Hand signals are hard

Bikers in Graz have quite a bad reputation esp. when it comes to hand signals. Car drivers shouldn’t really complain, though, as using the indicators of their cars seems also not to be that easy. But I digress…

At school I learnt two hand signals: One with the right arm out to indicate I want to turn right and the left arm out for a left turn. I always considered the latter to be kind of dangerous as it forces you to take your hand away from the rear wheel brake. Because of that many people stop indicating a turn very early to get their right hand back near the brake again.

Bicycle hand signal right turn USALast week I found out by chance that some regions use a different signal for a right turn: The left arm is raised in a 90Β° angle from the elbow. This sounds like a nice solution to the braking problem but it also might cause confusion if a biker is sloppy with their signalling (as most of us are). I also doubt, that most car drivers outside of the US know about that signal which would make it even more dangerous.

Another signal that should be important to any biker is a way to indicate an obstacle or basically anything that would cause them to brake. Esp. in the dark it is very hard to notice when someone in front of you slows down or doesn’t move for a reason. Cars have special lights for that but bikes don’t and IIRC it’s even a legal grey area if you build something like that (although I hope I’m mistaken here). Turns out there is also a stop signal that is similar to that alternative right-turn signal I mentioned above but downwards. Again: Something I’ve never seen being used in Austria but at least it would be not too confusing for anyone.

Hand signals are really hard…

[Image by Sears Sports Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]