What do all the other peculiar things people say and gesture mean?

Generally people will point out an obstruction. If someone says ‘left’, ‘right’ or ‘middle’, that means there is a hole, parked car or something else you would like to avoid in that location. It’s a pretty safe assumption to take the shout of a location to mean ‘Keep away from the…’. About the only time someone will say ‘left’ or ‘right’ to mean anything other than that is when it is ‘Turning left’ or ‘Turning right’. In that situation it is fairly self-explanatory and normally accompanied with someone at the front pointing his or her straightened arm in the appropriate direction.

With gestures, there aren’t many you really need to know. There’s the ‘turning in a direction gesture’ we all know (addressed above) and you might see someone waving his or her left hand behind his/her back while saying ‘On the left’. That means there is an obstruction on the left – generally parked cars. That is (as you might guess) flipped for obstructions on the right of the road. In a country where we drive and cycle on the left, a ‘right side obstruction’ isn’t as common as a left side ‘obstruction’.

If someone stops at a junction and raises one hand with the palm facing forward, it means to stop as the way is not clear. Sometimes you’ll also see an action like someone patting an invisible dog or playing invisible basketball slowly – that means ‘Slow down’. Generally people will say things like ‘Stop’ and ‘Slow down’ too. It’s not difficult to pick up what’s going on.

You might see some other peculiar gestures along your way. We probably have no idea what any of them mean and, quite honestly, doubt the people doing the gesturing know their meaning either. We find it best not to make eye contact with those people.

NB It is important to note – If someone calls ‘Clear!’, always check for traffic yourself.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER trust a ‘Clear!’ 100%.

Even the most level headed practical people can get it wrong from time to time. Others will do their best to help but it’s still up to you to look after your own safety. Always look for traffic at junctions.

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