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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aside from signalling left and right turns by pointing, what other common arm signals do commuters use. Or is it just a 'make it up as you go along' basis.

I point forwards if I am going straight through a round-about.

I put my hand behind my back and open my hand up (my version of brake lights) if I am re-merging with traffic (ie going around cars so moving back into the stream of traffic), or if the road becomes to narrow for overtaking (again to let the cars behind me know that they need to beware), or if I am just unobviously slowing down (eg a hazard the car might not see, pedestrians etc). I don't signal I am slowing down if it is obvious (eg traffic lights, intersection etc), but I do stay to the side if possible.

Any other signals that work?
 

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Sticky Valentine
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I use turn signals at stop signs all the time. Generally though I like to make eye contact with drivers rather than just assume that they're seeing me. I'll tell them which way I'm going by either pointing, or telling them if their window is down. If I'm merging into a left turn lane or something, I'll check the road in front of me for debris or anything, and look back for a first check. If there are no cars, or cars far enough awar or going slow enough, I slow down and stick my left hand out with my palm facing back and slowly move over (while watching the cars behind me, looking foreward and backwards as I'm doing this) till I'm in the lane and I know they know I'm there.


joe
 

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Besides turn signals, I wave cars around me when appropriate, and wave them to go ahead at 4 way stops. That's about it. When I'm hassled, I will also employ a big friendly wave and smile, or the infamous, "my team is #1" signal depending on the circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mr. Versatile said:
Besides turn signals, I wave cars around me when appropriate, and wave them to go ahead at 4 way stops. That's about it. When I'm hassled, I will also employ a big friendly wave and smile, or the infamous, "my team is #1" signal depending on the circumstances.
Yes, I also wave motorists around me if it is safe, and also give a wave or a nod as thanks to motorists who have done the right thing (lots of room, slowing down etc).

Our state road rules:
Hand signals. Cyclists must signal before turning right or changing lanes to the right. Hand signals are not compulsory when turning to the left or stopping, but may be given to let other traffic know what you’re doing
 

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Big is relative
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I use the proper hand signals when I turn although I doubt that many drivers even know what they are. I make eye contact whenever possible but my morning commute is in the dark. IMHO, the best thing that you can do is to ride predictably. This means no swerving, hold your line, and when you decide to make a move, do it in an obvious manner that leaves no doubt in the mind of a driver of your intention. Indecisive cyclists get hit and alot of the time it is their fault.
 

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Well, there are several finger signals.....

....that are universally understood.
 

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I actively limit hand signals - where they may be helpful I find I want both hands on the bars - I try and point for turns when I think it's gonna be helpful - I live in England and rarely signal for lefts otherwise people would cut across me to turn - which means my advice to you is I would only use a hand to point and signal that I'm turning left

in my opinion better than hand signals are good proactive bike positioning on the road/in the lane
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Peter5 said:
Aside from signalling left and right turns by pointing, what other common arm signals do commuters use. Or is it just a 'make it up as you go along' basis.

I point forwards if I am going straight through a round-about.

I put my hand behind my back and open my hand up (my version of brake lights) if I am re-merging with traffic (ie going around cars so moving back into the stream of traffic), or if the road becomes to narrow for overtaking (again to let the cars behind me know that they need to beware), or if I am just unobviously slowing down (eg a hazard the car might not see, pedestrians etc). I don't signal I am slowing down if it is obvious (eg traffic lights, intersection etc), but I do stay to the side if possible.

Any other signals that work?
I point to where I am going and say thank you where appropriate. Slowing is hand out with palm down and stopping is with palm back. I never wave a car around. Passing safely is their job and I will not accept that responsibility. - TF
 

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Sticky Valentine
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TurboTurtle said:
I point to where I am going and say thank you where appropriate. Slowing is hand out with palm down and stopping is with palm back. I never wave a car around. Passing safely is their job and I will not accept that responsibility. - TF

Correct: passing safely is their responsibility. But I've been in many situations where a driver is following closely behind me nervously. That's when I wave them by. When I'd rather let them know it's okay to pass me rather than them driving behind me eratically because they have no idea how to handle the situation.

