oh boy, two-posts-in-one
|handy card from Washington Bikes. didn't notice the|
requirement for brakes that skid the wheel until now.
RCW 46.61.758 says "The hand signals required by this section shall be given before initiation of a turn". So I usually brake a little if I have to, then throw out the arm, and return my hand to the handlebar for the turn. Can brake with the opposite hand if needed to slow down during the signal.
Which leads me to re-thinking the rear brake. Since discovering the front brake is the more powerful one, I've been dutifully favoring it. In case of an emergency stop, I wanted it to be second nature to use the front brake. Found out quickly on the rocky trails out at Riverside it's a different story mountain biking, but around town I apply more pressure with the left hand.
But a couple times I've crashed during a low-speed turn because I locked the front wheel. Both of these happened on the Marin Muirwoods with it's cheaper disc brakes, so that could be part of the problem. It got me worried every time I turned into a driveway or attempted a sharp turn. I finally started using the rear brake more in these situations and re-gained my confidence. I also re-learned the obvious - try braking before the turn, not during.
Since then, I've been using the rear brake more when I just need to feather back on the speed a little, as in approaching turns. Sometimes it's just the rear brake, sometimes both. I've gotten better at reflexively using either or both brakes when I need them.