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Michigan Bike Hand Signals: What You Need To Know

April 11, 2024 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Bike Hand Signals: What You Need To Know

Learn the basic bike hand signals to protect yourself and help Michigan drivers understand your next move

Rule No. 1 is wearing your helmet, and it’s one of the best things you can do while riding your bicycle. But what is Rule No. 2?  I would say knowing and using your bike hand signals while riding your bicycle on Michigan roads.

Riding your bicycle safely is your responsibility, and learning how to ride safely can go a long way to preventing  bike-car accidents. That means knowing how to communicate your intended direction to drivers of automobiles using the bicycle hand signals required by Michigan law.

Here’s a simple video I found on how to use hand signals on a bicycle:

Using Michigan’s bike hand signals

Under Michigan law, before a bicyclist who is riding on the roadway turns or stops, he or she must (1) make sure it is safe to do so and (2) give a bike hand signal using his or her hand and arm to indicate whether he or she is turning right, turning left or stopping. (MCL 257.648(1) and (2))

You should begin to signal when you are approximately 50 yards from the location where you intend to turn or stop.

In short, here are the basic hand signals that all bicyclists need to know to stay safe:

Bike Hand Signals

Left turn signals

To signal that he or she is going to make a left turn, a bicyclist “shall extend his or her left hand and arm horizontally.” (MCL 257.648(4)(a))

Right turn signals

In Michigan, the bike hand singal to signal that he or she is going to make a right turn, a bicyclist “shall extend his or her left hand and arm upward,” i.e., raise your left arm with your elbow bent upward at a 90 degree angle and your hand and fingers pointed toward the sky. (MCL 257.648(4)(b))

A right-hand turn may also be signaled by the bicyclist extending “his or her right hand and arm horizontally.” (MCL 257.648(4)(b))

Signals for stopping

To signal that he or she intends to stop (or decrease speed), a bicyclist “shall extend his or her left hand and arm downward,” i.e., raise your left arm with your elbow bent downward at a 90 degree angle and your hand and fingers pointed toward the pavement. (MCL 257.648(4)(c))

SAFETY TIP: Drivers of cars and motorcyclists whose brake lights are not working can also use the same signals.

LAWYER TIP: I’m now seeing defense insurance lawyers in Michigan bike-car accident lawsuits alleging comparative fault and putting comparative negligence on the verdict forms for an injured bicyclist not using bike hand signals – even when it is clear that fault lies with the driver of the car.

Safe riding everyone!

Injured in a bicycle accident? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

Though you may use bike hand signals, bike car accidents can still happen. If you were injured in a bike car accident, call now at (855) 572-7890 for a free consultation with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in auto accidents.

Our secret? Our attorneys deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, our attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 2,000 5-Star reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.

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