I use my bike mainly for my commute to the station, but there are quite a few roundabout with sharp right turns and I find it almost impossible to lift my right arm to indicate my direction, whenever I do I get super wobbly and have to grab the handlebar straight away. Any tips? (I am not an avid cyclist but I really enjoy it casually and road cycling is quite new to me, I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until k was 13 so I’m more of an adult learner )
Do not turn while showing the signal. It is likely too late anyway at this time. Show while still driving straight, and return the hand to the wheel before turning. It is much easier to maintain the straight direction than to turn with just one hand.
Make this signal approximately 100 feet before you turn, to alert others and so that you can get your hands back onto your bike as you turn. Hold the signal for about 3 seconds. (source). Otherwise not only steering but also braking is impacted (Wikipedia). The signals are for communicating your intentions to others in advance.
I think it boils down to practice, practice, practice.
Just to rule out a mechanical problem I’d make sure that the bike itself is in good condition: Wheels properly seated in the frame and fork, no loose wheel hub or headset bearings, handlebar properly aligned (symmetric and at a 90° angle to the front wheel).
Also make sure the bike is the right size and adjusted properly. A super-aggressive seating position with very low handlebar could make it difficult to ride one-handed, especially if you are inexperienced and lack the core and upper body strength.
But in the end it’s really a matter of practice. I suggest practicing on a quiet street or even better on grass (won’t hurt as much if you fall). Just practice riding one handed, taking turns one handed and then the full thing: Looking over your shoulder, indicating, braking and turning. The hard part is that you have to do pretty much all of that simultaneously. Bonus points if you remember to change gears ;)
Of course be extra careful if the ground is slippery (wet manhole covers, wet road surface markings, debris …) or if it’s windy.
If you’d really want to take training to the extreme you could do some core and upper body strength exercises. Things like push-ups and planks which should make it a lot easier to keep your body stable with only one arm.
On road bikes with drop handlebars, one technique I learned about was to switch to the tops of the bars (instead of the brake hoods), and also to use the non-signaling hand to grasp closer to the center of the bars. This technique may also be adaptable to flat handlebars, but I haven’t been on a flat handlebar bicycle in decades. It isn’t clear what type of bike the OP is on.
One could consider fitting an electrical signalling/indicator system, but realistically they're a poor solution because
- Drivers aren't looking for blinkers on a bike
- Even if the flashing indicator was noticed, it might just be taken as a flashing rear light rather than an indicator of direction
- Most bikes are narrow so the separation between indicator flashers is small.
- Whether you have one on the front as well is a sub-issue.
- Some countries actively legislate against "distracting lights"
- Not aero, and add weight (had to put that in)
This one is even sillier because drivers do not have to interpret arrows on other cars, so they simply won't.
And don't even get me started on the ones touting "app control" because who's going to use their cellphone to start a signal ? Many of these products are made because someone will buy them - whether they're useful or not is another question entirely.
Chances are that you suffer from some chronic muscle imbalance (statistically most of us do) and thus exert different forces on the bike when alternating sides.
I suggest you try lifting your hand off the handlebars and at the same time try to move the opposite leg to the lowest point possible while pedalling (cranks should be vertical), so that you can press down and "hold" the bike by cancelling out the forces you exert on the bars and the pedals. Try to do this for both sides and sort of play with the pressure on the pedals and the handlebars.