So, when did hand signals change?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by jpr95, May 27, 2014.

  1. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Or did they?

    I'm running into a lot more people (in the U.S.) who use their right arm, pointing right, to indicate a right turn instead of what I learned as a kid of holding out the left arm with a 90º bend at the elbow, palm forward, fingers together and thumb out.

    Or the stop signal is now a fist behind the back instead of the left arm in a right angle pointing down.

    Personally, I don't like either for various reasons. The fist can be hard to see (or someone could just be reaching into their jersey. The right-arm-point can be hard for drivers to see if they're just to your left, and it takes your hand off your rear brake.
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Both have been considered acceptable for some time now. I use my left arm bent at a 90 degree angle but have noted some of my European friends use their right arm straight. Don't know if this is more acceptable there or not.
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Most riders here, including myself, use the right arm to indicate a right turn. To me, it's just much clearer to point to where you're going, rather than use the "bent left-arm" signal which was invented for car drivers before vehicles had turn signals. 50+ years on, we can let it go.
     
  4. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Europe and it's the first time I hear signalling a right turn with the left hand.

    I dont think that there is an "etiquette" on how proper signalling on a bike is around here.


    Most people just point the turn and then turn. Most (if not everybody) doesn't signal a stop.


    Most people actually dont signal at all.


    In group rides some people signal rocks, potholes, broken glass etc.
     
  5. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Most people here employ the one finger signal more than any other.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Right arm is common here; it is more intuitive. We hold it high and point right for cars to see. I prefer it since I can keep my hand on the front brake.

    Anything that takes a divers attention off the [insert activity or device here] and on to my riding is a good signal in my book.
     
  7. shilpa123

    shilpa123 New Member

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    Both are acceptable. I believe different signs are valid in differernt parts of the world. I do think that one should be careful while interpretation of signs.
     
  8. JoanMcWench

    JoanMcWench Member

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    Yep, true for me as well. Right armer all the way as well as others riders I've been around. Interesting.
     
  9. BeachyKeen

    BeachyKeen New Member

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    I never knew that there was any other way to signal a right hand turn other than just sticking your right arm out? Well you learn something new every day. I would be very confused if I saw someone signalling with their left arm then turning right, I can see that really leading to some potential accidents.
     
  10. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    Actually I've been using the same arm signals forever, just raise the arm to the side I want to turn and that's it.
     
  11. Kiprasn

    Kiprasn New Member

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    I have always signalled a right turn with my right arm. I strongly believe, that not only this is way more understandable for a typical nowadays driver, it's easier to do and remember for whoever is driving the bike. The old drivers might remember the left hand sign and what it means, but these days I dont know anyone, who would tell that left hand means right turn.
     
  12. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

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    I signal the old fashioned way with the bent left arm for a right turn. That's what I see most people do. I think for urban riding it's better for the cars to be able to see that you are signaling. In town where there are bike lanes, it's not as important for drivers to know you are making a right turn because you never enter their space when doing so. Left turns are the hard ones because not only must you signal, you have to be sure they are paying attention to the fact that you exist.
     
  13. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    I think that signaling is very important, but if we have the arm in one way or another it doesn't really matter as long the drivers understand what direction we are going to take.
     
  14. Connie858

    Connie858 New Member

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    I'm over in Europe so this is the equivalent of a left turn for me. We have always just stuck the left arm out for a left turn, and a right are out for a right turn for as many decades as I can remember - thankfully decades are till only counted on one hand though!

    Every now and again I have resorted to using my left hand to signal right at a crossroads or T junction but only if in mid braking or gear change and the vehicle/other cyclist is coming towards me so and it clarifies the matter. It is certainly not the normal here, but occasionally does help.

    The more difficult one here in the UK is the straight on signal which has been dropped from use (palm of the hand help upwards bent at the elbow). I had an amusing incident at a junction a few years ago with a man in a convertible car with the top down trying to impress the girl he had picked up and in rush hour traffic. I'm holding primary because a lane goes off on the left (to turn left further on) and I don't want that lane, I'm 'holding' him up in his view because he wanted that lane... my lane is marked straight on and right and oddly enough I'm not indicating. You would have thought given the choice of straight on and right with no indicator, it was obvious where I was going - at least I thought so! So at the roundabout he finally gets to come alongside me and in the thickest of local accents says "where you going luv?" Luv is a local word added on to the end of every sentence and is very condescending. Out of ideas and not really thinking clearly having seen how short the skirt is on the rather older girlfriend in the car... bad images coming to mind... I could only reply with one not very sensible comment "Is it one finger or two for straight on?" Thankfully a gap a bike could get into opened up at that moment like magic and I took it.

    Hindsight says I would have been better saying nothing!
     
  15. Rhodolite

    Rhodolite Member

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    It's easier to just point in the direction I'm going because the majority of drivers won't know what you're signaling. It's not something that's covered in driver's ed as something to look out for and because of that would be utterly baffled if cyclists were to use the 'proper' signal.
     
  16. ABNPFDR

    ABNPFDR Member

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    Turn signals were invented because turn signals were not always standard on cars.

    the right turn signal using the bent left arm was created because a driver of the car can't throw an arm out the passenger window.

    It varies by state to state here in America, in Massachusetts its legal to use either signal. Personally I think the right hand for right turn makes more sense.
     
  17. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    I think it's pretty obvious, I just raise my arm in the direction I want to turn and the cars behind me see it and let me go through, no need to complicate it more I think.
     
  18. jumpergrrl1979

    jumpergrrl1979 New Member

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    I agree, I am not sure that there

    I agree, I am not sure that there is any specific way to move your arm. I just raise my arm in the direction that I want to turn. I imagine that I am assuming that the motorists are intelligent enough to figure out what I am saying. Around here any biking on the road is like taking your life in your hands due to inattentive motorists, but I give it my best shot!
     
  19. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    That's what I do too, that's why I say there's no big science to it. If I move the arm to one side I am guessing they know I am turning there, it's a no brainer imo.
     
  20. shilpa123

    shilpa123 New Member

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    I never hand signals have changed. Thanks for letting me know too. It seems like a wonderful thing to use and do. I do believe it is quite useful.
     
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