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Why hand signals? Can't I just use my voice to warn others?
Yes, you could scream out warnings such as “Clear”, “Car”, “Stopping” etc. However, when in a group the riders in the back may not be able to hear you clearly and certain calls, such as “Clear” and “car”, could sound similar. This is why signaling is more effective. You could accompany a hand signal with a verbal call, if you see the need to do so.
To indicate that you are stopping, hold out your right arm bent 90 degrees at the elbow, palms open facing forward.
An alternative method used is to put your hand behind your back, fist closed and facing the rider behind you.
Stick your left arm out straight with your palm open and facing the road.
Stick your right arm out straight with your palm open and facing the road.
HAZARDS ON THE ROAD
With roads come potholes and other such obstructions like loose gravel, spilled sand etc. Some of these obstacles may cause a rider to fall if encountered with the wheel.
To prevent avoidable accidents, use your hand and point at the area with the hazard and make a circling motion with your pointer or index finger. If it is something such as loose gravel, spread your fingers out and move them up and down. This indicates it is more serious a hazard.
MOVING TO THE BACK OF THE LINE
If you are riding in a single file or a train, and you decide that you want to move to the back of the line, don't randomly cut off from the side and go behind. This could cause some serious accidents. To indicate that you are going to do so, while keeping your hands on the handlebar, flick out your right/left elbow away from your body, depending on which side of the group you mean to drift back on.
If you are riding in a group and are heading towards a narrow road that requires you ride in a single file, indicate so. Raise your arm vertically above your helmet and use an open palm to point forward.
To indicate that you are slowing down, stretch your arm out to the side, and move your palm up and down (like you're dribbling a ball)