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Important Cycling Signals for Group Rides

Daniel Sheflin

Daniel Sheflin spent nearly 15 years with Honeywell in Golden Valley, Minnesota, as vice president of technology automation control solutions. Since retiring, Daniel Sheflin has stayed active through fat-tire biking as well as road cycling.

Most cycling enthusiasts are likely familiar with common hand signals, such as raising the left arm, bending at the elbow, and pointing upward to signal a right turn. However, there are several advanced signals that are especially valuable for riders who enjoy cycling in large groups. Group rides can be socially enjoyable and safer than riding alone, but they also compel riders to communicate with one another frequently.

Pointing out a road hazard to fellow riders is one of the more important signals cyclists should practice, particularly when riding in large groups. To warn of a severe pothole, excessive sand or debris, or any other potentially dangerous obstacle on the road, riders must simply point to the ground with the index finger, indicating the general area of the hazard. It may be helpful to make a circling motion to emphasize the danger, as opposed to simply pointing out something of interest on the road.
The signal for slowing down may be taken for granted by solo riders, who do not regularly need to worry about disturbing the flow of traffic for other riders. During group rides, however, not all stops are expected and leading cyclists cannot always maintain a consistent speed. To signal the need to slow down without coming to a full stop, riders should extend their right arms so that their palms face the ground. This gesture should be maintained until the rider is ready to resume a normal speed or is forced to signal a full stop.

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