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K'Tesh
02-11-2008, 07:09 AM
I do use hand signals when turning, I point left or right. Stopping, I usually have my hands on the brakes... So, when one of the Cow Belles asked me which was the left armed signal for a right hand turn, I was a little unsure....

So, I looked it up... and found the Oregon Bicyclist Manual 2006 (www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual_06.pdf) and on page 9 it said this about hand signals:

Signal before making a turn to warn traffic behind you. To signal a left turn, look behind you, then hold your left arm out. To signal right turn, either hold your right arm out, or hold your left arm up, with bent elbow. You don't have to keep your arm out through the turn - you may need both hands on the handlebars to keep control of your bicycle.

Although it did have a good visual for the left and right turn signals, I was surprised that it didn't show the stop signal.

For group riding, I found a visual resourse here (http://www.inlandempirecycling.com/Cycling/hand_signals.htm).

I now have a little word game to help me remember which is which (All are ment for the left arm signals).

Look and Left
High and Right
Low and Slow

On Ray Thomas' site (http://www.stc-law.com/bikebeginners.html), it says:
Oregon law requires that bicyclists signal turns and stops with a hand signal for 100 feet. However, when both hands are required on the bars or to brake, the law excuses compliance when "circumstances require that both hands be used to safely control the bicycle."


Ride Safely!
K'Tesh

peacepeddler
02-12-2008, 07:21 PM
Also if your riding in a group. If you are first in the pack. It is good to point to the ground. If glass, or something is in your peddle line. Point to whatever side the debri is on. Then each person behind can point to let the peddler behind them aware. Just a good practice. Keep you, and your peddle buddies from getting that flat.

agramsci
02-12-2008, 11:03 PM
Another good thing to know: the boys in blue like this one and enjoy having it available to use against anyone they want to stop arbitrarily, because it is so rarely observed in so many instances (eg, most riders riding in quiet residential neighborhoods are not in the habit of heeding this requirement, and many cyclists are not even aware of it). I know this because I had a friend whom the cops wanted to id, so they pulled this one on him. (The nicest thing for them about it is probably the distance requirement, because even if you do signal, it can be hard to prove that it was "100 ft" from your turn, so this can almost always be a handy "probable cause" pretext for them to stop you.)

BTW: I do usually heed the requirement nowadays -- but not with any illusions that doing so will ensure protection against police harassment. It's just generally a good idea to give people fair warning about your intentions.

biciclero
08-20-2008, 08:54 AM
Resurrecting this thread to make an observation, and to repeat an observation I heard from someone else:

1. Using the "bent-left-arm" signal for a right turn can be tricky on a bike where the rider is in a forward-leaning position. I've followed several folks recently and watched as they attempted to signal a right turn with the left hand: when leaning forward, the bent-left-arm signal looks more like the person is stretching or getting ready to punch something in front of him because it is hard to rotate the shoulder far enough to make the left forearm point UP.

Be aware that if you want to use the bent-left-arm to signal a right turn, you will want to sit as far upright as you can, and then really pry that forearm up into the air to make the signal recognizable.

2. Someone made a point a while back that the extended-right-arm turn signal can be hard for motorists on your immediate left to see. So when signaling a right turn, it might be good to consider your "target audience" and use the signal most visible to those that would pose the greatest threat if they failed to see the signal (keeping in mind the point made in #1. above). For example, if I am scooting past a line of cars at a four-way (I only do this if there is a bike lane) and I want to signal a right turn, I'll sit upright and use the bent-left-arm. If I am just making a right turn onto a side street and I want to signal for the benefit of drivers that are some distance back, I'll use the extended-right-arm.

Another observation I have made is that some drivers seemingly interpret the extended-right-arm as me giving them instructions of some kind. I have had more than one instance where I am signaling with an extended right arm and an oncoming left-turner will look straight at me and then turn directly into me as I make my turn, so that we nearly sideswipe each other. Maybe I am misinterpreting this and the drivers in these cases were just not paying attention, but I think there may be some confusion about what the extended right arm means.

Bent Bloke
08-20-2008, 10:07 AM
I always use my left arm to signal right turns. It sticks out into traffic and is more visible. Plus, your right hand can be on your rear brake lever. If you're signaling with your right arm, you can only use your front brake which leaves you open to an endo.

OnTheRoad
08-20-2008, 10:55 AM
I agree that deciding which type of right signal to use is a "play it by ear" situation.

I generally prefer the straight right arm for right turn for a couple reasons.

The crooked left arm often looks like the rider is waving to someone rather than signaling. The straight right arm seems to be less open to interpretation.

The other reason is that the crooked left derives from hand signals used when cars didn't have signal lights. Obviously a driver couldn't stick his arm out the right window to signal, so the crooked arm was invented to denote such. Bicyclers don't have the same limitation.

scoot
08-20-2008, 01:55 PM
I switch back and forth on the right turn signalling, too. I use the bent left arm most of the time, although I worry that kids today probably have no idea what it means. Still, maybe it tells them I might be about to do something. If I'm in a leftish lane and need to move right, in front of cars, I'll use the straight right arm to point to where I'm going. But if I'm at a 4-way stop and there's a car rolling into the stop approaching from my left, they can't see my right arm sticking out, so I go bent left.

JeffW
08-20-2008, 02:18 PM
I use the bent left arm most of the time, although I worry that kids today probably have no idea what it means.

