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hand signals

Old 04-16-11, 03:47 AM
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hand signals

Do any of you signal with your left hand for stops and turns?

Down for stop
Upwards right angle for right turn
Horizontal for left turn


I began to try one day and felt like a doofus. I've never seen anyone else signal.
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Old 04-16-11, 03:52 AM
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I signal for most turns and lane changes, only the occasional stop or slow. I usually use right arm straight out for right merges and turns, however.
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Old 04-16-11, 06:07 AM
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I use left turn signals for left turns, moving into the left turn lane and moving around obstacles. Lots of drivers seem to notice and either slow down to let me make my maneuver or move to the left themselves to give me room. I don't signal stops because my left hand is busy working the front brake, and I don't signal right turns because I'm already far enough to the right that I won't affect other vehicles.
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Old 04-16-11, 06:29 AM
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I signal whenever I think it will be helpful to others present on the road and/or to enhance my chances of survival. I use left arm out to move or turn left, and right arm out to move or turn right in situations where there are others present and alerting them to my intentions would be helpful. I virtually never have occasion to signal slowing or stopping and can't remember the last time I've done so. Signalling to other riders when riding in a group is a different story entirely.
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Old 04-16-11, 09:06 AM
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Always for turns, never for stops, though I point right for right turns. The only reason that up means right is that hand signals were originally meant for car drivers before turn signals, and pointing right doesn't work so well when you're inside a car.

@markf - I do often signal right turns if I'm turning into a road and there's someone trying to turn out from there. If he knows I'm turning he can go ahead and pull out.
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Old 04-16-11, 09:16 AM
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For me, hand signals are daily requirement when working traffic on my daily urban combat commute. I stopped using the upward bent left arm for right turns, and now use my right arm extended, I grew tired of trying to educate the motoring public, locally they seem to better understand the extended right arm method.
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Old 04-16-11, 09:50 AM
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The right arm extend sounds like a better way of pointing direction, hadn't thought about it that way. I was driving recently and came across a group of riders and one rider on the outside of the group was backwards in his hand signals, hope someone pointed this out to them, signaling left for a right hand turn.
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Old 04-16-11, 09:57 AM
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I signal when I think it will make me safer, or if it helps a driver. If I'm turning right at speed, I'd often rather keep my hands on the bars. Sometimes if I'm about to take the lane, I'll stick my left hand straight out, palm facing back, in a combo "moving left/don't pass" gesture. I also use my right arm when I signal right turns. The left arm thing is because you can't use your right arm to signal when you drive a car.
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Old 04-17-11, 10:13 AM
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I use and suggest hand and fingers flat, palm facing forward or backward, rather than pointing with an index finger, only because a flat hand with palm forward or backwards might stand a slightly better chance of indicating your intent to turn. An extended index finger is reflexively understood (even by dogs) as directing attention in that direction, as in "Hey! Look at that."
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Old 04-17-11, 10:24 AM
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I saw a driver using hand signals two days ago.

I always use hand signals myself. They were drilled into our brains as young-uns growing up in central FL.
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Old 04-17-11, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn
For me, hand signals are daily requirement when working traffic on my daily urban combat commute. I stopped using the upward bent left arm for right turns, and now use my right arm extended, I grew tired of trying to educate the motoring public, locally they seem to better understand the extended right arm method.

Ditto, no one but cyclists really know the correct arm signals so I just point where I want to go
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Old 04-17-11, 02:23 PM
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Yes, right arm for right turns, left for left turns. I do not signal for stops.
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Old 04-17-11, 02:29 PM
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same, I just point where I'm going, and use a pretty universally understood hand gesture when pointing still didn't sink in or was ignored. I'm also very big on making eye contact when possible.
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Old 04-17-11, 02:36 PM
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I stick an arm out to the side I'm turning and down if there's a car behind me, or in a position they would benefit from it.
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Old 04-17-11, 04:09 PM
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I signal for turns, but not for stops. I like to have both hands on the bars when i'm stopping.
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Old 04-17-11, 05:00 PM
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I was brought up learning how to signal with my left arm too. But it's true most people (cyclists and motorists) don't seem to know the hand-signaling rules so I do the right hand straight out - palm sideways for right turns just to make sure my intentions are crystal clear. I know it's a pipe dream but I wish learning the proper cycling hand signals would be a requirement of getting a driver's license. If it could be institutionalized in the minds of drivers, it might make the roads safer. I use the word "might" with some trepidation however knowing as I do that some people don't give rat's a$$ about other drivers on the road, much less other cyclists.

