Safety imo, hand-signals are "better than nothing"

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by augidog, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. augidog

    augidog Banned

    i use hand-signaling by turning on your blinkers even when there's noone else in sight...and i've been "caught" by the police sitting all by myself at 4-ways with my arm out, so i know they're aware i'm doing my best to keep them from having to save my life or otherwise worry about me out there. i only get friendly waves from our local law & have never been pulled over in 3+ years of riding this area.

    hand signals seem to confuse a lot of cagers, tho...some "wave" back, some have mistaken a right-turn gesture and have flipped me off thinking i had just done the same to's pretty funny i guess. the only times i find signaling truly-effective is when the cager's behind me maybe only because they're not sure what i'm up to so they hesitate, or at controlled intersections. it's a toss up most of the time if i'm being understood so i stay on my toes nonetheless, and i never assume anything when my safety's in someone else's hands.

    so i've habitualized the practice as "better than nothing" and i'm sure it's helped me avoid at least a few mishaps :cool2:

  2. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    Hand signals... Smart move!

    The only thing that I assume is that if I am not attentive to what is going to happen in five seconds, the cagers will something surprising. Like the time I was between the main lanes and an exit ramp, planning to go straight ahead. Cagers passed me on both the left and right sides simultaneously. Had I swerved to distance myself from either cager, I would have been a target for the other.

    So I now avoid heavy volume roads if possible.

  3. mabman

    mabman Member

    Sound advice. Ride defensively at all times!

    My personal crusade is to stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Look and listen. But the other day I was stopped at an intersection, fully stopped but without my feet on the ground as I can track stand through most red lights even, and looked down the street, clear, up the street a car was just coming in to the block. Plenty of time, blast off. Was on my way to the bank and stopped fully at two more stop signs that I didn't have any traffic for either way. When I got to the bank and was parking my rig a gentleman walked by mumbling about how he sure will be glad when the bicyclers in this county stop for stop signs like cars have to. I looked up at him and said I am all about stopping at stop signs and he then and there accused me of just now seeing me run two of them! The only thing I can think of was that he was in the car coming down the street at the first stop mentioned and because I launched across the intersection so quickly he must have assumed that I had run it......Some days you just can't win for losing.

    The important thing to remember is how we ride and how cagers view us. All they see is a bicycle and gauge their reactions on that. But because we are usually traveling at a higher rate of speed they can miscalculate their actions. This perception may take awhile to change, if ever. So in the meantime wear a helmet, show lights when necessary, signal your intentions and be careful out there.
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Hand signals are an excellent idea, for those with hands. In my case, I have only the right hand - and sticking my left arm out to indicate a left turn is always misunderstood - a stainless steel hook isn't what most expect. Years ago, I was signaling a left turn to an oncoming car, waited till it passed me, and two blocks later had 5 cop cars converging on me, cops piling out, guns in hand. Turns out the oncoming car was an unmarked police car, and the cop driving misunderstood my hand signal as me pointing a pistol at him. It isn't fun having three big cops yank you out of your car while two more hold weapons on you, and getting thrown around.

    I did get an apology, amazingly enough. Not, however, before they'd torn my car up looking for my "pistol". Funny thing was, I had a concealed carry permit in my wallet, I just wasn't carrying.

    My trike has turn signals (front and rear), headlamp, taillight, and a strobing orange hazard light on as 6 foot fiberglass wand with a flourescent orange flag on the end. I am going to make an LED turn signal vest as well, from a flourescent lime green highway workers vest. Basically, if someone doesn't see me, they are blind.
  5. professor

    professor Active Member

    I just read Augi's Mark Twain signture- very funny.
    I also hand signal when other drives are around me, pedestrians too. No surprises makes things safer.
    And if you stick your thumb out on making right turns, you will not be taken for giving someone the bird.
  6. seanhan

    seanhan Member

    Yea it's Funny

    When you hand signal, Some of them don't have a clue what the heck you are doing... I remember in 1978 when I got my D/L the trooper made me use hand signals for a few turns just to make sure I really read the book !!! ( that was so long ago the book was written in stone )

    Now I don't know if they even teach them ????
    Oh well at least it does get there attention, guess thats the point...

