Road Cycling Hand Signals You Should Know


Road cycling can be quite the exciting involvement for a lot of female athletes because it brings thrill and exhilaration in the exercising world.  What a lot of women that cycle fail to take into consideration is the fact that there is an entire world set up for cyclists and as a serious cyclist, you must learn to play the game and follow the rules of the road.  I mean look, you are a road cyclist, right?  Well, there are specific hand signals that you should use when it comes to riding out on the highway and as I’ve mentioned prior, it could literally be a matter of life and death if you don’t know the proper signals while riding on the road.  The great news for today’s read is the fact that I am going to be sharing some awesome road cycling hand signals that you, as a female cyclist should definitely know!

The Stop Signal

The hand signal you use for stopping will most likely be contingent on the situation. If you’re only riding with one or two other cyclists, a closed fist behind the back would more than likely be adequate. On a large group ride, raising your hand above your head may be a more suitable option because it is more visible to cyclists several positions behind.  Keep in mind that when a sudden stop is required, you’ll likely have both hands on the brake levers. In this situation, calling out “stop” over your shoulder is your next best option.

Learning to Slow Down

When you’re riding with other cyclists, it’s always a good idea to alert those behind you when your speed begins to reduce. This can help to keep others following closely from accidently riding into your wheel.  To signal that you plan to begin slowing down should consist of extending your arm with palm down and move your hand up and down. While signaling, it’s always a good idea to call “slowing” if possible.

Making That Left Turn

Whether you’re entering an adjacent lane of traffic or making a left turn at a traffic signal or stop sign, you’ll need to indicate to others on the road that you intend to change your direction of travel.  To signal a left turn, spread your left arm away from your body to shoulder height, parallel to the road.

Making A Right Turn

Just as you would signal for a left turn, a right turn should be signaled when you aim to change course and move to the right.  In a group, extending your right arm away from your body to shoulder height and pointing in the direction of the turn is typically satisfactory. When you’re riding solo, make your signal more visible to motorists by using an alternative signal, spreading your left arm away from your body at a 90-degree angle.

Pothole Warning

An unseen pothole has the potential to cause an accident, as we all know. When in a group, point out a pothole or other problem that shouldn’t be ridden over by extending your arm on the side of the obstruction and pointing to it.  If possible, alert others behind you by calling out.

Debris Warning

Dirt, gravel, sand, or other loose wreckage on the highway may cause you to lose traction should be gestured to all trailing cyclists.  Though there are two differences to this signal, you should always spread your arm on the side of the loose debris. With your arm extended, you can either wiggle your fingers or wave your hand side to side with your palm down.

When Approaching a Hazard

While a bit complicated to signal, you’ll need to alert cyclists that are behind you of a parked car or an open car door. To signal an approaching hazard, remember to place one arm (use the arm that is on the same side as the hazard) behind your back and point within the direction those behind you need to move.  For example, if there is a parked motorcycle on the right side of the road blocking the roadway, place your right hand behind your back and point to the left.

Coming Upon Train Tracks

If you’d rather not get too complicated with your signals, train tracks or cattle guards can be pointed to just as you would to signal a pothole.  The one downside to not having a specific signal is that if the train tracks often run in the same direction you’re traveling, making it easy for wheel to slip into the groove if you aren’t conscious of what you’re trying to avoid.  To signal for train tracks, spread your arm, point, and move your finger in a back-and-forth gesture horizontally.

The Pull Through Sign

This signal is most frequently used in a pace line during a group ride or race. When you discover yourself on the front of the pack and have either completed your pull or are too tired to continue maintaining the front position, a flick of the elbow will definitely alert the rider behind you that it is their turn to pull through and dismiss you of your duties.


The road can be a stressful place and that’s no lie. While it’s easy to get angry when a thoughtless motorist creates a dangerous situation, it’s just as easy to forget to acknowledge others when you’ve been given the right of way.  Waving to other drivers and your fellow cyclists on the roadway helps to create a less aggressive situation and positively indorse the sport of cycling. It’s also a great way to prompt yourself to enjoy the ride and be welcoming when sharing the highway with others.