A worrying thought about hand signals

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The utility cyclist
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby The utility cyclist » 3 Feb 2020, 8:08pm

John Holiday wrote:Always a good idea to have a decent cycle bell, & not a pinger.
Usually gets a path users attention, slow down & share with care.
With regard to signalling, was amused recently on a Bikeability session in school, when one girl demonstrated the old left turn signal with circular motion of her right hand.
When asked where she had learnt that said her Grandad had taught her!
I now only use it when driving my 1928 Swift Tourer.

Ah so like a car horn, used to get people out the way :roll: If you have to use a bell then you've failed to do what you should have done, verbal communication directly is 100% better, I'd never use a bell nor advocate one for ANY situation.

recumbentpanda
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby recumbentpanda » 3 Feb 2020, 9:01pm

flat tyre wrote:Sometimes I wonder if sticking my right arm out to turn right means "please overtake" to motorists approaching from behind.


-Yep! That’s the one that really worries me!

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby recumbentpanda » 3 Feb 2020, 9:12pm

The utility cyclist wrote:For the OP, you had already slowed, IMO there was little point you indicating at that juncture if you had already taken account for the pedestrians potential actions, unless you asked them you might not know if your hand signal actually was seen or taken as anything at all.


They clearly did see the signal, because at the moment I gave it, they waved in acknowledgement and moved in the direction I was indicating. I can’t read their minds, but the signal is supposed to help them read mine!

When I encounter a mass of peds or if there are some at a crossing/pedestrian refuge and there's nothing bearing down right on my tail I'll ease off, wave them across and the hazard we present to each other is out the way and done. This to me is massively more important than hand signalling and then having to react retrospectively and with surprise to a mis-communication.


I never ever wave people or cars on, nor do I accept ‘wave-ons’ from others. I do not see the situation from their point of view, and they do not see it from mine. If I make a mistake and wave somebody on into danger, I will be to blame.

However, I don’t really see the relevance of the kind of directional hand signals I am talking about, to the situation of pedestrians on a crossing. In that circumstance I am always either stopping or going ahead. No left or right is involved.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby The utility cyclist » 3 Feb 2020, 9:27pm

recumbentpanda wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:For the OP, you had already slowed, IMO there was little point you indicating at that juncture if you had already taken account for the pedestrians potential actions, unless you asked them you might not know if your hand signal actually was seen or taken as anything at all.


They clearly did see the signal, because at the moment I gave it, they waved in acknowledgement and moved in the direction I was indicating. I can’t read their minds, but the signal is supposed to help them read mine!

When I encounter a mass of peds or if there are some at a crossing/pedestrian refuge and there's nothing bearing down right on my tail I'll ease off, wave them across and the hazard we present to each other is out the way and done. This to me is massively more important than hand signalling and then having to react retrospectively and with surprise to a mis-communication.


I never ever wave people or cars on, nor do I accept ‘wave-ons’ from others. I do not see the situation from their point of view, and they do not see it from mine. If I make a mistake and wave somebody on into danger, I will be to blame.

However, I don’t really see the relevance of the kind of directional hand signals I am talking about, to the situation of pedestrians on a crossing. In that circumstance I am always either stopping or going ahead. No left or right is involved.

Just because they waved in acknowledgement doesn't mean anything, you said you slowed down, that in itself could have meant they took that that you wanted to let them do their thing, either way indicating wasn't necessary and indeed led you to think others had seen your signal and interpret it the way you thought they should. That you'd already done the slowing down thing meant no harm, no foul.

As for not waving pedestrians on, well that's up to you but you're failing to do hazard perception correctly, if a pedestrian steps out into your path when they are in a pedestrian refuge or near the side of the road and haven't looked up then there's an increased chance of collision, it takes a couple of seconds to allow peds to get across in situations that might be difficult for them.
This benefits threefold, you're removing the hazard to you, we know colliding with peds can be bloody painful, I know as I had one run into me from the side of the road despite me already slowing and positioning myself toward the centre of the road, them sprinting out into me I could not account for, fractured elbow and hand bones.

Second, it can prevent harm to the vulnerable road user, I won't stop all the time, I will assess the danger to myself and the road situation, if it looks like a good time for them to get across and the road is busy generally then this aids them without any loss to myself.

third, goodwill, it'll make you feel better, it'll make the other person feel better, maybe, just maybe that might just change how they act the next time a similar scenario comes up. You've done an act that has lost you no time at all, you've not thought in the MGIF, you've given some consideration to another human being so they can go about their business safely, wouldn't you want that for yourself on the bike in some situations where you're finding it difficult/unsafe to progress your journey?