I'd much rather reassure them that it's okay so long as they give me room rather than just put my faith in them doing the right thing.



joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
M.J. said:
in my opinion better than hand signals are good proactive bike positioning on the road/in the lane
Hmm, I definetly agree on that. It is a whole other subject I suppose, and one that would again evoke alot of debate. However I am extremely conscious of what impression I am giving to drivers, and do my utmost to ensure that I am predictable.

This includes, on pulling up to traffice lights, remaining 'in line' like the other vehicles on the road. My argument is that if I ride up the left hand side (ie overtaking them) I will have to stop eventually and the car I am beside may not have noticed that I am there. What then if I take off faster then the car I am beside, do I now have a right to merge first (which is the road rules in my state for merging after traffic lights...two lanes merging with the car furthest forward getting right-of-way), or do I wait...etc etc. I figure if I just be a bit patient, stay in line, actually moved slightly into the lane so it is clear that I am obeying the same traffic rules as a car, then the other drivers have no reason to fear, they can see what I am doing....

I have taken to doing the same thing on round-abouts....after having cars try to overtake me on the round-about!!! Idiots...I am capable of travelling around that thing as fast as them, so now on approach to the round-about I move and occupy an entire lane (but then this is recommended practice according to our state road rules):
In a narrow lane, on a roundabout or in slow traffic, it may be safer to take a whole lane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
JoeDaddio said:
Correct: passing safely is their responsibility. But I've been in many situations where a driver is following closely behind me nervously. That's when I wave them by. When I'd rather let them know it's okay to pass me rather than them driving behind me eratically because they have no idea how to handle the situation.

I'd much rather reassure them that it's okay so long as they give me room rather than just put my faith in them doing the right thing.



joe
Yeh, good points, I never considered that by waving them around I was liable. (Although that liability would hardly hold up in court, it would still be a personal responsibility).

But really the 'wave around' is more of a 'pass when you are ready', not a 'it is safe to pass'. Does that make sense, really you are just trying to let the car behind you know that you are prepared for the act of passing + thanking them for their patience (while you occupied a whole lane getting around ten vehicles all parked at a school picking up children...).
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Peter5 said:
Yeh, good points, I never considered that by waving them around I was liable. (Although that liability would hardly hold up in court, it would still be a personal responsibility).

But really the 'wave around' is more of a 'pass when you are ready', not a 'it is safe to pass'. Does that make sense, really you are just trying to let the car behind you know that you are prepared for the act of passing + thanking them for their patience (while you occupied a whole lane getting around ten vehicles all parked at a school picking up children...).
I wasn't really meaning legal responsibility (though in our litigious society...), I meant personal responsibility. I don't think that you can assume that the guy behind thinks "pass when you are ready" if you wave him around. - TF
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
TurboTurtle said:
I wasn't really meaning legal responsibility (though in our litigious society...), I meant personal responsibility. I don't think that you can assume that the guy behind thinks "pass when you are ready" if you wave him around. - TF
Hmmm. Yeh, again that is a really good point.
 

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I point out potholes to motorists.

If it's safe to remove my hands from the bars I'll point down towards pavement with a sweeping backwards gesture when it is not safe for them to pass. Wave 'em around when it is.

These signals notify a driver that I know a vehicle is behind me and I expect it to follow me, since I'm ahead and have right of way.

The usual right, left, slowing gestures...
 

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I ride in heavy urban traffic and making a good impression is not something that concerns me - the only thing that concerns me is being safe and making other people aware of me on the road - I suppose there are different rules for heavy traffic - but I do what's safe rather than what may be legal - I always filter to the front at a light, I frequently whiteline down the middle to overtake and ride along the curb when safe to undertake - I jump lights where it is safe for me to do so and I avoid cycle lanes like the plague - having said that different rules apply here (central London) than in the suburbs (which IME are terrifying to ride in) and then different again in the country
 

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Peter5 said:
and also give a wave or a nod as thanks to motorists who have done the right thing (lots of room, slowing down etc).
Thank you! I wish more cyclists would do that. Seems trivial, but a wave of thanks can go a long way towards changing that drivers opinion, formed minutes before by some a**hat doing something stupid.

I waved to several cars this morning, and a TriMet bus. But then had to stop and lecture the dude who crossed my bike lane with inches to spare to get into the right turn lane, and immediately stop behind a line of cars.
 
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