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Two abreast cycling..Yes or no

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  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Pross wrote:
    seanoconn wrote:
    If you're riding on a road wide enough for cars to overtake two single file cyclists safely but not wide enough to overtake two abreast,(because of traffic in the opposite direction) ride single file. Don't be ignorant just because there's no law against, use your noggin.

    In my experience that is exactly what people do, certainly on my club rides. If we are two abreast and a car is behind we just call to single out. However, many motorists seem to get irate when we are two abreast on a two lane road because they can't force their way past when there is oncoming traffic. That's exactly why we ride two abreast - we don't want them forcing their way past as there isn't sufficient width for them to do so safely even when single file.

    For me the test is can cars over take me and is my riding causing a tailback ?

    Blocking cars from over taking for anything but very short periods of time e.g, passing parked cars or clearing a junction is a very bad idea and just winds up drivers. I even hop off the road to let them past if the road is narrow, poor visibility. Road bike v car only leads to one end. Like in mountain biking I always give way to horses but a lot less so to walkers as they can just hop off the trail and back on again.
  • izzaizza Posts: 1,561
    seanoconn wrote:
    If you're riding on a road wide enough for cars to overtake two single file cyclists safely but not wide enough to overtake two abreast,(because of traffic in the opposite direction) ride single file. Don't be ignorant just because there's no law against, use your noggin.

    +1

    However, don't assume that others will use thrie noggin.

    I was recently cycling in Regents Park in the early morning. Three of us on a leisurely ride so their was no reason to break conversation. At one point, with the perimeter road there being as wide as a main trunk road, we rotated around to change who was in the front.

    Police car behind us pulled up and PC in passenger seat gave us a 'talking to' about going three abreast and threatening to take further action if we continued to be an obstruction on the highway. Ironically, since we were rotating around, the third member of the group had to ask what the PC was on about as he was now cycling behind the other two.

    If he'd used his noggin then he may realise that his views would mean no cyclist can ever overtake a chaingang that was two cyclists wide.
  • I passed 3 cyclist riding 3 a breast the other day a turned round to say hello and they were all policeman doing the shifts on bikes never heard one horn telling them to move over ... big surprise
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    It's illegal round these parts so officially no, but everyone does it. Saying that, I did get fined CHF 20 for doing it last year but the guy that tried to run me off the road got fined a few thousand. As I was technically breaking the law, I had to be fined to get him prosecuted too, so I just got the absolute minimum! The policeman was saying to the taxi driver "Are you sure you really sure you want to persue this?" as he wanted me fined for rapping on the side of the minibus. The taxi driver was insistant so the copper just shrugged and said 'okay'!. I wish I could have seen his face when he opened the letter from the court!
  • We have narrow lanes/roads and wider roads around here, on the lanes we ride signal file where we barley see any traffic however you'd want to avoid a head on with a tractor. On the narrow roads they are usually quiet but we will ride 2 up when safe to do so. Always aware of oncoming and traffic from behind where we will then single up.

    On the busier wider roads depending on volume of traffic we will ride two up, this encourages vehicles to use the other side of the road to overtake when safe to do so (ie no on coming traffic (just like they would a horse or slow vehicle), I find if not two up cars will try to 'squeeze' by when passing with on coming traffic. Our groups are always communicating and will shout car up if we need to spread out yo help them pass, and always give a courteous thank you even if beeped or sworn at.

    I've ridden with people who just ignore drivers and stay put anyway and have given them an ear full for it.

    I drive 36k a year and don't think I've ever been held up by a cyclist, I always find I end up catching back up with the car in front when I get to the next junction/traffic light, it also annoys me when drivers do not signal to overtake a cyclist, if I'm three back I generally am aware a cyclist is there as I sweep the road ahead but not everyone else is as observant and don't always know why the car ahead is suddenly pulling out!
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,152
    I drive 36k a year and don't think I've ever been held up by a cyclist, I always find I end up catching back up with the car in front when I get to the next junction/traffic light...

    This. I do similar mileage and genuinely can't remember losing time due to cyclists. It may have happened where I've been held up, missed a green light and things have snowballed a bit but I can't recall it at all. I'm always amazed at the amount of people who are prepared to force their way past (when I'm riding alone) despite there being a long queue of stationery traffic clearly visible just ahead.
  • Road positioning is an interesting one.

    I think the common sense has been covered.

    Good / strong road positioning aids in being seen by traffic approaching from the rear, especially on a left hand bend I find it's better to be further out into the lane to give any traffic from behind the best opportunity of seeing me early. Once I'm happy that I've been seen I will move back to the left. Something which the outer rider can do. Moving to the left isn't an invitation to pass (as long as you don't swerve into the gutter) it just acknowledges that you know the traffic is behind you and you are at least making some effort to ease their overtake. Again conversely on right hand bends a more left biased position is better again to aid visibility and get you further away from the dangers of oncoming traffic running wide so single file would make sense there too.

    Where the road is a thin single track where there is just not room for a cycle and a vehicle to pass then I will pull over when convenient into a farm access or wider section of the road to allow traffic to pass from behind and for oncoming traffic read the road as far ahead as possible and stop early and out of the way if I can.

    Just a bit of common courtesy really.