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby Pastychomper » 4 Feb 2020, 10:44am

Bmblbzzz wrote:[*]Pointing at the hole, etc. This usually means the finger is pointing almost straight down.
[*]A circular motion with a finger or whole downward-pointing hand. "Go around".
[*]A patting motion, with the hand horizontal, moving rapidly up and down.

They probably all look pretty mysterious to those not in the know, but I don't think any of them could be mistaken for direction signals.


I take a patting motion to mean "don't pass" but I wonder how often it gets mixed up with the circular "turning left" or "do pass" signals.

Driving on long twisty roads I sometimes accept a "pass me" signal from a cyclist or tractor driver, but only with caution and when the signal is clear, because twice in 20 years it got me into a potentially sticky situation. In the later case I was left wondering whether I'd misread the signal or the person giving it had misread the road.
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Feb 2020, 11:17am

Well, the circular "turning left" signal is only used nowadays by people driving 1928 Swift Tourers ( :D ) and I have to wonder how many people would even recognise it. The "please overtake me" signal is certainly seen but doesn't look anything like the patting motion I'm describing; I think I should describe it again. I'm talking a signal with the hand held horizontal and moving up and down while held in that horizontal plane, no backwards-forwards or side to side motion and no rotary movement. Like a "slow down" signal but with only the hand, not the whole arm, moving, and in a much smaller range of movement.

By the way, in looking for an illustration of what I mean, the first thing I came across was this:
https://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/ ... d-signals/
Image
No. 1 is meant to be a "stop" signal. I don't think it's very clear as such and I'm not sure I'd have recognised it. It's certainly similar to waving at someone, or in a race a signal that you need a tube/mechanic. It could also, if not given sufficiently vertically, be mistaken for a right turn.

Driving on long twisty roads I sometimes accept a "pass me" signal from a cyclist or tractor driver, but only with caution and when the signal is clear, because twice in 20 years it got me into a potentially sticky situation. In the later case I was left wondering whether I'd misread the signal or the person giving it had misread the road.

You're definitely right to be cautious about this. I've seen a few near-crashes when one person signalled another to overtake or to go first at a junction, "politely" ceding their priority. A common situation for this is in a line of stop-start traffic when someone in the queue signals to another waiting to enter or leave a side road, without realising there's a bike (pedal or motor) filtering through the jam.

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby millimole » 4 Feb 2020, 5:35pm

When I did my advanced motorcycle training - a long time ago admittedly - I was taught to augment my indicators with hand signals if there was likely to be any doubt about my intentions. I still do use them, quite often.
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby rfryer » 4 Feb 2020, 5:55pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:By the way, in looking for an illustration of what I mean, the first thing I came across was this:
https://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/ ... d-signals/
Image
No. 1 is meant to be a "stop" signal. I don't think it's very clear as such and I'm not sure I'd have recognised it. It's certainly similar to waving at someone, or in a race a signal that you need a tube/mechanic. It could also, if not given sufficiently vertically, be mistaken for a right turn.

4 looks a bit odd to me for a right turn - it's not horizontal, and the palm is facing down rather than forward. Personally, I think this makes it less clear, more like pointing than signalling. Maybe it's an aero version for keen roadies? :lol:

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Feb 2020, 6:07pm

Agree the palm is in an odd position for that one. Aero signals? Perhaps Castelli, or someone of that ilk, will bring out an aerofoil-shaped glove specially for this purpose? :lol:

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby foxyrider » 4 Feb 2020, 6:07pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:By the way, in looking for an illustration of what I mean, the first thing I came across was this:
https://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/ ... d-signals/
Image
No. 1 is meant to be a "stop" signal. I don't think it's very clear as such and I'm not sure I'd have recognised it. It's certainly similar to waving at someone, or in a race a signal that you need a tube/mechanic. It could also, if not given sufficiently vertically, be mistaken for a right turn.


Pretty sure i understand all those signals, most certainly a hand held vertically would have anyone i've ridden with reaching for the brakes in expectation of slowing/stopping - it would often be accompanied by a call of 'slow' or 'stop'. Essentially its the same as a policeman ordering traffic. In a race situation you wouldn't be giving the same warnings to other riders so there's no ambiguity in raising an arm for service - in fact in a race situation thats probably the only hand signal in regular use.
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby tatanab » 4 Feb 2020, 6:11pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:No. 1 is meant to be a "stop" signal. I don't think it's very clear as such and I'm not sure I'd have recognised it.
Agreed, 1 is pretty crazy. Riding in the USA a few year ago, the equivalent stop signal was upper arm horizontal from the shoulder, lower arm vertically down with the palm closed and facing backwards (palm bit probably optional). I thought that was pretty clear. In the UK I'd never seen anybody use a stop signal until the last possibly 15 years. Up until then it was always by voice "easy" "stopping" etc.

