Bicycle hand-signals

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Soupspoon
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Bicycle hand-signals

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:33 am UTC

Seen in Twitter, but it occurred to me that I have a problem with it:
Image
Ignoring the fourth signal (of which I approve) and the chirality (obviously the British side of the road is the more correct, but take that to Religious Wars), this diagram makes me think that the kerb-side signals are copies of the car-centric need for a driver's arm always to protrude from the median-side window and yet indicate the other way.

Is this just a car-centric view, by the image-compositor, or is it a whatever-the-US-has-for-an-official-Highway-Code prescribed signal? Over here in Blighty, bicycle hand-signals are the respective arm being out in the respective direction (and, for stopping to the kerb, purposefully oscillated up and down a bit - 'flapped' sounds wrong, even with 'slowly' - although I admit I tend to just angle my kerb-side arm down at an obviously visible diagonal to be best seen for what I intend).

Not that people-on-bikes signal much, compared with cyclists, or obey other rules of the road/stay off the pavement(/sidewalk), etc. That's another discussion though.

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HES
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Re: Bicycle hand-signals

Postby HES » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:52 am UTC

British rules, for reference.

Is it not the left side that controls the rear (and primary) brake? My main aversion to hand signals in general is that I'd rather be in full control (still make my intent clear when necessary, of course).
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Re: Bicycle hand-signals

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:39 am UTC

If I'm not capable of being in control when I need to take a hand (either hand) off the handlebars then I'm already riding badly or in trouble for other reasons. No hand signals at all and making intent clearest by careful adjustment of road-placement is preferable to contorting the wrong arm to somehow convey the idea of the right direction.

The left-brake-to-stop 'standard' probably suggested the waving right arm to accompany pulling in, but I have found it confuses drivers and other road users, even those on bikes, most of whom have forgotten most of what they read in the Highway Code anyway. The best result is that they slow down in caution as they try to work out what road hazard I'm trying to point out to them, if they aren't going way too fast to notice and ponder this problem in time, and/or liable to pass close enough to take my arm off at the elbow. I will 'wave' to the kerb (usually nearside, but there are circumstances it might be off-side, awkward as it is to have to foot-down and dismount either the wrong way or the normal way but into traffic) if I wave at all, but a half-past-seven 'semaphore' indication tends to work very well, IMO, while the right-brake is gently applied to complete the stop itself (after prior easing off, succumbing to gradient and/or whatever both-brake initial dissipation of such full headlong flight I might have been in).

But, brake-wise, I've had bikes with both relationships between side of handlebar and end of bike, and ridden bikes(/trikes) with front-brake only. And I've never had a bell on my bike, for much the same reasons.

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Re: Bicycle hand-signals

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:39 pm UTC

Is this just a car-centric view, by the image-compositor, or is it a whatever-the-US-has-for-an-official-Highway-Code prescribed signal?

The second one. Though they're derived from hand signals used for the first automobiles, and they're the hand signals you are to use if you're in a vehicle without proper turn signals or brake lights, though knowingly driving with fucked up signals is generally a traffic offense, so... YMMV there.

Except, of course, it's State-by-State, not federal, so it's slightly different everywhere.

For example, Kentucky Laws state you need to signal your intentions when on a bike. There is no description of what those signals must look like.

That said, the left arm up for a right turn has fallen out of favor for the right arm out, mirroring the left turn, though both are still valid. The reason for the left arm up was because in a vehicle, your left arm can be seen sticking out as the driver sits on the left - but the right arm may not be clearly visible.

In practice, of course, the hand signalling is mostly ignored in favor of drifting back and forth from the street to the sidewalk depending on what's more advantageous (most States have laws against biking on the sidewalk past a certain age), not stopping at stoplights or stop signs (generally also illegal as on the road on a bike you're a legal vehicle and vehicles must stop), or riding the wrong way down a one way street (also illegal for multiple reasons)

On the outside chance you're unaware, the fourth image is based on a real incident.
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Re: Bicycle hand-signals

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:06 pm UTC

It's much the same over here.

It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk(/footway) that is not designated as a cycle-path/dual-use, and has been since before cars and before bikes even, having been covered already by an early 19thC law and then late 19thC amendments, but has been an actually defined fineable offence since near the end of the 20thC. There's no age limitation to this, though practically no enforcement occurs (and police cycle-patrols ride on such areas, and seem to be unaware of the rules - at least for 'normal' people - when you bring it up in conversation).

Spoiler:
I prefer there to be no ambiguity. A road-legal bike only rides on the road (except where otherwise allowed, but without compulsion to take the sometimes badly planned cycle-paths except where explicitly barred) and if the bike isn't road legal then it shouldn't be ridden on the road at all and may not be suitable for mixing with pedestrians in their own habitat. It's best to walk your machine along pavements, across pedestrian (non-Toucan) crossings/footbridges/etc, through any precinct without a permissive notice.


It was a hard-won battle for cycle advocacy groups over a century ago, to not be banished from the roads by the automobile (a parallel with the circumstances that led to jay-walking laws in the US, but swinging the other way) and again I hear calls for bicycles to require number-plates/etc from certain quarters.

And don't wear headphones. Not exactly a legal necessity (save for any general non-compliance with riding with all due care and attention, if you're not the one coming out worse from any situation that develops) but your ears can catch what your eyes might not have had chance to see. But some people seem to want their beats at all times, or at least unnecessarily muffle themselves to look as if they are doing.


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