9 Important Bike Hand Signals You Should Know

Have you ever been out driving on the road and you are stuck with someone who doesn’t know how to use their blinker?

It can be frustrating when you are making behind them, and all of a sudden, they slow down to turn and you have no idea why.

This same frustration applies in the world of cycling.

If you were cycling in a group, there might be ten to fifteen riders in a group, and without proper signaling, it could result in collisions and ultimately injuries.

Even if you are cycling by yourself, bike riding hand signals keep your safe from issues with motorists, and it keeps the drivers on the road safe because they are aware of your intentions if you are using the proper signals.

The only thing worse than no signal is an incorrect signal. In this article, we are going to cover the most critical bike hand turn signals and how to do them out on the road.

Introduction To The Bike Hand Signals

If you have ever cycled in a group before; you know how important it is to know all the necessary hand signals (1).

When you are out on the road, you cannot always hear the other person so having cycling hand signals are essential to keep everyone aware of what’s going on.

Without the proper signaling, someone could get left behind. Here are the nine most crucial hand signals for biking that everyone should know.

1. Stop

Signal Stop

This signal is a common one that you use frequently. There are two ways to do it.

Close your fist and hold it up in the air or raise your hand up in the air. If you are in a large party, be sure to raise your hand high enough for everyone to see it.

2. Slowing Down

You want to make everyone aware of when you are slowing your speed, so those people right behind you do not collide.

For these biking riding hand signals, you put out your hand with your palm down and wave your hand up and down.

3. Left Turn

Turn Left Signal

This signal is especially crucial among traffic situations. You always want everyone in the group to be aware of turns. For left turns stick out your left arm keeping it perfectly horizontal.

4. Right Turn

Similar to the left turn this cyclist signal is also vital for making sure the people you are riding with, and motorists know what your intentions are. Stick your right arm out horizontally away from your body to signal a right turn.

5. Pothole

If you are towards the front of a group, it's important to make everyone aware of an upcoming pothole. Hitting this causes accidents and damage to your bikes.

To signal a pothole directly point down at it or call out “pothole” to your group if possible.

6. Debris

Any debris on the ground may cause an accident.

It's always a good idea to use bike hand signals to point out any obstruction in the road to protect everyone with you. To signal that there is debris on the street, stick your arm out pointing down towards the wreckage and move your fingers.

7. Potential Hazard

Cycling Hazard Hand Sign

This signal is fundamental. A hazard can sneak up on your especially if you are not paying attention, so it helps to alert all cyclists of something like an open utility hole, or open car door.

The cyclist signals for this are putting one arm behind your back and pointing towards the way you need to shift direction too.

So, if there were an open utility hole approaching on the left, you would put your left arm behind your back pointing to the right to the group goes in that direction.

8. Pull Through

If you are the leader of a group and you no longer can continue, or you need a break this signal is used to allow someone else to come forward and lead the team on.

Extending your elbow out away from your body tells the other riders that someone needs to move up and take the lead.

9. Waving

Just the same as in a car. You use bike signals on the road to tell other motorists and cyclists when they have the right of way. You merely wave for them to go like you usually would.

Why Are Bike Hand Signals Important?

Just like it's important to signal in your car, it's as essential to signal on your bike. We share the roads with vehicles, and they expect to know if you are going to cross or turn.

The same applies to cycling in groups. If you are biking in a large group of people, it can become dangerous when riding through tight areas if no one is signaling their next move.

Signaling does not only apply to the leaders of the group. Even those who are riding in the back should signal, that way the entire group is not only making themselves aware of their intentions but they are making themselves known to all the motorists.


There are times where it may seem unnecessary to signal for every little thing, but there is never a wrong time to signal for a potential hazard or an upcoming turn.

When you are signaling correctly, you are promoting a safe cycling environment for yourself and everyone around you.

Be careful out there and enjoy!

This post was last updated on September 21st, 2018 at 02:36 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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