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Feb 2020, 6:55pm

tatanab wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:No. 1 is meant to be a "stop" signal. I don't think it's very clear as such and I'm not sure I'd have recognised it.
Agreed, 1 is pretty crazy. Riding in the USA a few year ago, the equivalent stop signal was upper arm horizontal from the shoulder, lower arm vertically down with the palm closed and facing backwards (palm bit probably optional). I thought that was pretty clear. In the UK I'd never seen anybody use a stop signal until the last possibly 15 years. Up until then it was always by voice "easy" "stopping" etc.

I've seen that or very similar signal (as described, with palm "pushing backwards") but to mean "slow down" or "back off", at most "be prepared to stop" rather than actual "stop". Though you could say the difference is only one of degree. Usually, in any group riding that I've done, it's a call of "stopping!"

As for No 1 being like a policeman's stop signal, it's back to front. A policeman's stop signal is given with the palm out, facing the traffic that has to stop, not with the back of the hand. I've also seen a policeman give this signal inadvertently (carelessly even). Two cops directing traffic around a burst water main on a narrow road, one waves traffic through then sticks his hand in the air to wave at his colleague - result, traffic halts, and copper is annoyed with drivers for paying attention to his signals! :lol: :roll:

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby Darkman » 4 Feb 2020, 9:20pm

I always hand signal with my hand flat, with the back of my hand facing towards anything behind me. That sort of hand signal should be crystal to anyone who's ever earned a driving licence.

I see a lot of cyclists pointing a finger out, which is open to (mis)interpreration as mentioned earlier.

So yeah, hand signal, but do it properly.

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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby mjr » 6 Feb 2020, 12:52pm

Continued from viewtopic.php?f=5&t=135325
LollyKat wrote:
mjr wrote:For gradualler stops, we have established signals for stopping (flapping/patting) and widely-understood ones for stopping (kerb hand up).


Widely understood - are you sure? We older drivers had to perform hand signals including the flapping stop one during our driving tests but it seems it is no longer a requirment. As for "kerb hand up" - I've never seen or heard of it! And it's not intuitive either - if I want to indicate that I'm pulling into a kerb I point my hand diagonally down toward the kerb.

The hand signals are still part of the theory tests AFAIK but unlikely to be tested in a car practical test. Whether you've seen kerb hand up probably depends on how much you ride among big groups of other cyclists. It's included in many sportive guides like https://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/ ... d-signals/ (although that shows the front-brake hand being used, which seems odd to me...)

I'd say the diagonal point for pulling across is another non-established but widely-understood one. I think it's more intuitive and widely-understood than the racer's pointing behind their back (3 in the above example). The consequence of that is that pothole/defect signals should have the upper arm horizontal, not sloping like 5 in the Ride London one - not that it really matters because if you mistake one for the other, it still means you ain't gonna ride close to that side of the rider if you've got any sense!

LollyKat wrote:What would be really useful at complex junctions is a signal for going straight on. In Denmark I've seen it done as the offside hand hand pointing straight up (a bit like a police 'stop' sign), but I haven't found it in any offical list.

A hand palm forwards at shoulder height is still in the Highway Code, but officially only for signalling to a traffic officer and strangely only shown for drivers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway ... ed-persons

I suspect almost no other road user will recognise that as meaning you want to go straight on - probably some would think you were telling them to stop, which is probably good enough if they comply :twisted: but in practice I sometimes point at me and then point ahead if I am trying to communicate to a motorist - most often that's to tell a driver who has jumped a give-way line :roll: that I want to ride through their vehicle(!) and I'm not moving until they do. Sometimes they reverse back behind the give-way line - more likely if the junction layout means I obstruct their view of the major road. Sometimes they even look behind them to check for another vehicle...

I sometimes point straight up two or three times if I am signalling to following riders that I am going straight on if they want to ride with me (as sometimes happens when people who know each other are bimbling around) but it doesn't really matter if anyone doesn't know or forgets what that one means. It just informs if they do.

I don't remember any established hand signal for straight on anywhere in the world.
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Re: A worrying thought about hand signals

Postby mjr » 6 Feb 2020, 1:02pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
John Holiday wrote:Always a good idea to have a decent cycle bell, & not a pinger.
Usually gets a path users attention, slow down & share with care. [...]

Ah so like a car horn, used to get people out the way :roll: If you have to use a bell then you've failed to do what you should have done, verbal communication directly is 100% better, I'd never use a bell nor advocate one for ANY situation.

No, it's the opposite of the usual use of a car horn: a bell is sounded well before approaching to avoid startling people. Verbal communication is too late and makes walkers behave very unpredictably and sometimes angrily. Bells are better - ring a jolly tune!
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