Re: “Young Seattleites are biking more amid COVID-19, and ‘battle for road supremacy’ continues” [May 14, Northwest]:

The tip that bicyclists “should signal their intentions with their hands” may give drivers unrealistic expectations, because it’s often unsafe for a bicyclist to signal. For drivers, signaling can only increase safety, but a bicyclist must remove one hand from the handlebar. Suddenly, bike and rider become less stable — not desirable in heavy traffic or on a bumpy, unclean or wet surface. And if there’s a sudden need to brake, doing so with only one hand on the handlebar can cause the rider to swerve or even crash. Instead, the deployed hand should be retracted back to the handlebar before braking, causing a delay that could be critical.

Drivers can always signal without impacting their level of safety — not so for bike riders. To the tip, I would add “… but only when it is safe to do so.”

Matthew Woodward, Shoreline