Road Safety and Bike Etiquette: Signalling Tips

Dec 14, 2023

Road Safety and Bike Etiquette: Signalling Tips

Cycling is not just about enjoying the open road; it's also about being a responsible and safe road user. One of the essential aspects of responsible cycling is signalling your intentions. Signalling not only ensures your safety but also promotes courteous and predictable behaviour on the road. We'll explore the critical signals that every cyclist should know.


The Basic Hand Signals:

  • Left Turn: To signal a left turn, extend your left arm straight out to your side. Make sure your arm is fully extended, and your fingers are pointing in the direction you intend to turn.

  • Right Turn: For a right turn, extend your left arm out to the side and bend it upward at a 90-degree angle, so your hand is pointing up, indicating your intention to turn right. Alternatively, you can extend your right arm straight out to your side. Make sure your arm is fully extended.

  • Stop or Slow Down: To signal that you're slowing down or coming to a complete stop, extend your left arm out to the side and point it downward at a 90-degree angle.


Electronic Turn Signals:

Some modern bikess come equipped with electronic turn signals. These are typically operated using buttons on the handlebars and provide a visual indication to other road users. While not all bicycles have this feature, it can be a valuable addition for safety.


Verbal Communication:

In addition to hand signals, using your voice is an excellent way to communicate your intentions. If you're cycling in a group or approaching pedestrians, announcing "Left turn," "Right turn," or "Slowing down" is a useful practice.


Eye Contact:

Maintaining eye contact with drivers and pedestrians can be a subtle yet effective way to communicate. It can signal your intention to cross an intersection or indicate that it's safe for you to proceed.



If you need to draw attention to something specific, such as a pothole or obstacle in the road, use your arm to point at it. This helps alert other cyclists or drivers to potential hazards.


Nodding and Gestures:

Non-verbal cues, such as nodding or waving, can convey messages of thanks or acknowledgment. A nod to a motorist who has yielded the right-of-way can foster goodwill on the road.


Using Lights:

Cyclists should use lights to signal their presence in low-light conditions. A white front light and a red rear light or reflector are essential to increase visibility.


Stopping at Intersections:

When approaching an intersection, it's crucial to make your intentions clear. Signal your turn or stop well in advance to give motorists and other cyclists ample notice.


Changing Lanes:

If you need to change lanes or merge onto a different road, always signal your intention. Look over your shoulder and use hand signals to indicate your intended direction.


Consistency is Key:

To be a predictable road user, make sure your signals are consistent with your actions. Don't signal one direction and then suddenly turn the other way without warning.


Be Mindful of the Environment:

Adapt your signalling to the environment. In heavy traffic or challenging conditions, signalling becomes even more critical. Make your signals clear and visible to others.

Signaling is an essential aspect of safe and courteous cycling. By using hand signals, voice communication, lights, and non-verbal cues, you can make your intentions clear to other road users, reducing the risk of accidents and promoting a safer and more harmonious cycling experience. Signaling isn't just a matter of safety; it's a gesture of respect and consideration for everyone sharing the road.