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Turn Signals

Old 08-20-22, 07:28 PM
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gringomojado
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Turn Signals

We know the track record of urban drivers using turn signals but how about urban riders who use hand or light turn signal when in traffic? In Chicago, very few cyclists seem to use them, and some people don't seem to understand them.
Then you have your electric scooter riders.......

gm
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Old 08-21-22, 03:04 PM
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I think turn signals are overrated for bicycling. I use them when I think there is someone who cannot figure out what I'm doing and they are likely to respond to my signal. The problem with the American way of routing brake cables is that the left lever operates the front (more important) brake and the left hand is the signaling hand. I don't want to change my brake cable routing to remedy that because the habit is well ingrained. I wear a rear view mirror and know who is behind me. Sometimes I signal with my head so I don't have to take my hands off the bars.

Turn signals made of lights are even more useless because no one on the road expects them. There is very little lateral space between the turn signal and the center line of the bike, so it doesn't convey information as clearly as a turn signal on a car.
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Old 08-21-22, 03:23 PM
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I often use hand signals for turns, or when I'm having to change a lane. Don't see many cyclists using such signals, beyond occasionally. For the most part, cyclists around where I live seem to occupy a lane and stay there, head to the next intersection and occupy the right-hand lane as they head onto the cross street, etc. Not much need for turn signals if that method of getting around is used. Can't recall having seen any cyclists using the "stop" signal; cyclists just stop at a traffic sign/signal.

Of course, around where I live the roadways are in such poor condition that a cyclist is taking a big risk by taking the hands off the handlebars. Just the way it is, around here. Too many seams, cracks, potholes and crud in the road. Safer, to just stay well-perched and go, staying in the lane, staying predictable, staying visible.
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Old 08-21-22, 04:48 PM
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There are a few specific places on my route that I signal turns.

I don't recall ever signaling a stop except to a group of cyclists I was leading.
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Old 08-22-22, 06:02 AM
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I try to use signals as much as possible. Two things I refuse to do because there is a ZERO percent chance of anyone understanding them: signalling a stop with the left upper arm out straight and the left lower arm aimed at the ground & a right turn signaled with the left arm: my right arm indicates a right turn & stopping should be self-evident. If I stop somewhere other than a clearly-understood place (IE: red light, stop sign, etc) I'm off to the side of the road and no longer part of the traffic.

I also adhere to a primary rule that my 1st priority is to ride, so if for whatever reason it is not safe, unwise, or otherwise impractical I do the riding and skip the signalling. (Much like flying where the priorities are: aviate, navigate and communicate - in that order) No sane person will indicate a stopping procedure instead of avoiding an accident - lol

Fortunately the vast majority of my riding is rural and the whole issue is minimal.

Riding in our urban areas is something I try to avoid at all costs, but when I find myself there I try to ride predictably (in that I am part of traffic and behave accordingly) and sometimes resort to the air horn. haha
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Old 08-22-22, 08:57 AM
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The only time I use turn signals is when I'm in the middle of the road trying to make a left turn where it doesn't look obvious or when I change lanes from being on the right side of the road trying to get to the left side in front of cars behind me.

I go so slowly at stop signs that my bike position really tell others where I'm headed.

I'm not so good at braking, signalling and turning my head all at the same time.
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Old 08-22-22, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
The only time I use turn signals is when I'm in the middle of the road trying to make a left turn where it doesn't look obvious or when I change lanes from being on the right side of the road trying to get to the left side in front of cars behind me.

