Group riding is the relish part of road cycling, whether you ride regularly or every weekend.
Either you are riding in a group or individually, you are required to alert people around you with your intended movements. It is very important for other drivers to know whether you are stopping or turning, This is a good time to learn some road safety rules for your and others smooth communicating.
This handout shall give you guidelines to let other users on the road to understanding your movements. For newcomers, it could be confusing and surprising too to see the noise of group cyclists. They make use of distinct signals and calls to warn the group of the hazards that the cyclists could be exposed to. Therefore, it is very crucial to understand the meaning of each signal so that you can also use hand signals while cycling with confidence. The responsibility of a well-drilled group is always the safety of all riders on the road.
As the drivers of the motor vehicles make use of blinkers or backup lights to communicate with others, being a driver of a bicycle, you must do it with your hands. It sounds pretty interesting, isn’t it? Lets deep dive into the world of cycling and find some useful information regarding hand signals. Everyone has a gusto for cycling these days.
Guide to the Signals to Stay Safe While Riding In Group
There are two methods to indicate turn with your arm. The best is to stick your arm in a straight position out of the side in which you are planning to turn.
In case you want to turn towards the left, means you must point your left arm straight out to left. If you want to turn right-hand side, point right arm straight outwards to the right side of your body.
The signal for stopping can also be done by following two methods. The first way is to put the left arm downside and then out to the side with an open palm facing the backside.
The next method that is adopted by most of the cyclists in a pack to stop other cyclists is to keep the right arm behind the back and make a fist in the mid of the back.
You may also raise your hand in a straight position above the head to show an indication to other cyclists that you are expecting to stop. This is the indication as a call to slow.
To signal a slowdown, point the left arm down to the side with palm parallel towards the ground. Move the palm upside down by maintaining its position parallel to the ground as an indication of slowing and to avoid any confusion with signal for the road debris.
The road debris such as rough road, gravel, remnants of any previous car accident could be hazardous to some cyclists coming in a pack. It could be really painful and embarrassing, having your wheels out from under you. You must use this signal to maintain your dignity and stay upright.
To show a signal to other cyclists, point towards the downward direction and wave the hand towards back and forth or you can shake your hand in a circular motion from wrist.
SPEED BUMPS, RAILWAY TRACKS, AND CATTLE GRIDS
Some of the hazards could come across in the way like speed bumps, rail tracks, or cattle grids. You must put your hand behind you; draw a horizontal line back-and-forth across the back. This could be used also for the broken or unconsolidated surface of the road.
If this type of hazard comes close to being in line in a direction in which you are riding, like tram lines, trace the line clearly in the direction it runs to point the cyclists in the group.
POTHOLES ON THE ROAD
When you approach any hazard in the road, like a pothole or drain cover ensure that the hazard passes smoothly from your cycle.
These hurdles come quickly in the way with little or no time to react. If you are cycling at the back of the group, you can’t see where you are going. You will definitely appreciate this hand signal from the front when other riders use this as this can save you from a flat tire or even worse.
HAZARD ON THE SHOULDER
Pedestrians, runners, stray dogs, parked cars and even some other cyclists could be obstacle who travels in the wrong direction meant for bike lanes. You must try to alert others before anyone else learns the hard way.
Extend your arm in the perpendicular direction of your body, in similarity to the left or right turn signal, it depends on which side the shoulder is on. There is no place of any confusion, avoid it by placing a flat hand behind the back. If it allows, repeat it twice or thrice.
It is very easy to forget this but it strongly ties the relations of road-users. If any vehicle coming towards your group has let you and your group make a turn, acknowledge them with the raised hand of thanks. Making it more generous, you may put an additional smile or raised thumb, it gives an authentic appreciation for the actions of other road users.
While you are riding in a group, bear this responsibility to call out hazards to other bicyclists. Help protect yourself and your team, following all the traffic rules, riding consistently, and attentively. Obey all mentioned signals and signs as cyclists are not exempted from traffic laws. Consider that better your road positioning less you are required to signal with your arms.
Ride Safe, stay safe and enjoy the benefits associated with cycling