Hand signals are as much about the hand signals as they are about the verbal cues that go with them. When you’re in a group, being vocal is critical and is part of the protocol. Remember, in a group people are often chatting, or in indeed concentrating, so you need to get their attention.
This is done in two ways: firstly, by using your voice, and shouting what it is you are trying to convey or by ‘slapping’ your bum to make a loud noise to get their attention.
When you’re turning at an intersection indicate left or right by holding the arm up to which side you’re turning. If you’re in a group, shout ‘LEFT’ or ‘RIGHT’ so that the noise of the shout gets their attention, and the body language backs up what you just said. If you’re on your own, you obviously don’t need to shout, as the traffic won’t hear you, but use your arms as your indicators.
Obstacles on the road
On road bikes, obstacles are a huge safety concern and pose danger for crashing. To point out potholes, manholes, road kill or any other problematic issues, once again ‘slap’ your bum and shout ‘HOLE’ or “MANHOLE” or whatever the obstacle is. Don’t be afraid to be loud and get people’s attention. It could save a crash.
Using the hand signal once again to back up the ‘stopping’ or ‘slowing’ is always optimal.
**Some other tips for cycling in a group **
Ride predictably - Don't make sudden movements where possible. Obviously, if you need to avoid something, you need to avoid it, but shout what it is you’re avoiding at the same time so that people in the groupare aware of what you’re doing
Never turn around – This is a hard one for people to understand. When your body swivels to look back, your bike veers in the direction that your head has turned. If you hear something is wrong behind you, ask a question loudly. If you DO need to look behind you, hold the shoulder of the person riding adjacent to you to steady you while you look back, and they’re looking ahead to make sure all is ok ahead.
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