    Just hope some psycho road rage type doesen't get the wrong idea !!!
  7. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

  8. azbill

    azbill Active Member

    I ride like I am invisible (I always assume they don't see me)
    I also always use hand signals
    (a very good habit I forced my self to do because of the trailer/grandkids)
    I have had the same people 'wave' at an intersection for 2 yrs of taking the 6yr old to school every morning...
    jeez, you'd think they woulda caught the play by now !!! is a very good idea have a safety forum :)
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  9. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

    I have a chartreuse safety vest I wear on some work sites. I think I will start wearing it while riding. I will be hard to miss me with that on. A 300lb man wearing a blinding chartreuse vest on a motored bike will be quite a site.
    A helmet goes without saying. I used to think it was cool to not wear a helmet but take a look a Gary Busey and you will see a great reason to wear one. He is a total nut case now since he cracked his head in a motorcycle accident and actually lucky to still be alive..
    I approach every intersection like someone is going to run the stop sign or traffic light. Keep your head on a swivel and never assume that just because someone has their turn signal on that they are actually going to turn.
    I still ride just wearing sneakers and I know that's bad. I broke three toes years ago while riding my dirt bike because I didn't have boots on. Lets hear more of the things you do to keep yourself safe. The more good info we get out here the better off we will all be and it will show the police we take safety very seriously. It actually could make the difference between getting a ticket and possibly having them look the other way when it comes to the legality of your motored bike.
    I know KilroyCD has had good luck with his local police because he rides smart. It could work for you too.
  10. Stan4d

    Stan4d Banned

    I learned the hand signals when I got my license. That was in 83. Sad thing is my Mom did not have a clue what they were...neither did alot of people who had not been through their first test in a while. I have actually seen people use their right arm extended when turning right. The ones on regular Bikes it kinda made sense. The elderly woman doing it in her Buick because she lost her tail lights was kinda disturbing.:goofy:


    I agree...I have 2 of the bright orange ones and one chartruese (or what I was raised to call sun yellow) vests that I plan to wear when I ride out of the neighborhood.
  11. augidog

    augidog Banned

    "thumb out" on a right turn works for me! i been using it all week...thanks professor :)

    this concept is about "better than nothing"...mucho-kudos to guys like Simon who refuse to i would so love to be able to just buy a universal harness so's to get signals & brakes & such, i can do simple +/- wiring but as soon as circuits intersect i'm lost like a puppy chasing a butterfly ;)

    meantime, i'll just keep "waving" at everyone :rolleyes7:
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  12. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Good safety tip....especially the *thumb Out* tip. I woukld have liked to have been around when SS's prosthetic caused such a furor though. Humor is a good thing. :jester:
  13. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    It wasn't humorous while it was happening, but it actually has made me laugh often over the years when I told the story. The best laugh was at a seminar I was presenting in Quantico in 1999, to a group of rather senior major metropolitan police departments officers - as it turned out, one of them had been one of the responding officers at that little fiasco years before. He told me that the cop in the unmarked car who called in the threatened with a pistol call was never able to live the story down in the dept.
  14. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Agree to all re the defensive driving. I joke that, being a big guy, I'll do a lot more damage to the car than they want, but, like many of you, I also try to avoid the busiest streets when possible, andm I'm always trying to update my 'emergency bailout procedure' in my head as I ride, depending on the situation.

    FYI - I also moved the "view from the other side" thread from the "Laws & Legislation" forum, to be a sticky thread here, as it seem more appropriate. (it's still linked there, though.) I can highly recommend reading the attached PDF file, "A Law Officer’s Guide to Bicycle Safety - Reference Guide" in that thread.
  15. fasteddy

    fasteddy Member

    Loquin, I've told this story here before but if the people who have read it will forgive me I'll repeat it. It ties in with your thoughts but is first hand, I've been there.

