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Important Hand Signals To Know When Bike Riding

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There is nothing better than taking a leisurely ride on your bicycle. Still, without adequate knowledge of bicycle laws and safety, a joyride can turn deadly. While there are many things a cyclist should know before taking their first spin on a new bike, the primary concern is to be aware of road laws and hand signals. The signals are not specific to a given bicycle, meaning it is the same whether you ride a tricycle or a cruiser bike for women.

5 Bike Safety Tips

As you prepare to mount your single-speed step-through bike for a ride around town, the first thing to remember is that you are viewed as a slow-moving vehicle. Therefore, you must obey all the traffic laws when riding on the road: stopping for traffic lights, riding with traffic, etc. As bicycles do not have appropriate signals and standard safety equipment, there are five things to keep in mind:

  1. Left turn signal: When making a left turn signal, you will want to point your left arm straight out from your side. Other drivers will understand this signal as indicating a left turn. 
  2. Right turn signal: When making a right turn, there are two possible signals. The primary sign is to use your left arm. Lift your arm as you would for a left turn but bend at the elbow, allowing your hand to point straight toward the sky.
  3. Alternative right turn signal: You can use an alternate right turn option, which some people find more natural. You want to mimic the same position as you would with a left turn but this time using your right arm fully extended. 
  4. Stop signal: When you need to stop or slow down for an approaching turn, traffic signal, or signpost, you can use the slow or stopping hand signal. Using either your left or right arm, extend it out like you are making a turn signal. Bend at the elbow and point down at the ground with your palm facing backward. 
  5. Alternative stop signal: If bending at the elbow feels a little odd, you can use an alternative signal. Angle your left arm away from the body, keeping it straight. Use an open palm aimed at the drivers behind you. The open palm is an understood symbol. 

Getting Home Safe & Sound

The goal with any bicycle outing is to enjoy the trip and get home safe and sound. Understanding the appropriate hand signals and the rules of the road are essential to a safe journey. You can also purchase equipment to make signaling easier for you and drivers to interpret. For instance, purchasing light signals can alleviate the need for hand signals, although it is still beneficial to use both. Additionally, buying rearview mirrors is a good idea if you ride in the roadway often. Finally, understanding your electric bike battery life can ensure you never end up stranded.

Are you ready to take your bike out and explore? If so, contact a local bike supply shop for tips on safety modifications for your bicycle to get it ready for the road.