Cycling accidents are frequently caused by cyclists wrongly using or ignoring hand signal routines. Some accidents on the road are caused by cyclists being inexperienced at riding one-handed and either choosing not to signal or wobbling, steering into traffic or falling off the bike as soon as they remove a hand from the handlebar.
Beginners’ cycling injuries can be prevented by finding an empty car park or similar area and practising riding one-handed, looking over your shoulders and, of course, hand signalling routines. Here are some of the most common routines used when riding in traffic or in groups:
Left turn: Extend left arm out to side until parallel with the ground
Right turn: Extend right arm as described above or extend left arm, bend elbow at 90 degree angle (lower arm going up), then point hand vertically to right
Stopping or slowing: Extend right or left arm to side at 45 degree angle to body, rotate hand so palm faces toward vehicles or cyclists behind; engage brake lever with hand still extend and reduce speed slowly to prevent being hit by vehicles from behind
To inform cars or other cyclists that it is safe to pass you, extend your right arm at a 45 degree angle and wave it forward. A wave with the hand raised (elbow bent) is a nice way to thank other road users for letting you pass or go.
Pointing at something and then giving fellow riders the ‘thumbs-up’ indicates that there is something worth looking at, while extending an arm downward, palm parallel to the road and rotating or shaking your hand at the wrist warns fellow cyclists of nails, potholes or road kill; rough surfaces or anything else that should be avoided. Use the left arm to warn of hazards on the left and the right one for hazards on the right. Should another cyclist do something potentially dangerous, a hand put out to the side with the wrist bent will ask them what on earth they are doing.
Be aware of others
Naturally, it is important to avoid causing a road traffic accident by keeping an eye on other road users and looking over your shoulders before executing turns. If, in spite of no error on your part, you are hurt in a traffic accident, you may be entitled to cycling injury compensation. Discover how to claim for compensation by visiting Accident Advice Helpline’s website.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice