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Is there a signal to warn drivers that I'm about to avoid an object?

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Is there a signal to warn drivers that I'm about to avoid an object?

Old 06-24-15, 05:00 PM
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biker86
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Is there a signal to warn drivers that I'm about to avoid an object?

I know the basic arm signals of left, right and slowing/stopping, but is there a signal to warn other drivers that I'm going to be moving over into the lane quickly if I need to dodge an object?

Like for example, I was out on my usual route today on the 40mph road I ride on. There's a three way T junction some distance down from where I start and I normally have a good speed going with the traffic. Was getting closer to the three way with traffic beside and behind me when a driver in an SUV not paying attention pulled out beyond the stop line putting me in the position of getting severely injured or killed should I have slammed into the SUV. Naturally, through instincts, I swerved quickly to avoid slamming into the SUV moving into the road lane with traffic beside and behind me.

While there probably wasn't enough time to warn the traffic going cars, is there any form of arm signal to signal avoidance of an object which would result in me having to move into the lane rather quickly?
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Old 06-24-15, 05:03 PM
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If you have time, stick out your hand in the direction you're going. If not, just go.
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Old 06-24-15, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
If you have time, stick out your hand in the direction you're going. If not, just go.
Ahhh ok, so basically just use left/right signals then?
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Old 06-24-15, 05:41 PM
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I will use a stop signal and take the lane, then point at the object as you make your maneuver, that is how we do it in these parts.
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Old 06-24-15, 05:43 PM
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Yes, a lane change signal is identical to a turn signal, same for bikes as for cars.
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Old 06-24-15, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by biker86 View Post
Ahhh ok, so basically just use left/right signals then?
Pretty much all there is... however do be aware that in spite of those signals being in every driving handbook in the nation... most motorists simply don't have a clue... heck, a lot of motorist don't even know how to use that little lever attached to their steering column to indicate turns to other drivers...

So good luck.
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Old 06-24-15, 05:54 PM
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I just stop, and wait. Because putting my arm out, would put me off balance. I have had balance issues all my life. So, More power to those who can put their arm out in that situation.
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Old 06-24-15, 06:58 PM
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Is there a signal to warn drivers that I'm about to avoid an object?

Originally Posted by biker86 View Post
I know the basic arm signals of left, right and slowing/stopping, but is there a signal to warn other drivers that I'm going to be moving over into the lane quickly if I need to dodge an object?...

While there probably wasn't enough time to warn the traffic going cars, is there any form of arm signal to signal avoidance of an object which would result in me having to move into the lane rather quickly?
The title of your thread precisely illustrates Jim’s Law of the Road: "No matter how lightly traveled and well-paved the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left, as you encounter an obstacle on the right”; and that is my main argument to use a rear view mirror.

Anyways, when I signal a car behind me for an avoidance maneuver (rather than a full stop), I usually extend my left hand downwards and slightly outwards, less than 90°, palm facing the driver. I think of it as a “Whoa” signal.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-24-15 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 06-25-15, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Anyways, when I signal a car behind me for an avoidance maneuver (rather than a full stop), I usually extend my left hand downwards and slightly outwards, less than 90°, palm facing the driver. I think of it as a “Whoa” signal.
I like this. I think this sort of hand signal would be almost universally interpreted as a warning to brace/prepare for stopping or slowing down. It also reminds me of when a driver has to break suddenly and instinctively extends their right arm to 'protect' the passenger - like my dad always does!
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Old 06-25-15, 06:12 AM
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If you'd be veering into traffic to avoid an object you may be riding too close to the curb. If it's a large object that comes all the way from the curb to the right tire track, then I suppose you can check your mirror, stop if needed. Anything that large shouldn't be a surprise and you should have plenty of time to plan avoidance.

If it's smaller than that, then if there's a car close, go around it on the right.

If there's no room to the right, then you're riding too far right.
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Old 06-25-15, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Anyways, when I signal a car behind me for an avoidance maneuver (rather than a full stop), I usually extend my left hand downwards and slightly outwards, less than 90°, palm facing the driver. I think of it as a “Whoa” signal.
Originally Posted by LoriRose View Post
I like this. I think this sort of hand signal would be almost universally interpreted as a warning to brace/prepare for stopping or slowing down. It also reminds me of when a driver has to break suddenly and instinctively extends their right arm to 'protect' the passenger - like my dad always does!
Cyclists may "think" cryptic hand signals are "interpreted" correctly by approaching motorists but would be smart not to depend on it. My advice is to follow ItsJustMe's advice in Msg 10 and avoid the results from the likely possibility that approaching motorists won't have a clue to what you are waving your hand about.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:00 AM
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For crying out loud, it you have to move that fast just look, be careful and GO.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Cyclists may "think" cryptic hand signals are "interpreted" correctly by approaching motorists but would be smart not to depend on it. My advice is to follow ItsJustMe's advice in Msg 10 and avoid the results from the likely possibility that approaching motorists won't have a clue to what you are waving your hand about.
I agree that a cyclist should not depend on hand signals, and not even eye contact, unless maybe accompanied by a hand signal from the driver. Nonetheless, any signal from the cyclist might be an adjunct to warn the driver. For me, it's also a reflex action.

Actually, probably a cyclist should not depend on any driver, for example as described by @rholland1951.

Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
… there are alarming variations of that behavior, e.g., stopping in one lane and waving the cyclist through while traffic in the adjacent lane continues to flow unabated, and drivers in that lane have their line of sight interrupted by the hyperconsiderate driver's car. In some circles, persons practicing behavior (2) are referred to as "niceholes"[
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have a golden rule of cycling, “Do unto the peds, as you would have the cagers do unto you.” So while peds should be more alert, walking on a MUP is a pretty carefree activity, whereas cycling demands more attention, and cyclists IMO, are possibly more vulnerable in a crash.