I would say the one thing I do safety-wise that's saved me (and my bike) on more than one occasion is to try to never cross in front of a car pulling into traffic (from a street, parking space or driveway) unless I can see the driver's face. I've stopped short more than once in front of a driver who was looking away from me, realizing he was not paying attention to me -- only the traffic coming from the other direction. Last week I had to yell really loud to get this one guy's attention -- as soon as he saw me, he stopped pulling forward but I already had one cleat out and was looking to stop. It's the parallel parkers that scare me the most actually cause you can't see their faces until you're right on top of them. I just try to slow down and pull out a little so I'm not in his blind spot. Still, having been doored once in my life, I'm still pretty skittish about it.
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Old 04-17-11, 05:03 PM
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I don't signal. I point
And I give a hands up when somebody stops to let me through
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Old 04-17-11, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by shyonelung
I know it's a pipe dream but I wish learning the proper cycling hand signals would be a requirement of getting a driver's license.
???

As far as I understand, the "cycling" hand signals are part of the driver education in every state. If that is the case, then learning them is a requirement for getting a driver's license.

Note that the "cycling" hand signals are the same as the hand signals for all drivers/operators of vehicles.

The problem isn't that they are not learned but that they are forgotten since the hand signals are largely obsolete (or necessary for very rare equipment failures) for drivers of motor vehicles.
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Old 04-17-11, 05:28 PM
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I signal left turns with my left arm, right turns with my right arm, for the reasons mentioned above. I don't usually bother with signalling stops, as I generally want to have both hands on the bars at that time.

One thing that I find just as useful as signalling my turns is using "instructional" gestures on motorists who seem confused or indecisive about what to do around me. For example, I'll sometimes gesture with the "come" gesture if they have the right-of-way and seem reluctant to claim it (as a way of acknowledging that I see them and plan to yield). Other times, where it looks like they might be thinking of failing to yield to me properly, I'll give the opening palm "wait" gesture in order to ask them to wait. That one is often useful for motorists who are turning onto the street I'm on from a side street or driveway, and who seem to be having trouble estimating my speed (you learn to read the situation after awhile). Since I've started doing these "extra" gestures, I've found I experience a lot fewer close calls and unnerving situations. A lot of motorists are genuinely just confused and inexperienced at driving around cyclists, and I see it as just helping them out by giving them some guidance. I generally give a friendly wave after they obey, too, in order to show good will.
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Old 04-17-11, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mnemia
One thing that I find just as useful as signalling my turns is using "instructional" gestures on motorists who seem confused or indecisive about what to do around me. For example, I'll sometimes gesture with the "come" gesture if they have the right-of-way and seem reluctant to claim it (as a way of acknowledging that I see them and plan to yield).
One problem with giving other drivers instructions ("waving them on", for example) is that they may assume that it's safe to follow them when it isn't. It may be safer to indicate what you are doing and let the driver drive his own car (rather than you doing that for them).
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Old 04-17-11, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
One problem with giving other drivers instructions ("waving them on", for example) is that they may assume that it's safe to follow them when it isn't. It may be safer to indicate what you are doing and let the driver drive his own car (rather than you doing that for them).
I take your point, but me waving to them does not absolve them of the responsibility to avoid other hazards. I generally don't do that, anyway, when there is anything resembling a complex traffic situation, for the same reason I don't often take the ROW offered to me by drivers in similar situations. I'm talking about situations like where it's only me and the one car.

A bigger issue with it is probably letting your own guard down because you assume drivers will understand your gestures. I'm careful not to do that.
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Old 04-17-11, 08:33 PM
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I signal in the actual direction I'm turning -- hard left, diagonal left, etc. Left turns with left hands, right turn with right hands. I never signal for stopping. I do give a 'slow down' signal to cars behind, as in, "Slow down, don't pass right now," if they seem to be impatient. But that is usually only on a narrow 2-lane road when cresting a hill...

I really don't like those old-fashioned hand signals. Very counter-intuitive, I think.
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Old 04-17-11, 10:34 PM
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I use all of the signals in the traditional way, as much as possible. As has been mentioned, I don't always use the slow down signal due to the need to have my hand on the brakes rather than in the air. I use the left hand for all signals, due to the way the law is written here in New Mexico. This is primarily because I don't want there to be any legal nitpicking on my actions if I ever have the misfortune to be hit by a car. I started using them because it makes me feel a bit safer, as well.
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Old 04-17-11, 11:13 PM
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I show signals for most right turns, and always for left turns when crossing a potential passing lane. I generally slow down a bit and make a quick look back to see the driver I'm signalling. Other cyclists use hand signals, and some don't seem to. The more cyclists use hand signals, consistently and effectively, the better for driver awareness or recognition of it.
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Old 04-18-11, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by adaminlc
I use all of the signals in the traditional way, as much as possible. As has been mentioned, I don't always use the slow down signal due to the need to have my hand on the brakes rather than in the air. I use the left hand for all signals, due to the way the law is written here in New Mexico. This is primarily because I don't want there to be any legal nitpicking on my actions if I ever have the misfortune to be hit by a car. I started using them because it makes me feel a bit safer, as well.
In a lot of states (I know it's true in Ohio), the right hand out for a right turn signal is listed in the vehicle code as an alternate and acceptable method of signaling a turn. As stated by others above, it's also easier for drivers to understand. Check your state laws to be sure.
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