Use One Brake More

I've noticed now that I ride on roads, I use the right brake much more than the left. Usually, at a stop sign, the left hand is signally what direction I'm turning.

Will this cause a problem in the future? I know the right pads will wear out faster. Will it cause any other damage? If so, I'll do my best to break the habit or get a dual controller and put it on the right side.

Let me know!


  • Personally, I signal left hand turns with my left hand, right hand turns with my right hand. I plan my routes so I make more righties than lefties.

    The problem with that, I spend more time adjusting the right brake than I do the left.... No idea why...
  • interesting thought - havent seen any comments various places on that subject.

    in wet weather, you might be asking for problems using just one front brake. in the wet, assuming front tire pressures are equal and brakes balanced, a single lever might be the better choice. bit fiddly keeping the brakes balanced, though.

    one of my delta trikes has a rim brake up front, single lever for the 2 disks in the rear. quite noticeable with underseat steering if you only apply the rear brakes and they are not balanced. the other barge has just left and right rear brakes, a lever for each, and is much easier to stop in a straight line.

    then too, single lever braking, should you have a flat going downhill, could make life real interesting.

    for me, life is simpler with 2 wheels up front and independent brakes. beyond a tad more tire wear, right side braking while signaling left turn at a reasonable speed shouldnt cause any mechanical difficulties.

  • Good news is I do not ride in the rain unless a sudden downpour happens. I counted 17 stop signs on my normal route of 8 miles which limits how much speed I can attain.

    I never thought about signalling with the right arm. Years ago, I was taught to always use the left but most people wouldn't know the difference. And, most riders I encounter use no signalling at all. Maybe no signalling and using both brakes is the way to go.
  • No! You should always signal your intentions. Otherwise you are assuming the drivers and other riders are able to read your mind.

    To me it just makes sense to stick out the arm that's pointing to the direction I want to go, which is why I use the right to signal a right turn. Using the left for a right turn comes from hand signals while driving a car, where you can't stick your right arm out the right window.

    Regardless how you signal you'll still be removing one hand. At the speeds you say you ride you shouldn't have any issues with brake pad wear in the near future.

    If we're doing higher speeds, downhills and/or group rides you need to initially signal, brake adequately and signal again as you coast to the intersection.
  • Thanks for the link, TCEd! I'm going to bookmark this site. It looks like there is lots of good information.

    I was always taught the left arm out and bent up at the elbow was to turn right. Down at the elbow was to stop. I didn't know things had changed. BTW, that vision of a 60-year-old upper arm in the mirror is not pretty!
  • I do have a question. How would you tell a vehicle behind you to stop and not pass? I had this situation a few days ago and just put my arm up. I usually wave them around me if the line of site is limited and I can see further than they can. But, I didn't know what to do to get them to stop and not pass.
  • repeated keep-back gesture would probably do it. standard motor vehicle signal of stationary arm down probably wouldnt be understood.

    with a repeated rearward sweeping kind of motion following car might not understand the signal but arm motion would draw attention that something was going on.

    surprised somebody hasnt come out with a pair of blinkys mounted at the top of seat frame and coupled to the brake levers. squeeze left brake to signal left, squeeze both to signal stop. something like a flare r done up this way would make your intent obvious if drivers were to look up from their text messaging.
  • Was it Idaho Lizard who had a pvc bar on the back of his seat holding headlights? I would put brake lights and blinkers on there also.
  • amongst others. mine is a bit shorter than wheel width, headlights and blinkies at each end. prefer oak dowel to pvc.
  • I'd be a bit cautious with brake lights on a trike. Very few bikes or trikes have them and to expect an auto/truck driver to know the lights are real brake lights vs. some form of tail light is a reach. Unless they are widespread or mandated don't expect someone to stop due to your add on brake lights. And additionally if you're using rear facing flashing red lights how would someone interpret brakes lights ?
  • if the blinkys stay off until the brake levers are squeezed, no doubt it will get following driver attention that things have changed.
  • Funny you should say that TCEd. I was riding a few weeks ago and saw something blinking far ahead but couldn't figure out what it was. He finally came to a turn and I saw that it was another trike. I thought I was the only one in town.

    I was able to see the blinking at least a half mile away. Guess that's better than nothing!
  • They used to teach all the hand signals in driving school. And since the wheel is on the left of the car, the signals all are for the left hand (out the window). Telling a passing car to stop is (if I recall correctly) left arm out, bent DOWN at the elbow, palm flat and facing to the rear.

    These days nobody will know what you are doing, other than drying your nail polish.
  • I know. My boys are 30 and they learned to drive in a parking lot. Worst of all, since they got an A in the class, they could go to the license bureau and get their license without taking a test. Fortunately, I could not afford to buy car insurance for twin boys so they did not get a license until they were 20. Nice to have friends who will drive you around!
  • In Michigan, the only legal turn you could signal from a bike was the left arm extended (turning left) left arm bent at elbow and facing up (turning right) or left arm bent at elbow and facing down (stopping). That all changed in 2014. Now we can signal right turns with our right arm extended straight to the side. Problem is, not everyone knows what any hand signal means. Probably best if we all were to use turn indicators and brake lights... but that won't happen. Just do your best and be safe.
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