Bicycle hand signals are safety measures that have been in place since the earliest days of bicycles and motor vehicles sharing the road together. Even in the modern day when some bicycles come equipped with electric turn signals, hand signals remain an important mainstay.
The question remains, though, as to whether or not motorists will recognize bicycle hand signals when they see them in action. Bicyclists can keep themselves safer by fully understanding how other individuals on the road will interpret their hand signals.
What are bicycle hand signals?
Bicycle hand signals serve to indicate a bicyclist’s intentions, similarly to how a standard car’s brake lights or blinkers might signal other motorists. Bicyclists commonly extend either the left or left arm to indicate a left or right turn. Another common signal is to outstretch an arm and bend 90 degrees at the elbow to indicate slowing down or an upcoming stop.
Do motorists notice and understand bicycle hand signals?
Bike hand signals are noticeable gestures that, above all else, draw a motorist’s attention to the bicyclist so that they are aware of the bike’s presence. Once a motorist notices the bicyclist, common sense will often make it easy for drivers to understand the biker’s intentions. Most motorists will notice, recognize and correctly interpret bicycle hand signals so that bikers and drivers alike remain safe.
The vast majority of drivers are aware that bicyclists use obvious gestures to signal their intentions. While some legally-recognized hand signals are relatively uncommon and unrecognizable to many motorists, most will recognize and understand common signs such as turn signals and brake indicators.