More and more states are passing new laws to protect cyclists. In most cases part of the package gives the cyclist the option of signaling a right turn with either their left or right arm. I have not heard any protest from cyclists over this until now.
On a Portland, Oregon blog named Two Five Fix, was this quote:
Please stop pressing the issue to pass the right-hand right-turn turn signal! There are three standardized hand signals that have been in place for years. By changing the rules for cyclist, you are saying "we get special treatment" and causing more us-them mentality. Motorists can't signal a right hand turn with their right hand so why should cyclists? Maybe we can start using blue lights on the back of our bikes too?
When I came to the United States thirty years ago, I accepted the rules, laws and customs of this country. I would ride my bike on the opposite side of the road, I would even refer to “chips” as French Fries and eat them with ketchup instead of vinegar, but I would be damned if I would signal a right turn with my left arm.
It seemed ludicrous to me to signal my intention to turn right by pointing my left forearm towards the sky.
The driver of a motor vehicle can only signal with one arm, and for those who drive on the right it is the left arm.
But people on bicycles, or for that matter motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters have their whole body exposed and both arms can be clearly seen.
So when I arrived on these shores in 1979, I continued to do as I had done all my life, and signaled a right turn with my right arm. To do any different may have been the law, but to me went against all common sense and logic.
I am not 100% sure, but I believe in almost every country in the world, cyclists and motorcyclists use their left arm to signal left, and their right to signal right; America is the exception.
Even to this day I am still caught offgaurd driving behind a motorcyclist on the freeway, when he raises his left left arm with clenched fist, like some militant biker power salute, then suddenly swerves right into the next lane. I am left to wonder, doesn't pointing in the direction you intend to go register in the human brain a split second faster.
Anyway, I have for the last thirty years; riding my bike on the roads of these United States always signaled a right turn with my right arm, pointing to the right. I may have been breaking the law, but there has never been any confusion as to the direction I intended to go.
However, it became a rebellion that no one noticed or even cared about; I was never locked up, or threatened with deportation. In thirty years no one has ever question why I chose to signal that way; not law enforcement, motorist, or cyclist.
The writer of the above comment is concerned that motorists will see different hand signals for cyclists as “special treatment.” It is my opinion that the motoring public could care less about hand signals. When do you last see a motor vehicle driver give one? Heck, many are too lazy to lift one finger to operate the mechanical turn signals.
I believe hand signals for motorists are obsolete. The average American motorist steers with his left hand, if he suddenly had to signal with it, he would be totally flummoxed. The right hand holds the cell phone, the coffee cup, or is used to communicate displeasure with other road users.
Be grateful that many states are giving cyclists the option to signal either way, with the left or right arm. Those used to indicating a right turn with their left arm their entire life, can continue to do so and do not have to learn a new procedure. And foreign nonconformists like me finally become law abiding citizens.