Visible Hands for Low Light Commutes

Donald “Go-by-bike” Wiedman, founder of BikesandTransit.com, has created a unique Facebook event that suggests Toronto cyclists wear bright orange (or yellow, or green) gloves to increase their signal visibility.

Many cycling (or skiing, or snowboarding, or just general winter) gloves are black. And black hands combined with low light on morning and afternoon fall commutes makes for invisible hands.

With bright gloves your hands become far more visible, and to go along with the visibility Donald Wiedman suggests a few creative signals to use in addition to the basics:

STICK OUT YOUR LEFT ARM, SHOWING THE BACK OF YOUR HAND
– to signal you’re about to turn or veer left,
– or bend your elbow and hand up, to signal you’re turning right.
* but you were already doing that anyway right?

POINT TO THE GROUND ON YOUR LEFT
– to remind distracted approaching drivers that there is a little bike lane white line painted there, under their tire,
– that there is too little space for them to squeeze between you, a parked car and a moving streetcar,
– and to let them know that if their left tire is on the inside of the streetcar track, then their right mirror is – by your calculations – about to pass less than six inches from your handlebar!

POINT TO THE GROUND WITH THREE FINGERS EXTENDED
– to remind motorists that they should give a good three feet when they pass a cyclist (according to the Driver’s Handbook – that is nestled there, unread in their vehicle’s glove compartment).

HOLD YOUR ARM OUT, ANGLED DOWN, SHOWING THEM YOUR PALM
– to remind all why-are-you-accelerating motorists that they should be slowing down, not speeding up, when they’re about to pass you.

SHAKE YOUR ARM, HAND AND GLOVE UP AND DOWN, VIGOROUSLY
– to remind dangerously approaching drivers in huge SUVs, vans and trucks that, if they drive with their fender so close to you, then their mirror is about to knock you (and your little styrofoam helmet) off your bike.

GIVE THEM THE THUMBS UP!
– if they’ve slowed, pulled out, and passed you with the decency and respect all cyclists in this town deserve.

Get the gloves at your local hardware store (but be sure to check with your local bike shop first as they may have gloves in colours other than black) and get pedaling with your far more visible hands.

While I haven’t tried these myself, check out these reflective safety gloves at Home Depot, not bad for $20.

Check out the Facebook event here: Let’s Try Biking With Orange Florescent Gloves On!

Live, Tonight: ArtSpin Toronto

Be a part of a group bicycle ride that explores Toronto’s west end art district. Not sure what to expect? This short video will fill you in:

More information at ArtSpin.ca

The meeting point is the gate to Trinity Bellwoods Park at Queen St. & Strachan, between 6:30 – 7 pm and ending around 9 pm. Art Spin is a free event, and anyone regardless of age or cycling ability is welcome.

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