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Using hand signals on the road

When collisions happen between motorcycles and cars, trucks or SUVs in Van Nuys, it is virtually guaranteed that the motorcyclists will the get the worst of them. Sadly, the brunt of consequences that they are forced to bear often does not reflect their degree of fault in causing such accidents. Of the 4,976 motorcyclists that The Insurance Information Institute reports were killed on American roads in 2015, it may be safe to assume that many of them died due to the fault of motorists. Often, motorists will attempt to claim that the motorcyclists they struck suddenly turned into their lanes, leaving them with little time to react. This highlights the need for motorcyclists to do all they can to indicate their intentions on the road in order to counter such claims. 

While motorcycles do typically come with turn signals, they can be difficult for motorists to see. Therefore, motorcyclists may want to also consider using hand signals when attempting to maneuver on the road. Recognized hand signals used while driving include straightening out the left arm to the side to indicate a left turn, raising the left arm to form a 90-degree angle at the elbow to indicate a right turn, and lowering the left arm to form a 90-degree angle at the elbow to show one is slowing or stopping. 

According to California's Department of Motor Vehicles, motorcyclists should adhere to the following standards when using hand signals: 

  • Make them during the last 100 feet before a turning point
  • Hold them for at least five seconds 
  • Use them when pulling to and away from a curb

Even when using hand signals, motorcyclists should still always check their mirrors and their blind spots before turning. It should never be assumed that surrounding motorists saw one's hand signal. 

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