Signals & Calls

Cycling Hand Signals

Knowing the basics of cycling hand signals can help you navigate trails and share the road. Makingother cyclists aware of your speed and direction can also prevent accidents.

CHPT3 Cycling Club Signals


Left or right hand extended out to the side. This basic hand signal should be always used. You should get in the habit of signalling whenever you are cycling on the public highway. But it is essential to signal clearly when riding in a group to warn other riders before you turn. This should be accompanied with a clear “Turning Left/Right”


One hand up and down as if gently patting an invisible dog. This shows that the group is slowing down or just to ease the pace back a bit. This signal is often accompanied with a call of ‘Stopping’ or ‘Slowing’.


Pointing down at the road sometimes with a circling motion. This indicates an obstruction or hazard on the road such as a pothole or drain cover that needs to be avoided. Be sensible with this signal and only point out major obstacles that should be avoided. This signal is often accompanied with a call of ‘Hole’ or ‘Gravel’.

Waving and pointing behind back. This indicates that there is an obstruction such as a parked car or pedestrian and that the whole group needs to move in the direction indicated to avoid it. This signal is often used when passing a walker or another cyclist on a narrow path (in either direction). It is also useful when passing a lone parked car or other obstruction in the road. This signal indicates “moving right” or “moving left” rather than turning right or turning left.

Key Calls

Whilst not exhaustive, the following should give a robust guide.

“Car up!” - There is a motor vehicle coming up behind the group. Whilst perfectly allowed to ride two abreast, riders should consider going single file if a vehicle is getting too delayed.

“Car down!” - There is a motor vehicle approaching the front of the group. On narrow roads, riders should move in or single out to allow the car to pass safely.

“Car left! Or Car right! Or Clear!” - These calls may be used when the group is joining or crossing another road. “Car left!” or “Car right!” means that a vehicle is approaching from the left or right and riders need to stop. Only call “Clear!” if you can see that the road is completely clear in both directions.

“Long Left/Long Right” - When crossing a road, a car may be travelling in the group’s direction, but are suitably far away to allow the group to cross over/join safely.

“Street Furniture!” - This is a general call for sticking out bollards, curbs, street signs or any other hazards related to the highway infrastructure.

“Mechanical!” – Universal call for a mechanical failure of some sort on the bike (e.g. a puncture or if your chain has come off).  Find a safe place to pull over to the side of the road to investigate. Should the need to stop arise, then the group as a whole will stop at a place sufficiently off the road to allow safe passage of traffic.

“One Off” – One of your number has dropped off the back. Alert the rest of the group to ensure this person does not get left behind.

“Single File” – For any number of reasons, the group needs to thin out briefly for safety. This could be a narrow road, bridge or car passing. This is usually called by your Ride Leader.

“(H)orse” – Horses can get scared by loud noises or cyclists going past quickly. When approaching a ridden horse, the lead rider should warn the rider that the group is present and behind, and then proceed and pass slowly.