    Dec. 18 1965 I went with my brother and his buddy to pick up a 1959 Sprite that I had bought from my friend.
    My brother wanted to try it out before he drove it home and off he went. I heard him coming back and since it was a quiet side street I looked both ways quickly and walked out onto the street. Just a little to quickly it seems.

    What I didn't see was a kid in his Dads new '65 VW bettle. He hit me at about 40 miles an hour. My buddy yelled look out but the car was ten feet away. You just can't act fast enough.

    I bent the bumper into a V.
    Crushed the hood flat.
    Tore the drivers fender off.
    My head hit the drivers side windshield post and bent it back about 6 inches and the roof buckled down.
    The drivers door was hanging off by the bottom hinge.
    I went 15 feet throught the air and landed on the car my brother was driving the other way. Then I got up and walked down the street with 5 guys trying to get me on the ground.

    Two hospitals{the first one was afraid I would die there so they sent me on to the major hospital} and I had a broken knee, 62 stiches in my head and the skull was fractured from side to side or ear to ear and from my right eye up to the of split on top of my head.
    I walked out of the hospital 6 days later. The hospital was not happy but they couldn't stop me.

    The police told my folks when they stopped to see the accident on thier way to the hospital that it was too bad I had died. When Dad said I was very much alive he was told there was no way I could have survived even if I was wearing a motorcycle helmut.
    When he told them again that I was indeed alive one of them said"how do you know". Then Dad told them all who he was and they all tried to apologize at once. Dad said that they had to understand I had more lives than a cat. This was not my first mishap.
    One cop said not anymore, I used them all up that night.

    The best part of it all was the doctor that put every thing back together was a plastic surgeon and I have no scars.

    In short it only works if you see them. You just won't see the one that gets you until it's too late.

  16. Dr. Doom

    Dr. Doom Member

    This makes it easier. Check out the pic[​IMG]
  17. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    hand signals- a good flyer for MB community

    I use hand signals, and it seems people under 30 think I am either giving the Hitler salute (right turn sign with left arm, bent visibly and conspicuously) or waving them to pass me by on the left, instead of waiting for me to turn left (left arm extended, with all fingers extended).

    People are willing to murder you if they have to wait more than 10 seconds to go back to meandering around. You are keeping them from their boring jobs and home lives and dismal fast food smorgasbords.

    We should print flyers with the common hand signals on them (left turn, right turn, stop, etc). Something in a friendly tone.
    IF you are the only cyclist or MB rider they have ever talked to (besides people riding their garage rusting Huffies at the park 2x a year), you are the national spokesman for bicycling/MB to them.
  18. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Blaze orange on a bicycle is a dangerous thing. For the insect-drivers, blaze orange means a pedestrian or construction worker, even if you're moving 20-30mph. They will not wait behind you at all and will flat cut you off or run you off the road.

    The Hi Viz Yellow at least gives them pause, becuase they have to see if you are a cop or not before they give you the bird and try to run over you.

    re: hook prosthetic "gun". Here is what you need, driver! :)
  19. fasteddy

    fasteddy Member

    Happy C, you come across as a very bitter man. I can really, truely understand that.
    I just wish I had started earlier myself. Right on brother.

    As they say, "you can't soar like an Eagle, when your surounded by turkeys".

  20. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I'm not bitter, I'm disappointed!

    I'm one of the nicest people. I am great company, always the humor at any party, always saving the ride with my multitools, and good for advice.

    But the people around here (Dallas TX and suburbs) are idiot drivers. It feels like I live in a lesser country where people just zoom around oblivious to any traffic structure.

    I do really believe change can happen overnight. We just need to get Jay Leno to ride a motor bicycle.