Is There A Signal To Warn Drivers That I'm About To Avoid An Object?


New Member
Jul 7, 2015
I know the basic arm signals of left, right and slowing/stopping, but is there a signal to warn other drivers that I'm going to be moving over into the lane quickly if I need to dodge an object?

Like for example, I was out on my usual route today on the 40mph road I ride on. There's a three way T junction some distance down from where I start and I normally have a good speed going with the traffic. Was getting closer to the three way with traffic beside and behind me when a driver in an SUV not paying attention pulled out beyond the stop line putting me in the position of getting severely injured or killed should I have slammed into the SUV. Naturally, through instincts, I swerved quickly to avoid slamming into the SUV moving into the road lane with traffic beside and behind me.

While there probably wasn't enough time to warn the traffic going cars, is there any form of arm signal to signal avoidance of an object which would result in me having to move into the lane rather quickly?
I will use a stop signal and take the lane, then point at the object as you make your maneuver, that is how we do it in these parts.
Yes, a lane change signal is identical to a turn signal, same for bikes as for cars.
I just stop, and wait. Because putting my arm out, would put me off balance. I have had balance issues all my life. So, More power to those who can put their arm out in that situation.
The title of your thread precisely illustrates Jim’s Law of the Road: "No matter how lightly traveled and well-paved the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left, as you encounter an obstacle on the right”; and that is my main argument to use a rear view mirror.

Anyways, when I signal a car behind me for an avoidance maneuver (rather than a full stop), I usually extend my left hand downwards and slightly outwards, less than 90°, palm facing the driver. I think of it as a “Whoa” signal.
I would signal it like a lane change, same as left turn signal as far as I know. I try not to ever go so fast that I couldn't stop in my lane to avoid hitting something should there be an object in the bike lane. The worst situation I had was going into downtown where there isn't a proper bike lane there was a very wide truck parked in the parking lane. As I was just about to pass the parked vehicle, a worker stepped around it, so I could not pass without going into the traffic lane, which was full. Then this big rig came down the road and I ended up having to yank my bike behind the parked vehicle because the truck was so wide. The guys thought I almost ran into them because it was so loud and they weren't paying attention anyway.
Pardon me for being anti-cyclist again. I have encountered rude cyclists who would cut my car while I'm on a rolling stop to the traffic light. The attitude of riders here (cyclists and motorcyclists) during a traffic stop is to be on the front so when the light turns green, they have the headstart over the other vehicles. Anyway, those cyclists tend to cut me. One time I got fed up and went down from my car to tell him in his face that he was rude. And you know what's the reaction of that cyclist? A grin.. and nothing more.
Same signal that apply to vehicular drivers also apply to cyclist.

shadowsupernature said:
...Anyways, when I signal a car behind me for an avoidance maneuver (rather than a full stop), I usually extend my left hand downwards and slightly outwards, less than 90°, palm facing the driver. I think of it as a “Whoa” signal.
THIS! Point hard in a commanding posture as many times as safety and time allow. Then get your hands back on the bars and complete your maneuver as quickly as possible.

Hold a line. It's better to stay straight partly in the traffic space than to weave in and out to avoid sewer grates. Holding a line makes one more predictable to a cager. Believe me they recognize when an individual knows what they're doing while matriculating in traffic. Be confident and assertive. Never aggressive or antagonistic.

Then if you HAVE to make a sudden shift the person operating the vehicle behind you is better prepared.
After thinking about it more, if it is a situation where there is very little time to react, we can give you all the advice in the world , but will you have the time to think that fast, stick you arm out with your palms facing outwards, make eye contact with the driver? Probably not. You never know the situation or outcome. I think a experienced cyclist would understand and gauge the situation if there is enough time to act. We just don't know the curve ball that life and circumstances will bring you.
I would think either a turn or stop signal, whichever comes to mind in the heat of the moment...that sounds scary!
In an emergency situation like that, I think do whatever you can to get the drivers attention and keep yourself safe.