I go so slowly at stop signs that my bike position really tell others where I'm headed.
"Body English" (really lane positioning) works for me most of the time. There're only a couple places I'll regularly signal a left turn. Those are where I've experienced idiots who just have to get in front of that bicyclist; and at one of those, I've even had one of those idiots insist on passing me even though I've gone from the right to the left side of the lane with my left arm sticking out straight.
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Old 08-22-22, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I try to use signals as much as possible. Two things I refuse to do because there is a ZERO percent chance of anyone understanding them: signalling a stop with the left upper arm out straight and the left lower arm aimed at the ground & a right turn signaled with the left arm: my right arm indicates a right turn & stopping should be self-evident. If I stop somewhere other than a clearly-understood place (IE: red light, stop sign, etc) I'm off to the side of the road and no longer part of the traffic.
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Old 08-24-22, 06:56 PM
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Pointing left to indicate a left turn, and/or that I’m moving from the right side of the lane toward the left before a left turn, is pretty unambiguous and I use this signal regularly. I’ve become pretty convinced, after 17 years of riding bikes in traffic, that this is the only hand signal worth bothering with. I never signal right turns, because why. I do see other riders use the left arm signal for a right turn pretty regularly - it’s a small minority of people but it stands out - and it looks for all the word like they’re waving hello. I don’t think drivers understand the gesture, and I don’t see what it would cause them to do differently if they did, so better to keep your hands on the bars in my opinion.
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Old 08-24-22, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
Two things I refuse to do because there is a ZERO percent chance of anyone understanding them: signalling a stop with the left upper arm out straight and the left lower arm aimed at the ground & a right turn signaled with the left arm:
This in a nutshell.
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Old 08-24-22, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I try to use signals as much as possible. Two things I refuse to do because there is a ZERO percent chance of anyone understanding them: signalling a stop with the left upper arm out straight and the left lower arm aimed at the ground & a right turn signaled with the left arm: my right arm indicates a right turn & stopping should be self-evident. If I stop somewhere other than a clearly-understood place (IE: red light, stop sign, etc) I'm off to the side of the road and no longer part of the traffic.

I also adhere to a primary rule that my 1st priority is to ride, so if for whatever reason it is not safe, unwise, or otherwise impractical I do the riding and skip the signalling. (Much like flying where the priorities are: aviate, navigate and communicate - in that order) No sane person will indicate a stopping procedure instead of avoiding an accident - lol

Fortunately the vast majority of my riding is rural and the whole issue is minimal.

Riding in our urban areas is something I try to avoid at all costs, but when I find myself there I try to ride predictably (in that I am part of traffic and behave accordingly) and sometimes resort to the air horn. haha
The vast majority of my riding is urban and I have the same rules for turning: left arm is for left turn, right arm is for right turn. I never signal stopping. I make a lot of right-turns on the way to work and a lot of lefts on the way home, and only one intersection with a traffic light. I wear a blinking light on my forearms at night so my signaling is visible then, too.

As for brakes when signaling a turn, a bicycle should come to a planned stop at an intersection equally well with either front or rear brakes applied alone. If yours doesn't, look into adjusting them. Obviously, an unplanned stop is different, but that usually doesn't involve signaling, so you have both breaks available in that scenario.
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Old 08-24-22, 08:09 PM
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I generally signal if there's someone behind me and I'm not in a dedicated turn lane. And I signal rights if there's someone waiting to come out who will benefit from the knowledge that I'm turning.
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Old 08-25-22, 07:57 PM
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My grandma's using a mobility scooter. This is what they look like https://www.seniorfitness.net/best-f...ility-scooter/ and taught her how to understand turn signals, I hope everything will be fine. I suppose drivers shouldn't pick up a speed that will not be able to slow down
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Old 08-26-22, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ErinKeegan View Post
My grandma's using a mobility scooter. This is what they look like https://www.seniorfitness.net/best-f...ility-scooter/ and taught her how to understand turn signals, I hope everything will be fine. I suppose drivers shouldn't pick up a speed that will not be able to slow down
Does she ride in traffic?
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Old 08-26-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Does she ride in traffic?
I've seen mobility scooters in bike lanes and on quiet neighbourhood streets where there are no sidewalks. They move so slowly, I wouldn't think signals would be required. At the fastest, they'd be like a jogger. Do joggers need to signal if they are running in a mup, a bike lane or around the block?
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Old 08-29-22, 07:08 PM
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I use turn signals when I think it's necessary for the drivers around me. For instance, if I am approaching an intersection and turning right but see people waiting for me to go straight (in my Chicago commute cars often assume I'm going to run the stop and they'll wait for me to do it) I'll signal. Actually, I won't run the sign, but even when I try to wave them through they won't let me most of the time, and automatically give me right-of-way that I don't deserve, which is interesting.

