always a bit fearful when turning left with a car approaching from the rear. I always signal and move at least to the center of the lane, but you never know if the driver approaching is a clueless moron who just sees another annoying bike in the road. It's a bad idea to signal timidly and move in a manner that shows a lack of self-assurance, but I sure don't want to end up in a left hook.

  24. #24
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If a cyclist in front of me gave an "arm extended" left turn signal, I'd know what he meant.

    If he was pointing ahead at something, I'd have no idea what it is he is trying to convey to me.
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    VC means going in the proper turn lane and sticking the arm out right or left. We did that hundredths of times on this tour. No issues.
    The single problem was that I misjudged the oncoming speed of a truck from behind BEFORE my signal. That almost did me in.

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