Author Topic: Hand signals at night?  (Read 9970 times)

Hand signals at night?
« on: April 24, 2009, 04:39:30 pm »
Tomorrow night I'll be riding the Plains 300 and it will be my first night ride that isn't solo.

I'm thinking that hand signals for road defects, gravel etc will be less than useful, what is the etiquette for this?

How will people be signalling potential problems? ie what are they likely to be shouting and what should I be listening out for?

Please move this if you think it's best suited for somewhere else.

Thanks in advance.

border-rider

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 04:46:06 pm »
Hand signals are usually pretty visible in a group at night. But just be aware that unless the people on the front have decent lights and are awake, the signals may be unreliable

I must admit, it's not something I've ever really thought about before, so I suspect it's not much of an issue in practice.

It is an interesting question though.

red marley

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009, 04:48:19 pm »
If there is need to call rather than signal, I guess the usual calls would be the ones to expect

"Hole left"
"Car up"
"Easy"

etc.

LEE

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 04:53:23 pm »
The problem I have with hand-signal etiquette is that's it's not consistent.

If you follow someone who sometimes does and sometimes doesn't then you are almost guaranteed to end up smashing down a vicious pot-hole.

Because of that I never give hand-signals and never look for them from other people.

At night just keep your eyes peeled (most signals will be obscured by Cateye rear Lasers anyway)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 04:57:43 pm »
I just assume that people won't signal holes, and then, if they do, it's a bonus.

Mind you, there was a chap on a ride a short while back, who, rather irritatingly, signalled road hazards by putting his arm out as if to turn, resulting in a couple of evasive manoeuvres, at least one of which put me through the pothole.  I don't think my stoker was grateful.... :(
Getting there...

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 05:00:51 pm »
We had some people join up with us on the Willy Warmer just after Winnersh.

They followed on the back for about 2 minutes or so then one guy overtook, went to the front, slowed down about 2kph below what we were doing before, passed no hand signals or verbal signals on whilst his mate (now behind me) then whinged at me (now behind the bloke at the front) for not passing on signals.

I've also had people silenty join onto my wheel, not saying a word, and wheelsuck me for 15km into a headwind with no attempt to put in a go on the front (I don't mind if they tell me this, but saying nothing pisses me off) and then saying "you could have warned me about some of those potholes" as they get bored and shoot off the front.

Feh.

I generally dislike group riding in the light. In the dark I really dislike it and prefer to ride next to someone a good few meters behind anyone infront. I'll tell whoever is behind me that I'm unlikely to pass on any signals (except really serious ones) as my brain simply isn't wired for doing it.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

frere yacker

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 05:19:17 pm »
Experience of group riding at night is that people shout rather than point when there is a hazard.

That said, riders tend to cycle close to the white lines in the middle of the road where there are fewer hazards in any case.

scottlington

  • It's short for, erm....Bob!
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 05:25:46 pm »
I'm sure there is some sort of etiquette, and that it varies from group to group, so you're never quite sure what it may be (unless you are very used to riding with said group).  On the other hand, I tend to either ride next to the person I am riding with at night (so we can chat, keep each other awake, share light etc) or quite a way behind and certainly not right up behind as I may do in the light (one of the reaons being that I get dazzled by the rear light generally).

Regardless, it's not the person in front's resposibility to keep me from riding into hazards - it's mine, and I wouldn't want to rely too much on someone who may be extremely sleepy!

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 05:37:28 pm »
I agree with the shouting bit. Especially if it's a warm night, and you are passing close to houses with their windows open, and it's 2am  :thumbsup:.

I leave much more space at night - usually because I'm half asleep and unable to react anywhere near as well to what the rider ahead might decide to do.

Good question though. See you in Poynton at Daft O'Clock tomorrow and we can do some empirical research.  :D.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 06:04:42 pm »
Thanks for the replies.
I do like Greenbanks method of communicating that I'm likely to be uncommunicative, at least people will know the situation.



 See you in Poynton at Daft O'Clock tomorrow and we can do some empirical research.  :D.

What shall I shout to wake you up?  ;D 

I'll probably be early, I'm going to allow 2 hours to get there which is far too long. 

I want to set off now but that might be missing the point somewhat.



Oaky

  • ACME Fire Safety Officer
  • Audax Club Mid-Essex
    • MEMWNS Map
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 09:19:02 pm »
I just assume that people won't signal holes, and then, if they do, it's a bonus.

Mind you, there was a chap on a ride a short while back, who, rather irritatingly, signalled road hazards by putting his arm out as if to turn, resulting in a couple of evasive manoeuvres, at least one of which put me through the pothole.  I don't think my stoker was grateful.... :(

I'm pretty sure I've never ridden with you, so that wasn't me, BUT, I've only recently been getting into the swing of riding in company.

I'm very grateful in that respect to wowbagger and delthebike for helping with my early group riding experience.
On the first outing i ever had with others (wow's yellow roads of Essex), del, in particular, had to take evasive action on a number of occassions while I learnt some of the niceties of signalling.