I also signal when I'm trying to move across lanes in traffic, like from the right of a six-lane into the left turn lane that's coming up. I don't signal when there's no one around (but I do in my car) or when I'm doing something really obvious. In all cases I try to use body language indicating what I'm doing, and waving my left arm around is part of that routine.
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Old 08-30-22, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ErinKeegan View Post
My grandma's using a mobility scooter. This is what they look like https://www.seniorfitness.net/best-f...ility-scooter/ and taught her how to understand turn signals, I hope everything will be fine. I suppose drivers shouldn't pick up a speed that will not be able to slow down
I do not understand your post at all. Why would your Nana need to understand (or use) turn signals? I hope she is not using her scooter in bike lanes or on sharrows! The proper place for her scooter is the sidewalk, except for very limited circumstances when proper curb cuts have not been provided. There is no more need for her to deal with turn signals than any other pedestrian. I don't think any locality has a problem with scooters on the sidewalk if they are keeping to safe speeds that do not intimidate the walkers around them.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I do not understand your post at all. Why would your Nana need to understand (or use) turn signals? I hope she is not using her scooter in bike lanes or on sharrows! The proper place for her scooter is the sidewalk, except for very limited circumstances when proper curb cuts have not been provided. There is no more need for her to deal with turn signals than any other pedestrian. I don't think any locality has a problem with scooters on the sidewalk if they are keeping to safe speeds that do not intimidate the walkers around them.
I'm not going to be the one to speak on behalf of the elderly or the disabled in this forum but I did Google why users of mobility scooters like using bike lanes instead of staying on the sidewalk.

So now that I have a better understanding, I will have to show a bit more patience when I follow and pass them in the bike lane.


Now, joggers in the bike lane is something else.
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Old 08-30-22, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
I use turn signals when I think it's necessary for the drivers around me. For instance, if I am approaching an intersection and turning right but see people waiting for me to go straight (in my Chicago commute cars often assume I'm going to run the stop and they'll wait for me to do it) I'll signal. Actually, I won't run the sign, but even when I try to wave them through they won't let me most of the time, and automatically give me right-of-way that I don't deserve, which is interesting.


I also signal when I'm trying to move across lanes in traffic, like from the right of a six-lane into the left turn lane that's coming up. I don't signal when there's no one around (but I do in my car) or when I'm doing something really obvious. In all cases I try to use body language indicating what I'm doing, and waving my left arm around is part of that routine.
We must ride in the same neighborhoods. The right turn signaling becomes a courtesy to the patient driver (yes there are many)!

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Old 08-31-22, 11:01 PM
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I signal all turns on the road with right or left arm as appropriate. I combine the motion with a look over my shoulder to confirm what my mirror has been telling me. I throw a down arm for slowing or stopping and I point straight ahead most times if not turning at an intersection. (All this for normal road surface, traction, threat status etc… if I need to I have both hands covering brake that takes priority…)

I made a mistake today which I will mention so you don’t do it.

I was running a bit late so I took a shortcut which uses a sidewalk to access the street from a long-haul MUP. The sidewalk runs parallel to the street for about 200 feet then there is a curb cut so I can get the on the street.

I threw my left signal and slammed my hand into a street sign at about 15 mph. Fortunately no damage to my hand or arm.

I’m surprised the “rider down” alarm on my Garmin watch didn’t trigger. It has gone off on potholes in the past that seemed much less forceful.
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