Bicycle hand signals

Hand signals

Hand signals are given by cyclists and some motorists to indicate their intentions to other traffic. Under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Traffic, bicycles are considered to be vehicles and cyclists are considered to be drivers. The Road rule codes of the world of most countries reflect this.

In some countries (such as in the Czech Republic , Canada, and the USA), hand signals are designated not only for cyclists, but for every vehicle that does not have signal lights or has damaged signal lights. For example, drivers of historical cars and mopeds may be required to make hand signals.

Similar to automobile signaling, there are three primary signals:

Left Turn Signal

All Countries : Extend left arm straight out in the direction of the turn, parallel to the road. The Czech Republic: There are by law two possibilities: either to extend the left arm parallel to the road, or to extend the right arm with forearm angled vertically upward. Cyclists usually use the first possibility.

Right Turn Signal

UK, Ireland, Italy, Australia, US and Canada (see below) : Extend right arm straight out in the direction of the turn, parallel to the road.US and Canada, (optional) : Extend your left upper-arm out to the left, parallel to the road and angle your forearm vertically upward. This follows automotive practice. The Uniform Vehicle Code in the US recognizes both this signal and the arm to the right signal for cyclists. State traffic laws generally conform to the Uniform Vehicle Code, but exceptions may exist.

Arm to the right has the advantage that it is more visible to any traffic likely to be affected, for example vehicles in the next lane to the right or also intending to turn right. The Czech Republic: There are by law two possibilities: either to extend the right arm parallel to the road, or to extend the left arm with forearm angled vertically upward. Cyclists usually use the first possibility, the other drivers (sitting on the left of the vehicle) without signal lights use the second possibility.

Stopping/Braking Signal

UK and Ireland : Extend your left arm directly out to the right parallel to the road with palm facing down and slowly wave the extended arm up and down. US and Canada : Extend your left upper arm out to the left, parallel to the road and angle your forearm vertically downward.Italy : Extend your right arm vertically, with palm facing forward. Australia, Denmark: Extend your right arm vertically, with palm facing forward, or extend your right upper arm out to the right parallel to the road and make your forearm vertical with your palm facing forward.The Czech Republic: There is not any special cycling signal for braking. When a driver or a cyclist stops at the margin of the way, he gives the right turn signal.

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