Biking to work: Important hand signals

I started biking to work more than a year ago. Several of my coworkers started a biking group, and I joined them. Although Indiana's harsh winter makes biking to work during all four seasons impossible, I try to do it at least during the warmer months.

I have learned all the hand signals and safety precautions. The correct hand signals are crucial for staying safe on the road while biking.

Biking to work.
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1. Left turn

The best way to indicate you will be making a left turn while biking is to use your left arm. I recommend completely extending your left arm and making it parallel with the ground. Some bike riders like to point their arm to the left also.

2. Right turn

Bike riders can indicate a right turn in several ways. Some people like to use their left arm and bend it while pointing up. I do not like to use this signal because it can confuse some drivers who may think you are turning left. I prefer to use my right arm and extend it completely. You can either make it completely parallel to the ground or point to the right.

3. Stop

If you are biking to work, learning how to signal stopping is essential. You can use your left arm to signal you are stopping. Move the left arm slightly away from your body and point down. Some bike riders like to use the right hand to indicate they are stopping, but both versions are fine.

4. Railroad Crossing

If your route to work includes a railroad crossing, and you are biking with other people, you may want to use a signal for railroad crossings. New riders may need reminders as they learn the biking route, so this signal can help them. You can use your left arm and bend down at the elbow. Then, swing your arm back and forth.

5. Potholes

Many of our streets are filled with potholes. They are just as dangerous for bikers as they are for drivers. Since new potholes seem to appear constantly, you can use this signal to warn others in your biking group about them. You can use either the left or right arm for this hand signal. Extend your arm slightly away from your body and point down. Then, move your arm in a circle to indicate the pothole.

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Updated Tuesday, May 3, 2011