I'm certainly better at hand signals and calling now, but still have much to learn.  I'm also already passing on the knowledge to others that I ride with.  One chap did, though, interpret my signalling of an obstacle (dead rabbit in the road) as a challenge and promptly bunny hopped (hoho!) it :):).

It all takes time to learn, and more importantly, to feel comfortable with signalling, and sometimes even with the best willin the world, you may be too tied up steering around somethng you saw late to signal it (as i found to my cost on the Essex Roads Spring Lambs sportive, when I had to dodge a vicious pothole by take a 24 mph off road stint through mud and trees, much to the amazement of those that saw - not so much that I did it, but more that I stayed upright, and didn't puncture).

I'm still learning, but getting there.  If anyone needs a tutor, I'd definitely recommend following delthebike for a few miles.

Getting back on-topic for a moment, signals at night are going to be fine, I'd have thought: if you're running sufficient lighting to see any potholes etc. if you weren't following someone, you're surely also running enough to see their signals!

Cheers,
Mark
You are in a maze of twisty flat droves, all alike.

85.4 miles from Marsh Gibbon

Audax Club Mid-Essex Fire Safety Officer
http://acme.bike

plug

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2009, 09:39:55 pm »
It's one reason not to ride in a group at night, I guess.
It's also fairly unpleasant staring at somebody's arse illuminated by 60Lux of LED.
And the brain-freaking disco rear lights and reflectives will do your nut in too.
Ride alone at night.  You know it makes sense :thumbsup:.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 09:42:35 pm »
A not-universal, but helpful, piece of night group riding etiquette is to turn rear LEDs to constant mode when out of town.  For commuting, on the other hand, everyone can eat Smart Superflash.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

mikewigley

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 09:48:13 pm »

See you in Poynton at Daft O'Clock tomorrow and we can do some empirical research.  :D.

I'll probably be early, I'm going to allow 2 hours to get there which is far too long. 

I'm setting off from Delph at about 9 too but I'll ride through Stalybridge so see you there. Looks like it will be dry

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 09:53:46 pm »
A not-universal, but helpful, piece of night group riding etiquette is to turn rear LEDs to constant mode when out of town. 

Thanks, I am planning to do this and I've loosened the bracket slightly so I can angle it down a bit.

border-rider

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2009, 09:55:11 pm »
A not-universal, but helpful, piece of night group riding etiquette is to turn rear LEDs to constant mode when out of town. 

That's a given for audax.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2009, 10:10:06 pm »

See you in Poynton at Daft O'Clock tomorrow and we can do some empirical research.  :D.

I'll probably be early, I'm going to allow 2 hours to get there which is far too long. 

I'm setting off from Delph at about 9 too but I'll ride through Stalybridge so see you there. Looks like it will be dry

It'll be good to say hello in person  :)


Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2009, 10:43:22 pm »
A not-universal, but helpful, piece of night group riding etiquette is to turn rear LEDs to constant mode when out of town. 

Thanks, I am planning to do this and I've loosened the bracket slightly so I can angle it down a bit.

If it's pointed straight back it shouldn't dazzle a rider close behind. Unless it's strapped to the back of your head.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2009, 10:50:00 pm »
My method, day and night, is that if I see a signal in front I repeat it.

If I don't see the signal then the person behind won't see it.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2009, 11:41:45 pm »
A not-universal, but helpful, piece of night group riding etiquette is to turn rear LEDs to constant mode when out of town. 

I told you that but you said (in a quivering voice) "There be Chavs here"





 ;)
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2009, 09:08:57 am »
... and sometimes even with the best willin the world, you may be too tied up steering around somethng you saw late to signal it ...
In this situation, it takes no time to shout. Doesn't have to be anything informative - even a loud expletive is enough to let the riders behind "expect the unexpected"! Just bracing yourself for a hazard can save a damaged wheel or let you stay upright, even if you don't have time to actually avoid the thing. It all helps.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2009, 09:22:11 am »
I don't think there's a particular problem with communication between a group of cyclists riding together at night. I occasionally worry about the visibility of hand signals directed at other road users on dark nights.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2009, 11:29:51 am »
Thanks again for the advice. It passed without incident I think, hand signals were visible, shouts were used, there didn't seem to be any problems and I don't think I was a nuisance to anyone.

I did have to ask one lad to put his lights into constant mode.

I saw Chris S a few times as well  :thumbsup:

Edit: I may well have seen Mr Wigley a few times too but was unaware of it. I'll find out who he is next Monday.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2009, 10:25:21 pm »
I don't think there's a particular problem with communication between a group of cyclists riding together at night. I occasionally worry about the visibility of hand signals directed at other road users on dark nights.

In the winter my gloves have reflective strips. Maybe more reflective stuff on mitts?
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Hand signals at night?
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2009, 10:33:28 pm »
In the winter my gloves have reflective strips. Maybe more reflective stuff on mitts?

I normally wear something reflective on my wrists when cycling home, and in the past I've stitched reflective patches onto the back of my mitts, although this can make things a bit scratchy when wiping a sweaty brow.

Ditto the flashing lights on nights rides, especially the FNRttC. :-\

(...and feel free to tell me to turn the Dinotte off on those, if I forget after doing TEC duties. :-[)
Actually, it is rocket science.