Bicycle racers and other enthusiasts encourage others to learn how to ride their bicycles without keeping their hands on the handlebars, touting it as a useful skill. However, in many states, including Connecticut, riding without both hands on the handlebars could get a cyclist into trouble with the law. Lawmakers understand the unnecessary danger that riding a bike without hands on the handlebars can pose, especially when riding in traffic.
There are times, such as when a rider needs to signal a stop or a turn, when taking a hand off the handlebars is necessary. According to Bicycle Universe, lawmakers have recognized this by specifying that a bicycle rider must keep one hand on the handlebars at all times. Keeping hands on handlebars offers significant safety benefits.
Shorter reaction time
During the course of an otherwise routine bike ride, a situation may arise that requires a rider to steer away or brake quickly. It is easier to do this when the rider’s hands are already on the handlebars. He or she will not waste precious seconds having to resume the appropriate position.
The entire body in proper riding position has a role to play in keeping the bicycle balanced. A rider who does not ride with hands on the handlebars risks making himself or herself less stable as a result. This is especially true if the hands are off the handlebars because the rider is trying to carry something, another dangerous and unnecessary risk.
Many riders remove their hands from the handlebars specifically so they can use a cell phone or other device while they are in motion. As Flushing Hospital points out, this compromises a rider’s safety by preventing him or her from paying attention to the road and looking out for signs of danger.