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Proper Hand Signals

Bicycle accidents are common, and often result in significant injuries

Injury Lawyers Residing in Bellingham, Olympia, and Seattle

It is important while riding to make yourself seen and to clearly communicate your intentions in regard to turns and other course changes.

Bikes do not have the luxury of brake lights and turn signals. This makes it difficult for motorists to interpret where the cyclist will be going at any given time. Using proper hand signals can help alert drivers to turns, stops, and lane changes.

Being seen, and properly communicating with other vehicles on the road are critical safety components in avoiding unnecessary bicycle accidents.

Before Signaling

Simply using the correct hand signals is not enough. Car drivers need enough time to react to your signals.

  • Make sure you are riding with traffic on the right-hand side.
  • Make sure you signal well before you actually need to turn so that the cars behind you can slow down or stop in time.
  • Check behind you before assuming your signal was seen and understood. Looking behind you will further communicate your intention to turn or change lanes.

Remember to use your left arm when making all signals. Since you are riding on the right-hand side of the road, your left arm will be the most visible to traffic.

Signaling To Stop

The stop signal is handy when riding with a pack of cyclists or when a car is following you closely. Remember to keep your right hand on the handlebar to maintain control of the bike. Use this signal early enough to allow for others to stop in time.

Extend your left arm down your side and turn your palm back. The riders or drivers behind you will see your palm to let them know you are planning to stop.

Signaling To Slow Down

Sometimes you don’t need to come to a complete stop, but you do need to reduce your speed. In these instances, you will make sure your palm is facing behind you in the stop position.

Extend your left arm straight out, and then bend your arm at the elbow to create an upside down “L.” It is easy to change this signal to the full stop position by simply lowering your arm.

Signaling A Right-Hand Turn

Letting the driver or riders behind you know that you are turning right is important. Cars planning on turning right will need to know to watch out for you making the same turn.

Extend your left arm straight out, and then turn your arm at a right degree angle so that your hand is pointing up. Instead of an upside down “L” as in the “slow down” position, the right-hand turn signal should look like a right side up “L.”

Signaling A Left Hand Turn

The left-hand turn signal may be the most important signal you can use. Cars behind you will need to know you are going to turn left because you will have to cross the lane and then cross traffic.

Extend your left arm straight out to the left. This signal basically looks like you are pointing in the direction you are turning.

Always remember to wear a helmet, to do all you can to be visible, and to ride with due caution at all times. In the event of a bicycle accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim to recover fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

The experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at the Bernard Law Group have a successful track record of protecting the rights of cyclists in Washington. Call us today for a free consultation.


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