It’s smart to signal every turn, and it could save you from an accident when riding in traffic. But how can you signal when you also need to brake for the upcoming corner?
Try these tips:
—Right turn. Using the left brake lever (front brake) while using your right arm to signal a right turn can be risky. If you’re careful, you can do it when you’re riding in a straight line and the pavement isn’t bumpy. One-hand front braking is never recommended while actually turning.
There are two options. First, you can signal with your right arm well in advance of the turn, put both hands back on the bar to brake to turning speed, then signal right again during the 20-30 feet before making the turn. This way, drivers have at least one and maybe two chances to see your intent.
Second, you can use a driver’s right-turn signal by holding your left arm out with your elbow bent upward 90 degrees. This lets you brake with your right hand (rear brake), which is less likely to cause bike-handling problems because the front wheel remains free to roll.
—Left turn. This is easier because, as just described, you can brake using the rear wheel with your right hand and signal by pointing your left arm outward. Apply steadily increasing lever pressure to decelerate to cornering speed. Don’t snatch the lever, which could cause veering or lurching.
On city streets, keep your speed moderate to give yourself time to signal, brake and turn without any risk to bike control. With anticipation, you may be able to soft pedal and sit up to reduce speed for turns, then signal and never need to brake at all.