Bicycle Safety Hand Signals

Long distance cycling treks often require you to use public streets and intersections. Using the proper hand signals will allow you to remain safe while navigating through congested areas. Make sure surrounding motorists have clearly seen your signal before attempting a turning maneuver. Always wear an appropriately sized safety helmet while cycling on the road.

Left Turn

The left turn remains one of the most basic bike safety hand signals. Remove your left hand from the corresponding handlebar grip. Extend your left arm out to your side until it's parallel with the ground. Maintain control of the handlebars with your right hand. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends turning your head to make sure you have a clear path before executing the turn.

Right Turn

The right turn has two different signaling options. The conventional right turn signal utilizes your left arm. Extend your left hand out to your side until it's parallel with the ground, then bend your elbow to create a 90-degree angle. Point your left hand vertically to complete the safety signal. An option is using your right arm. Extend your right arm horizontally from your side to signal a right turn.

Slowing or Stopping

The slowing or stopping signal can be executed with your left or right hand. Extend your hand out to your side at a 45-degree angle. Rotate the hand so that your palm faces toward the following motorist or cyclist. Engage the brake lever while keeping your hand extended. Decrease your cycling speed slowly to avoid being rear-ended.

Group Cycling Signals

Group safety signals have been designed to alert fellow riders of your next moves and hazards in the riding path. To indicate a pothole coming up on the left, extend your arm downward with your palm parallel to the ground. Rotate your hand in a circular motion. Mimic the signal with your right hand to warn against potholes on the right.

About the Author

Philip Foster has been writing professionally since 2010. His work has been featured in the literary-arts magazine "The PEEL" and the weekly newspaper "The Mountain Xpress." Foster is an expert in various extreme sports. He cooked in a restaurant that offered organic and vegetarian cuisine for over three years. Foster received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Appalachian State University.