It occurred to me over the weekend that riding in a group sometimes requires more thought than going out solo. I’m not referring to having watch the rear wheel of the guy in front or warn the rest of the group about dangers but, more particularly, how a group of cyclists affect other road users, notably motorised ones.
I’m firmly in the camp of we-have-just-as-much-right-to-use-the-road and am quite happy to take a road position that may annoy some car drivers. It’s not for that purpose – like most cyclists, I have no desire to be a rolling roadblock but I’ll be damned if I’m going to ride in the gutter or some of the ludicrous road edge cycle lanes that we have round here.
Having said that, a group of five or six cyclists in a group present a fairly significant obstacle for car/van/lorry drivers to pass. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re in single file or paired up – a lot of room is required to get past a group like that and it arguably encourages people to take risks when they’re trying to pass.
I’m not a seasoned peloton-ist. I don’t ride in groups (large or small) on a regular basis so I’m not sure what most do? Is it a ‘sod them, let them wait’ attitude generally or do the club chaingangs have other strategies?
I was wondering whether it’s better to ride in smaller pairs and leave gaps for a couple of cars in between so at least they can overtake in stages? No idea if that makes it worse or not? Whilst I’m a staunch supporter of the cyclists right to be on roads and be there safely, I’m also keen to minimise my impact on other road users.
I’d be keen to hear others’ thoughts on this and any tips.
One thought on “Group Riding Etiquette”
A knotty issue! I think the Highway Code says don’t ride more than two abreast but that you should ride single file if the road is narrow or busy and when riding round bends. Two abreast has advantages in making drivers consider your presence and not simply squeeze by and overtake unsafely – but drivers don’t seem to know that and assume anything more than single file is the devil’s own work. We try not to ride more than 6 in a line (assuming we are riding pretty close to the wheel in front) with gaps between the chaingangs to make it easier for cars to overtake in stages.