Communicate While Riding

You have probably noticed more cyclists on the roads these days. With more people in public spaces (thanks vaccines and CDC) you are now even more responsible for communicating your intentions to your group and other riders. Let’s get a few critical reminders out of the way.

Be safe first, be safe second, be courteous third. The rules of the road exist so we all know what to expect from others. Always be safe first (and second) and nice to others third.

The #1 rule is to be predictable. Obey the rules of the road, ride consistently, and use hand signs.

Don’t tailgate or secretly draft another rider. That is both dangerous and bad riding karma.

If you insist on wearing headphones, please leave the left ear open. In some conditions, you may need all your senses.

On your left. Let others know when you are passing. Pro-tip: get a bell – Ding!

Core Communication – Use your hand(s)

Indicate Where you are going. @FilmedbyBike shows you the way.

Help warn others of hazards. Whether you are leading or following, do it. This is not the complete list of all possible hand gestures, just the most important ones

  • Left arm extended = turning left
  • Left arm bent up at elbow = turning right
  • Pointing – Means: Avoid that! Good for potholes, larger road debris, etc
  • Open hand palm down – Avoid this larger area! Good for gravel, glass, rougher road, etc
  • Left hand down, palm back – Stopping
    • Or Raise your hand is also stopping (better in larger groups)

Core Communication – Use your mouth

  • Stopping! – Say it outloud. Don’t get rear-ended.
  • Slowing! – For when you are slowing down, such as approaching a turn
  • Bump! – For when you will be hitting a bump you cannot go around
  • Glass! – Help others to avoid
  • Clear! – Ok to go through an intersection
  • Carback! – There is a vehicle, any vehicle type, approaching from the rear

This is not the entirety of all hand or verbal communications. Plus some are very specific to different types of riding scenarios. 

And if you are into a video of this, we trust GCN on this.

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