The ability of a cyclist to do damage in a crash I would say is intermediate between that of a ped and an automobile, but I think a cyclists’s own safety demands that he/she be the most attentive of the three, and frankly assume the others are jerks.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:48 AM
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I just signal a left but point down at an angle, basically at where I'm about to go. Sometimes with just a little extra emphasis and looking back. It gets the point across.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
For crying out loud

No need for the sarcastic attitude. I'm a returning biker, so I might as well just be new to it all over again. I had a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE question and I really don't like this kind of sarcastic answer you made. If our roles were reversed, I certainly wouldn't give you sarcasm over asking a question.
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Old 06-25-15, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
If you'd be veering into traffic to avoid an object you may be riding too close to the curb. If it's a large object that comes all the way from the curb to the right tire track, then I suppose you can check your mirror, stop if needed. Anything that large shouldn't be a surprise and you should have plenty of time to plan avoidance.

If it's smaller than that, then if there's a car close, go around it on the right.

If there's no room to the right, then you're riding too far right.
I'm thinking like a muffler and tailpipe across the side of the road... yeah, there should be time to plan for it... which I would do, but I would also give the left hand signal with an open palm facing back, like a "whoa." But bottom line... I would time myself to be able to avoid the object when there was no traffic around...

This BTW I do a lot as a cyclist... timing my approach to things like red lights turning green and left turning motorists and whatever, so I just keep on rolling and essentially avoid conflict.
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Old 06-25-15, 03:10 PM
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Just as motorists have been taught during their lessons, you also have to ensure there's a safe cushion of space around you so never ride directly adjacent to any motor vehicle or other cyclist.

It's unfortunate that a lot of motorists either forgot or ignore this practice of safety.
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Old 06-25-15, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by biker86 View Post
No need for the sarcastic attitude. I'm a returning biker, so I might as well just be new to it all over again. I had a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE question and I really don't like this kind of sarcastic answer you made. If our roles were reversed, I certainly wouldn't give you sarcasm over asking a question.
Welcome to bike forums! Things can seem a little brusque at times due to the text-based medium but in general people are cordial.

If you wish to "regularly" participate in the A&S forum though, I suggest a healthy supply of prune juice. As Lt. Worf has noted, it's a Warrior's drink.
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Old 06-25-15, 05:42 PM
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No there is no specific signal to warn other road users next to you that your making a sudden lane swap. Communication with other road users as a cyclist is pretty much limited to stop, left and right. I don't think it would matter anyways. If you are in a position where you have to make a sudden surprise turn, then your not going to have enough time to even consider making any kind of signal. And if your speed is low enough to consider possible signaling, then you might aswell just stop or look behind you for clear road.
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Old 06-25-15, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by biker86 View Post
I know the basic arm signals of left, right and slowing/stopping, but is there a signal to warn other drivers that I'm going to be moving over into the lane quickly if I need to dodge an object?

Like for example, I was out on my usual route today on the 40mph road I ride on. There's a three way T junction some distance down from where I start and I normally have a good speed going with the traffic. Was getting closer to the three way with traffic beside and behind me when a driver in an SUV not paying attention pulled out beyond the stop line putting me in the position of getting severely injured or killed should I have slammed into the SUV. Naturally, through instincts, I swerved quickly to avoid slamming into the SUV moving into the road lane with traffic beside and behind me.

While there probably wasn't enough time to warn the traffic going cars, is there any form of arm signal to signal avoidance of an object which would result in me having to move into the lane rather quickly?
Originally Posted by mozad655 View Post
No there is no specific signal to warn other road users next to you that your making a sudden lane swap. Communication with other road users as a cyclist is pretty much limited to stop, left and right. I don't think it would matter anyways. If you are in a position where you have to make a sudden surprise turn, then your not going to have enough time to even consider making any kind of signal. And if your speed is low enough to consider possible signaling, then you might aswell just stop or look behind you for clear road.
I agree that there is no specific signal for this, but what I do is to put my left arm (assuming I'm trying to move left) down at a steep angle, and "frantically" wave my hand outward, i.e., trying to indicate that I need them to move over. Seems to work well for me, as so far, everyone has responded positively, either moving over, or staying back behind me. Amazingly, not a single blown horn or "close/angry" pass. That is out of more than a dozen uses in recent history. YMMV.

Regards, Dick
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Old 06-25-15, 06:51 PM
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When in doubt about what signal to give, I wave my arm wildly. The bigger the better. I figure the more I look utterly insane, the more likely a motorist is to cover his brake and give me space!
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Old 06-27-15, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
The title of your thread precisely illustrates Jim’s Law of the Road: "No matter how lightly traveled and well-paved the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left, as you encounter an obstacle on the right”
It's funny because it's so true. I could be riding on a side street and there are absolutely no other vehicles on the street...until I need to avoid something...then there's like a dozen cars. lol
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Old 06-27-15, 07:28 AM
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No one expects the unexpected...

Each situation is different, but in general I don't think there is much you can do to warn cars when you are having to make some kind of sudden or unexpected emergency maneuver. Having a flashing tail and head light, as well as wearing bright cycling gear will make you noticeable to others on the road. When driving, I certainly notice cyclists with lights and bright gear more than a cyclist on a stealthy dark bike with no lights.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:13 AM
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Screaming and flailing is a good one.
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Old 06-29-15, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
When in doubt about what signal to give, I wave my arm wildly. The bigger the better. I figure the more I look utterly insane, the more likely a motorist is to cover his brake and give me space!
Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Screaming and flailing is a good one.
I think we have the right answer.
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