My bike and I are fairly visible at night--white light in front, red light in the back, bright yellow fenders, reflective tabs and a light on my helmet. I use hand signals to alert motorists when I'm turning... but I don't think they can see my hands in the dark. Is there anything different I should do when I'm signalling a turn in an unlit place?

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    Not really an answer but I consider hand signals to cars basically a courtesy - I NEVER assume that the driver has seen it or is going to do anything about it. Drivers don't consider cyclists as equals, you can signal but most aren't going to give way to an unpowered vehicle however much they are in the right.
    – mgb
    Jan 16, 2011 at 3:21
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    Drivers give way to me all the time, even in cities. (New York, Philly, DC, even Paterson, Newark, and Trenton.) Perhaps it's a matter of making eye contact? Jan 16, 2011 at 3:21
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    @MartinBeckett That's not true everywhere. In cities with a strong cycling culture, drivers almost always yield to my hand signals. I've even had a couple of them roll down their windows afterwards at intersections and thank me for using them! Mar 15, 2012 at 20:35
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    @MartinBeckett I don't consider signalling a courtesy, I consider it basic morality. My life is regularly threatened by others not signalling. I want people to signal therefore I signal. May 18, 2012 at 7:14

9 Answers 9


I should imagine you should be looking for some reflective gloves. Or even some glo gloves Check these out as an example ... http://lifehacker.com/395978/glo-gloves-reflective-cycling-gear

Also using a good reflective jacket that has good reflective strips down the arms is useful.

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    I had a pair of gloves with LED's in them, years ago. I'm not sure if my signals were more visable or not, but they sure made me feel better. Thanks for the link--I hadn't seen these.
    – DC_CARR
    Nov 24, 2010 at 17:13
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    Also consider Reflective Arm Bands
    – Ian
    Jan 16, 2011 at 16:08

Putting reflective bands on your sleeves can help make your movements visible. They don't need to be attached permanently: a second pair of trouser clips works very well when strapped around your cuffs, or possibly the cuffs of your gloves if you're wearing big winter gloves. Something like Ron Hill snap bands (there are lots of equivalent products with different names) are very visible, take up next to no space when you're off the bike, don't encumber your wrists or get uncomfortable, and take only a few seconds to put on when you set off. You might even find your local road safety organization gives away bands like these at events, so they don't have to cost anything.

Wearing reflective (or at least brightly coloured) gloves is also pretty good. Other than that it's all about being extremely cautious.


Similar to the LED gloves, you can always make a signaling jacket.

alt text

I bet I know a few of our friends that would be totally down helping with that ;)

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    Cylon biker! Way cool!
    – geoffc
    Jan 16, 2011 at 13:47
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    This is awesomely cool, but: Many drivers are clueless about hand signals, but many more would be uncertain what a luminescent arrow, floating down a dark street, meant. Someone makes gloves with flashing lights on them, that might be a better option. Mar 15, 2012 at 17:30

I did a project to add electronic Arduino turn signals, brake lights, speedometer, and odometer to my bike. You can check out my project here: http://jdeboi.com/pimpmybike/

  • That's pretty awesome. Could you maybe expand on this answer a bit (via edit) with a picture of the turn signal and a very brief description of what Arduino is and what skills would be required to replicate your project? I do know (basically) what Arduino is, but on a bicycling site, I'd expect many people wouldn't.
    – freiheit
    Jan 9, 2013 at 0:27

I have a pair of these from Sierra Trading Post: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/north-american-trading-soft-deerskin-gloves-reflective-strip-for-men-and-women~p~4617m/ The reflective strip is wide and works as advertised.

If you're biking in cold weather (I'm a Sconnie, so "cold" to me is "25F or below"), I recommend glove liners and/or wristbands; these gloves are a bit drafty.


This problem is easily solved. Just buy some pants cuff protectors ( the kind that keep you pant leg from getting into the chain ), get the ones that have reflective material sewn on them and you can just use these around your arm at night. Any light from a cars headlights in either diredction should light up the reflecting material. Probably cost less than $5 if you want a pair. Most of them are either velcro or elastic for a custom fit. They can be used in all seasons, with a jacket or bare arms.


I wear cheap white cotton gardening gloves on my hands, while biking - they started white and are now a light grey from oil and exhaust fumes. Only cost $2 at the local hardware store.

The other thing is to look for full arm length high-vis jackets or overvests with reflective piping on the arm. Orange is considered better than grellow for night-time visibility.

And ride like they haven't seen you, because they probably haven't.


There are also some (I think experimental) lights with turn signals for bikes.

For example, I once saw an ad for these Lights: http://www.bicygnals.com/indicators.php

A wide front and rear light, both are wirelessly connected together, with yellow lights at the side. One minus point I see for the front light is that it might take up all space on your cockpit, but it seems a pretty reasonable but a little high effort way to go.

  • Those have been around in various incarnations since at least the 1970's. The work poorly, as a rule. One problem is that the indicator is in the centre of the vehicle so unless the following vehicle is close enough to see the shape they don't know which way you're indicating. A Morris Minor style arm that pops out with a light on the end would be better.
    – Kohi
    Mar 16, 2012 at 2:39
  • I am generally with you, and have seen many poor examples of bicycle turn signals. I just wanted to add this alternative answer for interested people that do not know such things exist. And personally, I think that the bicygnals design might even work, because it is pretty wide, surly as wide as most riders buttocks. I never bought or tried one, though.
    – Paul Weber
    Mar 16, 2012 at 14:13

Visijax make a high-visibility cycling jacket that also includes battery-powered indicators. It may be the way to go, at least in winter, if you don't mind looking like a bit of a prat.


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