Visibility and communication on the road


Italians do it with their hands – what about you?

Anybody who’s ever seen a street has seen a sign on it. They come in all shapes and sizes – from panic-inducing red triangles with exclamation points, to calming blue rectangles with P for parking on them. Each one of them has a purpose and a message to convey.

It’s easy for streets to speak to us through these signs – you stop when they say STOP, you mind the pedestrians when there’s a crossing. But how do you talk to others on the road?

If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ll know that drivers use a combination of a horn and a hand. The horn is to bring attention to another ones’ mistake, but the hand is the one that does the actual talking. Sometimes combined with expletives, one gesture can be a whole paragraph. We won’t tell you which one it is – this is a polite blog.

Pedestrians, in Italy and in other countires, have no horn (exceptions allowed). They have to limit themselves to gestures, voice and violence – we’ve seen elderly ladies in New York physically attack a Taxi with their handbags, so we know the threat is real.

Cyclist have a lot less to communicate with.

Sure, there’s the bell. We love our bells – they warn people we’re behind them, and a nice one makes babies smile. But a bell can only say “I’m here” – there is no deeper message unless you ring it multiple times in an aggressive fashion.

Cyclists have voices, too. Very useful with pedestrians (“Get out of the waaay”), but not so much with cars. Therefore, road-cycling is a dangerous affair, with only one way to communicate from cyclist to driver: gestures.

Do you know what these gestures mean?

 Hand signals by ACTIVE- CLARA blog

From left to right, they’re:

  • Pull over and pay attention
  • Stop
  • Caution - gravel on the side

You thought the last one was a right turn? Yeah, so would we. 

The fact is, it’s hard to signal anything with one hand. Hands are small things – they are easily overlooked, and you only see them clearly from a certain angle.

Also – letting go of the steering mechanism fills some of us with dread. Unless we’re going super slow or are in an empty road, there is very little chance we’ll let go of the handlebars.

CLARA is attempting to provide a high-visibility solution for cyclist communication. A vest that flashes your position and intended route is a life-saver for those that struggle communicating their intentions otherwise. It’s not just for cyclists, either – CLARA is just as useful to joggers and other pedestrians, making sure they are seen in traffic.

The really good news? CLARA is providing an opportunity to WIN one of these amazing, flashing vests! All you need to do is sign up on our website, and you’ll be considered a participant in the draw. Don’t feel lucky? CLARA will soon be coming to Kickstarter, where you’ll get a DISCOUNT if you’re already signed up!

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