“I thought holding your left arm at a right angle was the way to signal a right turn,” a friend said recently after going on a quick neighborhood ride with me.
Yes, I use the “alternate right turn” hand signal.
I’ve decided to break from tradition on this for a couple of reasons.
It’s safer. Most people these days haven’t brushed up on what hand signals mean since high school driver’s ed. It is less confusing to simply point your arm in the direction you will be turning rather than using your left arm to signal a right turn.* Plus, as Wikipedia points out (ha), it is more visible to “any traffic likely to be affected” by your turn, including those behind you also intending to turn right.
It’s easier. As a newbie rider I found just sticking my arm out in the direction I was turning to be a more intuitive/instinctual movement. It was one less thing to think about and meant I could focus more on the traffic around me instead of my arm position.
I still use the traditional signal about 10% of the time, if I’m in a situation where I feel it makes me more visible. But 9 out of 10 right turn signals are “alternate.”
How do you signal?
* This may not be the case in cities with a larger number of vehicles that use hand signals, but most Nashville drivers have very limited experience with anything other than blinkers.