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View Poll Results: How do you signal right turns/shifts?

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  • right arm out

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  1. #1
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    How do you signal right turns/shifts?

    Do you (A) stick your left forearm up or (B) stick your right arm out? I have been using (B) under the reasoning that it is more intuitive. However, someone pointed out to me that (A) is more visible to cars since the lane position of the driver's seat is usually to the left of a cyclist's lane position. So now I don't know what to do. Which is better? edit:

    Interchange "left" and "right" if you live in the UK or another country where people travel on the left side of the road.
    Last edited by Eli_Damon; 08-20-07 at 09:33 PM. Reason: clarification

  2. #2
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    On bikes you can use left arm for left turns and right arm for right hand turns. Or you can use the normal forarm up for right left out for left both are legal and correct for bikes and motor cycles mopeds etc.

  3. #3
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Depends on the circumstances. If I'm in one of the inside lanes and returning into the curb lane, then the cars that need to see the signal the most are the ones behind me on my right, so using the right arm makes sense. If I'm just turning right, most of the time no one's even affected by this move, so I might not bother signalling or do a quick left-hand signal (since for me it's more convenient to lift the left hand off the handlebar). If I'm riding with a companion leading the way and I want to indicate that we're turning right, I'd use either one depending on my mood (most my companions are familiar with both signals and can see both).
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy View Post
    Depends on the circumstances. If I'm in one of the inside lanes and returning into the curb lane, then the cars that need to see the signal the most are the ones behind me on my right, so using the right arm makes sense. If I'm just turning right, most of the time no one's even affected by this move, so I might not bother signalling or do a quick left-hand signal (since for me it's more convenient to lift the left hand off the handlebar). If I'm riding with a companion leading the way and I want to indicate that we're turning right, I'd use either one depending on my mood (most my companions are familiar with both signals and can see both).


    The only thing I would add is that out of habit even if I don't bother signaling I always look back over my shoulder before turning. Even for a right turn, there could be a cyclist trying to pass me on the right. At the same time, I never assume motorists will do this for me, so I generally do not pass on the right, especially anywhere where they may turn right.

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I'll use my left hand in front of me, pointing right, to signal to cars ahead of me and approaching that I'm turning right. Also, either hand to point directions to peds, if necessary, to show where I'm dodging them while turning right. to which side I'm going to go around them, I mean.

    for most other rights, not really. sometimes I'm going to stick my right arm out, but only if there's someone behind me. Sometimes I signal with my left hand, behind my back, to cars behind me.

    not that I'm recommending these signal techniques, mind you..... sometimes, i'll just cock my head at four way stops and the drivers get the message. sometimes I'll use VC-approved butt waggles and/or steely eyed glares to show intent....
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  6. #6
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    I've taken to not signalling at all. Despite the supposedly universal signal of a left hand turn, lately when I signal left, cars in back of me think that I am signalling them that its ok to pass me on the left, with several close calls and stream of expletives from me that requires the intervention of a priest for absolution.

    I just take the whole lane so a car in back of me can't get around me in the direction I am turning and then just go.
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  7. #7
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    I'm personally of the opinion that pointing may be read by the motorist as an instruction, rather than a signal. I use very sharp signaling with all fingers straight and close together and it seems to may a difference. People know what you mean if your arm is perfectly straight/perfectly 90 degrees and fingers aren't pointing/curled/etc. I also find it to be very attention grabbing when I drive and I see someone else signal in the same fashion.

  8. #8
    Senior Member allan_dunlop's Avatar
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    How do you signal right turns/shifts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eli_Damon View Post
    Do you (A) stick your left forearm up or (B) stick your right arm out? I have been using (B) under the reasoning that it is more intuitive. However, someone pointed out to me that (A) is more visible to cars since the lane position of the driver's seat is usually to the left of a cyclist's lane position. So now I don't know what to do. Which is better? edit:

    Interchange "left" and "right" if you live in the UK or another country where people travel on the left side of the road.
    The right arm out (point where you want to go) is a lot more intuitive. Many people know the left arm up is a signal, but don't quite know what it's signaling. Either that, or they take too long to figure it out.

    Consider what thought processes and mental gymnastics it takes for an oncoming driver (as opposed to a driver behind you) to figure out where you're going based on the left arm up. Given the perceptive/cognitive abilities of a large percentage of road users, making it as simple as possible is a good approach .

    Pedestrians (especially kids) who've not yet got their driver's license understandably can be clueless about what the left-arm signal means, and it can also be blocked from their sidewalk-based view by the cyclist's body.

    As for the visibility to a motorist, if you're riding three feet from the curb, a right-arm signal ought to be quite apparent.

    Allan

  9. #9
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I voted "right arm out". I had never even heard of someone signalling a right turn with their left hand, until I read about it in these Forums.

    --J
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  10. #10
    Argyle Army Foot Soldier cnickgo's Avatar
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    I look back and check for motorists and try and catch some sort of contact, and then intently point to where I am turning twice and that has always worked well, especially around campus.

  11. #11
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    I voted "right arm out". I had never even heard of someone signalling a right turn with their left hand, until I read about it in these Forums.

    --J
    Same for me.

    The signal for right turn using the left arm, means "STOP!" to me, and most people around here.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I used to use the left-forearm-up method but nobody knows it
    anymore. After time and people thinking I was gving them a gesture
    for some reason and the confusion it created, Ive dumbed it down to
    simply pointing which way I want to go at each intersection.

  13. #13
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I don't signal, I just wait until it's safe. Nobody knows hand signals anymore. They can be misconstrued.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy View Post
    Depends on the circumstances. If I'm in one of the inside lanes and returning into the curb lane, then the cars that need to see the signal the most are the ones behind me on my right, so using the right arm makes sense. If I'm just turning right, most of the time no one's even affected by this move, so I might not bother signalling or do a quick left-hand signal (since for me it's more convenient to lift the left hand off the handlebar). If I'm riding with a companion leading the way and I want to indicate that we're turning right, I'd use either one depending on my mood (most my companions are familiar with both signals and can see both).
    Covers it for me...

