Hand signals for bicyclists are important whether you’re trying to signal for a group of bikers behind you or for other traffic on the road. Accidents on a bicycle can be very dangerous or even deadly. Therefore, it’s important to know hand signals to try and prevent any collisions. You’ll want to know the signals to indicate that you’re stopping or slowing down. In addition, indicating left and right-hand turns is also important. And finally, there are other miscellaneous hand signals you should be aware of. Knowing these signals can keep you safer on a bike and make each ride more enjoyable.

Hand Signals for Bicyclists: Preventing Accidents and Alerting Other Drivers

Why Signaling is Important

Hand signals for bicyclists are so important to help you communicate with other drivers on the road. Cars have turn signals and horns to show other drivers what they’re about to do. However, bikers have to rely on hand signals to give warnings when they’re about to change directions. In addition, when on a group ride, it’s difficult to hear the bikers ahead or behind you. Therefore, hand signals allow you to communicate without yelling or looking backward and becoming distracted.

Stopping and Slowing

The first hand signal for bicyclists that you should learn are indicators for stopping and slowing down. To show that you’re about to stop, hold your left hand out at a right angle with your hand pointing downwards. This is the signal that most people are familiar with. However, some bikers choose to hold a fist behind their back. To indicate that you’re slowing down, hold your hand out and down on your left side and move it up and down. This isn’t as important to cars on the road, but if you’re riding with other bikers it can keep them from hitting your bike. If you need to slam on breaks and don’t want to take a hand off the handlebars, call out “stopping” as loud as possible.


Another set of hand signals for bicyclists to know is left and right turns. To indicate a left turn, hold your left arm straight out to the side and parallel to the street. If you are indicating that you’re turning right, hold your right arm straight out to your side. An alternative way to signal a right turn is to hold your left arm out at a ninety-degree angle with your hand upwards pointed towards the sky. The reason for the alternative versions is because bike lanes are typically on the right-hand side of the road. Therefore, a biker signaling with their right hand might be harder for traffic to see.

Miscellaneous Signals

Finally, there are some hand signals for bicyclists that are less common but equally important. If you are riding with a group of bikers and are the lead bike, you’ll want to alert others of potholes or debris in the road. Do this by holding your hand out and pointing at the hazard. You should also call out. If you’re in the front of a group ride and are ready to move backward, flick your elbow out to the side. This will show the rider behind you that they should overtake you and become the leader. And finally, don’t forget a friendly wave if other drivers on the road give you the right of way.

Hand signals for bicyclists are so important to be able to alert other drivers on the road and other bikers about what you’re about to do. This can prevent accidents from happening when others around you aren’t anticipating your moves. Know how to signal that you’re stopping or slowing down. In addition, you’ll need to know how to indicate left and right turns. And finally, don’t forget to let other bikers behind you know when there are hazards approaching, and other miscellaneous signals. Knowing these hand signals will help you be a safer rider on the road and enjoy your ride.