[Nothing on this blog should be confused for legal advice. I am not a lawyer, public official, or officer of the law. You, the reader, are liable for your own behavior and knowledge.]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Signaling a Turn

How do I make sense of the hand signals that cyclists use to signal a turn?

In the past, cyclists would signal a left hand turn by extending the left arm parallel to the ground and a right hand turn by extending the left upper arm parallel to the ground and the forearm perpendicular to the ground forming an uppercase L. That was the past. This system started in the early days of cars, before automobiles had electric turn signals. Obviously, a driver in a typical car, old or new, is unable to reach his/her right arm out the right window so the L signal was created. Cyclists have two arms that are equally visible and equally capable of signaling turns so most cyclists will simply extend the left hand to the left for a left turn and the right hand to the right for a right turn. Occasionally, some cyclists use the antiquated system so it's still worth understanding.

Another signal that can be useful for motorists to understand is when a cyclist extends his/her hand down with the palm facing back. There are variations on this, but they all mean "I'm slowing," "I'm stopping," or "Stop! Do not pass!" Of course, there is also the easily interpreted "go around" wave.

No comments:

Post a Comment