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While riding in groups and during bike races, knowing all the common cycling hand signals and calls for your and your fellow cyclists’ safety is important. Keeping in mind the traffic laws, these signals are framed to get a safe riding experience. You might already know that it can be noisy when riding in groups; the cyclists tend to have a lot of fun when together and can be loud. So, you must know the common hand signals to warn the group about the road hazards and traffic signs.
In the case of group rides, if you are not in the front, you will not have an idea of the hazard on the road that you might encounter. In such cases, the riders riding in the show will use a common hand signal to indicate the riders coming behind about the problem on the road. This is important that you know all the signs to ensure your and the whole group’s safety. Whether you are riding in the front, leading the group, or are a part of the riders following the lead, in both cases, your and the group’s safety is dependent upon your knowledge of proper hand signals and calls.
Important Cycling Hand Signals that You Need to Know
Now that we have discussed the importance of knowing the hand signals while cycling, it is time to understand what are those signals. Some avid cyclists might already know them, but we are here to guide you through them even if you don’t know yet. So, without wasting any more time, let’s dig into our bike hand signals guide;
1. Slowing Down
The speed of the leading rider greatly affects the whole group coming behind. The rider at the front cannot immediately come to a stop because that can lead to a severe accident. So, it is important to tell your group when you will slow down. To give your group riders a signal that you will slow down, you will have to extend your arm while your palm is facing downwards and steadily move your hand up and down. Make sure that you do this signal ahead of a stop sign on the road.
Make sure that you have enough time to anticipate slowing down so that the riders coming behind you have enough time to understand your signal and respond to it. At this point, you must know that your actions will greatly affect the whole group.
The turning signal is one of the most frequently used signals by cyclists. It holds a great position in the basic gestures. That is why it is important to learn it before stepping onto the road with your bike. This is one of the basic hand signals and works in a way that turning light works on a vehicle. This signal is made to make the fellow group riders aware of your upcoming movement in riding.
You will have to extend your arm in the direction you will turn to. If you are planning on turning right, you will develop your right arm, while you will extend your left arm if you want to turn left. You can also swiftly move your arm up and down to give a clearer picture of the group of riders coming behind you.
The stopping signal is also an essential signal for learning all the primary signs of cyclists. Whenever the cyclist comes across the brake lights, he will have to let fellow riders know that it is time to stop. By telling your group about your plan on stopping, you will be able to avoid crashes that can be harmful and dangerous. Make sure that you never stop abruptly without informing your fellow riders, and you must give them adequate time to contemplate your move and plan their speed and stop accordingly.
To inform your group about your action, you will have to raise your hand over your head with a flat palm. It is important to let the riders know about your stop to avoid bike crashes and injuries from crashes. You can also move your hand to make it more visible and clear to the group coming behind.
4. Indicating a Hurdle or Object on Road
When riding in groups, the riders at the back cannot get a clear view of the obstacles or objects that might be coming ahead. That is why the leading riders need to inform the bank and back to do the same so that everyone in the group knows about the hurdle they might be facing. This is necessary to ensure the safety of the individual riders and the whole group. Such objects on the road can result in a horrific multi-victim crash, so it is necessary to give a fair warning to all the riders.
To signal about an obstacle or object on the road, you will have to extend your arm and point towards the thing while dodging the object yourself. Keep yourself as far from the object as possible to give a good distance and vision to the cyclists coming behind.
5. Indicating the Holes on the Road
Holes are very common, especially when not riding on city roads. The interurban streets have holes at regular intervals and can be disturbing while riding a bike. Whenever you encounter one, you must immediately tell your fellow riders about the spots along the way, whether they are small or big. Some of them are even deeper as well, which can be dangerous, so all cyclists must be aware of them.
To tell your partners about the holes on the way, you will have to extend your arm and swing your hand continuously upward and downward. Also, you can extend out your elbows while keeping your hands on the handlebars as if you were a bird.
6. Dirty Road
Dirty roads can also lead to serious accidents even though they might not seem as harmful as other foreign objects. Poor road conditions and muddy roads raise the hazard on the road while riding the bike. Along with dirt, oil spillages, gravel, and sand on the road are very dangerous and can cause traction loss, resulting in falling.
To make your fellow riders aware of the dirt coming on the road, you will have to extend your arm with your palm facing downwards and move it back and forth. In simple words, you will be moving your hand as if you are dusting furniture at your home. As soon as the cyclists comprehend the signal, they will grip their handlebars to dodge the dirt on the road.
7. Dodging a Hurdle
Even when you are riding on neighborhood roads or under normal road conditions, you might still come across various hurdles or obstacles on the road. This hurdle can be anything from a wrongly-parked car or a slow ride. You will have to dodge the obstacle by overtaking it to avoid any inconvenience in any of these cases.
To warn the riders about a coming hurdle, you will have to shake the arm behind your back while pointing at the side where you are planning to go to dodge the burden.
8. Signaling the Cars to Overtake
While riding on a bike, you will see that the cars coming behind you will hesitate to overtake you and will second guess their every move. According to the basic guide to road cycling, you must keep yourself away from the center of the road.
If anyone is coming behind you and you want the signal to allow them to overtake without causing any inconvenience to the traffic, you will have to extend your left arm while moving it back and forth. This enables the cars to overtake you without risking any other vehicle or disturbing the traffic. With this, the traffic will move more smoothly, and there will be no lines of cars forming behind you as you enjoy your ride.
A cyclist’s signal in any case can help prevent a large number of accidents and inconveniences during the ride. Whether you are a professional cyclist or like to ride for fun with your friends, you must learn all the signals before you set on a ride. It is important for your and your whole group’s safety and helps avoid inconveniences in the traffic. Even if you are riding in a bike lane, you will be able to guide your partners about your further movements or any obstacles on the road to prevent any complications.
Make sure to stay in your lane of traffic and be aware of careless drivers to make your ride safe and enjoyable. Be mindful of the inconsiderate motorist and try to have a good group of riders for a safer ride experience. Good luck with learning your cycling hand signals! As simple as they might seem, you must take your time and have a grip on them as you know in time of emergency, a person might forget the simplest of things.