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How to Use Hand Signals on a Bicycle

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Published on Aug 25, 2010

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Step 1: Prepare to turn left
Learn how to signal a left turn. About 50 yards before the turn, take your left hand off the handlebars and extend it to the left, perpendicular to your body.

Tip
These signals apply to countries where motorists and cyclists drive on the right side of the road. For countries that use the left side of the road, check with local cycling organizations or direct.gov.uk.

Step 2: Turn left
Hold your hand open and point it in the direction you're turning. Keeping your arm extended, start riding from the right shoulder of the street to the left side of the lane. Once you reach the intersection, turn left.

Tip
Don't assume that cars behind you have noticed your hand signal. Always glance backwards quickly before you initiate your turn to check for traffic.

Step 3: Turn right
Know how to signal a right turn. About 25 yards before you turn right, raise your left hand with the elbow bent 90 degrees, your hand pointing skyward, and your left arm forming an "L." Check for traffic before entering the intersection to turn.

Tip
It's also acceptable to extend your right arm perpendicular to your body to signal a right turn.

Step 4: Stop
Learn the signal for a stop. About 50 yards before you come to a stop, raise your left elbow until it is perpendicular to your body. Point your fingers down to the pavement, palm facing the traffic or riders behind you, so your arm forms a reverse "7." Hold this position until you come to a stop.

Step 5: Signal for a group
Know the signal for a group of riders. If you are riding with a group behind you, signal drivers in front of you by raising your left hand straight above your head, palm forward.

Did You Know?
Drivers and motorcyclists whose turn signals and brake lights aren't working can also use the same signals.

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