  15. #15
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    I don't signal, I just wait until it's safe. Nobody knows hand signals anymore. They can be misconstrued.
    I have no idea why this is. I'm only 19 and I know them... they're part of driver's ed.

  16. #16
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    I vote (B) stick my right arm out.

    I don't just lazily hang it out, I use a fist with index finger pointing and jab my arm out and leave it out: "I'm going THIS way!"

    Same with left turns: I turn my whole body and make eye contact, then point "I'm going THIS way!" .

    Morons need to be told what to do.



    In group rides it's much more relaxed, a simple finger point or even point my thumb to signal the other riders.

  17. #17
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli_Damon View Post
    Do you (A) stick your left forearm up or (B) stick your right arm out? I have been using (B) under the reasoning that it is more intuitive.
    I think they get it, no sweat. It's intuitive.

    Sometimes, I don't even have time to signal!



    (Picture a motorist having to roll down his window and stick out his arm while using his free hand to whip it down a sidestreet.)



    I do believe in signalling, but I also use my judgement.
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 09-01-07 at 08:27 PM.
    No worries

  18. #18
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    I extend my right arm and point towards where I want to go. It seems to me that the left arm bent up is an automotive thing, as a driver sitting on the left side of a car obviuosly can't reach out of the right side window! Pointing, though, is a more intuitively-understood gesture, I think.

    I know that the left arm bent up thing is the "approved" method, as taught in driver training, but I wonder how many drivers would remember/recognize this as a right turn signal anyway.

  19. #19
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    In Michigan the "right arm out" is not the proper signal for a right turn. I personally follow the conventional "left arm out for left, left arm up for right" signal conventions. It's the legally recognized method and has never presented a problem for me.

    Personally I think it is more confusing for motorists to have differnet bikers using different signals.

    257.648 Signals for stopping or turning; violation as civil infraction.
    (1) The driver of a vehicle or bicycle upon a highway, before stopping or turning from a direct line, shall first see that the stopping or turning can be made in safety and shall give a signal as required in this section.


    (2) A signal required in this section shall be given either by means of the hand and arm in the manner specified in this section, or by a mechanical or electrical signal device which conveys an intelligible signal or warning to other highway traffic, except as otherwise provided in subsection (3). When a signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver shall indicate his or her intention to stop or turn by extending his hand and arm from and beyond the left side of the vehicle and signal as follows:

    (a) Left turn ..... hand and arm extended horizontally.

    (b) Right turn ..... hand and arm extended upward.

    (c) Stop or decrease speed ..... hand and arm extended downward.

    (4) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

  20. #20
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    Be extra safe. Do BOTH hand signals at once.

    Interesting thread; I have seen government publications on the web advocating one or the other.

    Of course, you could do both hand signals at once just to be extra safe. Might be a poster on this forum that starts doing that.

  21. #21
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    This is interesting as I was just reading about this today. I currently signal with my left forearm up, and then sometimes pointing with my left arm. I'm not wont to signal with my right hand because my right hand controls my front brake, and I want to have that control when signaling still.

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    sundaypunch, you are correct that those are the proper signals.

    However, until drivers' education is mandated in this country (USA), I'll point in the direction I'm going to turn, as I feel it is less ambiguous that the "legal" method of signaling. I would believe that most drivers around my neck of the woods have no idea what the legal hand signals are (or they have forgotten them).

    I generally try to follow the traffic regulations. However, sometimes my instinct for self-preservation overrides the regulations. I generally ride in the street, in traffic, but on rare occasions, I'll take the sidewalk (which I hate doing, but sometimes it is the more prudent option). I will take my lumps if a cop decides to enforce the rules. Thus far, no problems (crossing fingers).

    I don't always signal right turns, as it isn't always necessary. Left turns are usually signaled.

  23. #23
    Member sundaypunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krome View Post

    However, until drivers' education is mandated in this country (USA), I'll point in the direction I'm going to turn, as I feel it is less ambiguous that the "legal" method of signaling. I would believe that most drivers around my neck of the woods have no idea what the legal hand signals are (or they have forgotten them).
    You could also argue that the "point right for a right turn" method causes as much or more confusion. If someone knows the proper signal for a right turn and sees you pointing right they may take that for a "go around me" signal since it's not a recognized signal for a right turn (where I live anyway).

    I can guarantee that if I used the point-right signal and ran into someone going around me that I would be found at fault for not signaling properly. In the end we all need to do what we are most comfortable with to minimize risk.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use the left arm usually fully extended with the center finger raised at the fool that just passed me and turned right while I was "properly" signaling a right turn. Yes I was centered in the lane and they still turned right from the next lane over...

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  25. #25
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli_Damon View Post
    Do you (A) stick your left forearm up or (B) stick your right arm out? I have been using (B) under the reasoning that it is more intuitive. However, someone pointed out to me that (A) is more visible to cars since the lane position of the driver's seat is usually to the left of a cyclist's lane position. So now I don't know what to do. Which is better?
    I don't think the visibility is much of an issue. Someone behind you should certainly see your arm sticking out over by the side of the road. I think the intuitiveness more than makes up for perhaps slightly decreased visibility.

    The convention of using the left arm for both is probably due mainly to the fact that a car driver obviously can't stick his right arm all the way outside the passenger window.

    My bigger complaint with how some cyclists signal is how little they raise their arm. I think that's not very intuitive to non-cycling observers. I appreciate that raising your arm higher increases your width, but I always try to make my arm as near horizontal as space allows.
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