What is a secret? Is something a secret if at least one other person in the world doesn’t already know about it? That appears to be the view of the Express if yesterday’s article about cyclists’ “secret” hand signals is anything to go by.
“Cyclists use these secret signals ‘not intended’ to be known by drivers to warn of hazards,” reads the headline. References to “a unique code” and “a hidden bid to boost safety” follow.
It all sounds positively masonic, but the truth is far more mundane. The article is actually about the everyday bunch riding signals that are used to warn others of potholes and the like.
“Cyclists even have their own secret code to warn others about vehicles that may be approaching,” states the article at one point.
This particular devilish subterfuge is then revealed to be not exactly on a par with the Enigma code. “Cyclists usually shout the words ‘car back’ or ‘car up’ to warn the pack that a vehicle is coming from behind or ‘car up’ if the model is in front of them.”
Rather flying in the face of the whole secrecy angle, the whole piece is based around comments from Cycling UK that it might actually be useful for drivers to know and recognise one or two of these hand signals.
“These signals are used by members of cycling groups to communicate with each other about hazards, or to signal their intentions to move in the group,” said Matt Woodcock, training manager at Cycling UK.
“They are not intended to be obvious to drivers, so we would encourage cyclists to give clear hand signals to drivers, as shown in the Highway Code, where necessary.
“However, if you are driving and see a cyclist using one of these club signals to warn of a pothole ahead or indicate that they need to move out, be prepared to give them extra space.”