8 Cycling Hand Signals for Your Next Group Ride
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If you're only going to remember one signal, pick this one. Hitting the brakes at the front of a group with the riders behind you unaware of your intentions is a classic mistake that can lead to a major pile up and a lot of injuries.
Put your hand behind your back and make a fist.
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This basic signal lets the riders behind you know your intentions, but is also equally important to use when riding alone to alert drivers since most bikes don't come with blinkers.
Extend your left arm perpendicular to your body at least 10 yards before you intend to turn.
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There are two common ways to signal a right turn. The alternate version is to extend the left arm away from your body and make a ninety-degree angle with your hand pointed to the sky.
Extend your right arm perpendicular to your body at least ten yards before you intend to turn.
Pothole or Other Road Hazard
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These obstacles often come quickly and leave little time to react. If you're in the back of group and can't see where you're going, you'll appreciate this hand signal from the riders in front, which can save you from a flat tire or worse.
Extend your arm (left or right, depending on which side the obstacle is on) and point to the road hazard. Rotate your arm in small circles for emphasis.
Gravel or Debris
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Having your wheels slide out from under you can be embarrassing and painful. Use this signal often to stay upright and maintain your dignity.
Hold your arm at a 45-degree angle away from your body with your hand open and palm towards the ground. Wiggle your fingers to signal loose gravel.
Hazard on the Shoulder
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Parked cars, pedestrians, runners, stray dogs and even other cyclists are just a few of the obstacles that like to travel in the wrong direction in bike lanes. Alert others before everyone learns the hard way.
Extend your arm perpendicular to your body, similar to a right or left turn signal (depending on which side the shoulder is on). Avoid confusion by then placing a flat hand behind your back. Repeat two or three times if time allows.
Move Over and Pay Attention
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Riding next to a careless cyclist can be frustrating, especially one that continues to drift into your space. All it takes is a touch of wheels for the group to meet the pavement.
Put your arm behind your back and pat your butt. This sign should be universal.
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Once you've had enough leading the pack and blocking the wind for those riding behind you, use this signal before you pull off to alert the next rider in line that it's their turn to pull the weight of the group.
With your hands still on your handlebars, flick your left or right elbow out away from your body, depending on which side of the pack you intend to drift back on.