I've been asked by several adults lately about which signal means what. :confused: Up until that point I had always used the standard car hand signals I'd learned in Driver's Ed way, way back. Now, I'm frightened that an ignorant driver might not know where I'm headed. So I've resorted to mostly using the extended right arm for right turns, thereby pointing where I'm going for both left and right turns.

djasonpenney
08-20-2008, 03:02 PM
That's too much!

Seriously, I find that pointing directly is almost always useful. Furthermore, there are cases where I need to be very specific ("I'm going onto the sidewalk at the curb cut right there in front of your bumper"). Pointing always works.

What's frustrating to me about hand signals is that cyclists by and large are the most frequent users of hand signals; yet driver education only teaches the signals that other motorists might use in the excruciatingly rare event that their signal lights aren't working.

I've been asked by several adults lately about which signal means what.
<snip>

JeffW
08-20-2008, 03:23 PM
What's frustrating to me about hand signals is that cyclists by and large are the most frequent users of hand signals; yet driver education only teaches the signals that other motorists might use in the excruciatingly rare event that their signal lights aren't working.

I had often supplemented the indicators with hand signals while on my motorcycle. In that instance, it's not prudent to use the extended right arm for a right turn because the right hand use of the throttle. At least in that case, there was a corresponding yellow light blinking in case the driver was confused.

I wouldn't mind seeing a basic set of turn indicators powered by a hub dynamo (like the Shimano Nexus) w/ motorcycle-type left thumb control. I'd definitely install them on my wife's bike and upgrade my front wheel with aforementioned hub.

brettoo
08-20-2008, 08:02 PM
I pretty much use hand signals anytime there's cars around; it's become as much a reflex as turning on my blinker when I make a turn when I'm driving. A few months ago I was cruising downtown after a show and bent-left signaled a right turn on 13th. It was late enough that there was only one car behind me and I heard a woman's voice shouting from the car, "Thank you for signaling so I don't accidentally kill you!" (At least that's what I think I heard -- obviously I was moving away from the car, which was continuing west.) I puzzled over that one for awhile. Was she being sarcastic because she didn't understand the bent left gesture? I finally decided she was being sincerely grateful, or maybe she was just shocked that a bicyclist actually signaled. Odd....

Haven_kd7yct
08-21-2008, 01:52 PM
I use the same hand signals that I was taught in driver's ed a million years ago.

Why: It's the hand signals the *other* drivers were also taught. It's the hand signals that are in the Oregon Driver's Manual. In theory, it's the version that most of the driving public will know.

As a driver, I've seen cyclists pointing right to turn right; my passengers (or driver, if I'm a passenger) always want to know what the cyclist is pointing at. It's not intuitive for the automotive drivers out there, I guess, that pointing to the right constitutes a right-turn-signal.

I followed a car the other day with no turn signals; driver used standard hand signals as taught in driver's ed. I was impressed. Most people, if their turn signals don't work, don't do anything to signal their intentions.

Re: People riding in a more "bent over" position: if you're coming to a turn that needs signaling, for goodness' sake, please sit up a bit and signal. What, are you Lance, taking the corner at speed, trying to make up that little bit of time? :)

brock
08-21-2008, 02:42 PM
Re: People riding in a more "bent over" position: if you're coming to a turn that needs signaling, for goodness' sake, please sit up a bit and signal. What, are you Lance, taking the corner at speed, trying to make up that little bit of time? :)

This won't really work for those riding drop bars that are lower than the seat. In order to sit up enough for the signal to work, one's hands would be nowhere near the brakes, or not even on the bars. It's not an issue of ripping through corners, it's an issue of positioning.

I'll continue to use my left hand to signal left, right hand to signal right. In theory, bent left arms might be what most drivers should know, but that's not what I've experienced. Point there, go there.

jr98664
08-21-2008, 06:49 PM
I always use my left arm to signal right turns. It sticks out into traffic and is more visible. Plus, your right hand can be on your rear brake lever. If you're signaling with your right arm, you can only use your front brake which leaves you open to an endo.

Actually, according to the late Sheldon Brown, "Skilled cyclists use the front brake alone probably 95% of the time." http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html With my disk brakes, I had to replace the front brake pads far sooner than the rear, that's how much more I use them. The problem of doing an endo is usually encountered when a novice cyclist doesn't know that the front brake it the main brake; they finally go to use it in an emergency, and we all know the rest.

Tait
08-27-2008, 12:33 AM
I've always used whatever hand was facing traffic: right hand on left side of the road, left hand on right side of the road. If I'm changing lanes in the middle of the road, it's easiest to just point where I'm going. Anything else seems terribly awkward and confusing to me.

All that's well and good, but what makes the difference is eye contact. If I have eye contact with the driver, it doesn't really matter what type of signal I make -- even a nod of the head to indicate direction (so you can keep both hands free) -- they usually "get it." As for drivers behind you, there's obviously no eye contact to be had, but I've never had any problems from that direction anyway.

bonny790
08-27-2008, 06:36 AM
Careful with the head nod Tait, that can also indicate you're waiving them through, depending on everyones direction. Could make things rather uncomfortable.

scdurs
08-29-2008, 10:38 PM
Very good points about using hand signals we learned in driver's ed (using left arm up for right turns). Motorists may not know what you're pointing at with your right hand. Also, motorists on your left can't see your right arm pointing a right turn. Ran into that situation yesterday as I rounded the corner I wondered if the car to my left at the 4-way stop could see me signaling the right turn with my right arm.

My friend uses a lame attempt at signaling right with his left arm. He almost looks as if he's signaling a left turn. If you use the left arm, use it like you mean it!

Steve