    Being quite rural here I try to make a point of thanking drivers that make a good overtake, especially if I've held them up for a short while. Hopefully this instills them with the view that us cyclists aren't all self entitled ignorant arseholes that should be shunted off the road at any opportunity. :D


    Cheers





    Clive
  • jc4lab wrote:
    On a recent SKyride they iinsisted this was the best techique and demanded everyone do this.as its safer.for anyone in a touring group.I dont agree..I dont like to go out of my way to antagonise cars. and prefer a defensive riding singlle file...

    Although I don't like the premise of Sky Rides, they're right. Two abreast, especially if in a group of 4 or more is far safer than single file. That way cars and other traffic treat you as a slow moving vehicle and move to the other lane to overtake properly, rather than buzz you close as so often happens.
  • Let's see: you're riding with a friend two abreast and a driver wants to overtake and he can't because of oncoming traffic. So you drop back so as not to antagonise him. Take look at the Highway code advice for him on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070314

    He is obliged to move out as far as he would to overtake a car. How does your riding two abreast create a more difficult problem for him. As for antagonising him, you should, since 2004, have noticed that antagonised motorists happen even to solo riders.

    If on the other hand, their a a number of you, riding in single file makes the overtaking process twice as long, with all the potential for increased risk during that time.

    I've done clubruns on back roads in the Yorkshire Dales where we have deliberately ridden two abreast to prevent a driver from overtaking us, since the narrowness and limited sightlines of the road would have made overtaking us in single file dangerous. And yes, they were antagonised - in those circs. so what?

    Highway Code...
    "never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends "

    going two abreast around roads in the dales is daft. Its only necessary on more open roads.

    doing that annoys drivers and puts everyone at more risk.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    2 abreast or not ...

    The crux is cyclists holding up traffic by not giving space for them to overtake.

    What that is saying is that drivers overtaking cyclists riding 2 abreast go further across the road than those riding in single file.

    Or - to put it another way - motorists are happy to do close passes on cyclists if they feel they can squeeze through the gap ... Seen that loads of times as a single rider ... so perhaps, if I were to ride with another then I may get a little more room - and probably more irate motorists who feel they're being impeded when in reality they shouldn't be overtaking there anyway.
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,152
    Let's see: you're riding with a friend two abreast and a driver wants to overtake and he can't because of oncoming traffic. So you drop back so as not to antagonise him. Take look at the Highway code advice for him on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070314

    He is obliged to move out as far as he would to overtake a car. How does your riding two abreast create a more difficult problem for him. As for antagonising him, you should, since 2004, have noticed that antagonised motorists happen even to solo riders.

    If on the other hand, their a a number of you, riding in single file makes the overtaking process twice as long, with all the potential for increased risk during that time.

    I've done clubruns on back roads in the Yorkshire Dales where we have deliberately ridden two abreast to prevent a driver from overtaking us, since the narrowness and limited sightlines of the road would have made overtaking us in single file dangerous. And yes, they were antagonised - in those circs. so what?

    Highway Code...
    "never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends "

    going two abreast around roads in the dales is daft. Its only necessary on more open roads.

    doing that annoys drivers and puts everyone at more risk.

    Yep, far better to encourage them to overtake when it isn't safe for them to do so. Maybe move into the gutter too just to ensure they know you want them to force their way past.
  • Pross wrote:
    a long queue of stationery traffic
    I assume you mean several of these:

    zfr07.jpg

    :wink:
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    2 a breast keeps us safer and keep the motorist safer too. All too often a car will try to squeeze past a single cylist or squeeze past a group in single file then the car come round the corner then what? that happened on the club ride on Sunday. I try to remind everyone that singling out is bad but it is so ingrained.

    If a motorist feels they are held up then would they think that about having to slow down and give a horse a wide birth? Most motorist are more respectful of horse than us. This is the problem. So 2 abrest is the solution.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Slowbike wrote:
    2 abreast or not ...

    The crux is cyclists holding up traffic by not giving space for them to overtake.

    What that is saying is that drivers overtaking cyclists riding 2 abreast go further across the road than those riding in single file.

    Or - to put it another way - motorists are happy to do close passes on cyclists if they feel they can squeeze through the gap ... Seen that loads of times as a single rider ... so perhaps, if I were to ride with another then I may get a little more room - and probably more irate motorists who feel they're being impeded when in reality they shouldn't be overtaking there anyway.

    Exactly, on a 'normal width road:
    Cyclists two abreast with oncoming car : Overtaking impossible
    Same cyclists singled file : Overtaking impossible
  • rayjayrayjay Posts: 1,384
    Slowbike wrote:
    2 abreast or not ...

    The crux is cyclists holding up traffic by not giving space for them to overtake.

    What that is saying is that drivers overtaking cyclists riding 2 abreast go further across the road than those riding in single file.

    Or - to put it another way - motorists are happy to do close passes on cyclists if they feel they can squeeze through the gap ... Seen that loads of times as a single rider ... so perhaps, if I were to ride with another then I may get a little more room - and probably more irate motorists who feel they're being impeded when in reality they shouldn't be overtaking there anyway.

    Exactly, on a 'normal width road:
    Cyclists two abreast with oncoming car : Overtaking impossible
    Same cyclists singled file : Overtaking impossible

    I have seen it so many times where a car will over take a single cyclist onto on coming traffic and just miss a head on. I think two abreast and the driver will be more likely to wait.
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    Trouble is with it is its seen as part of the arrogance of cyclists that drivers now seem to feel.

    I think it actually angers drivers and makes them take even more silly moves.

    A lot of roads are wide enough to let a car overtake a single file cycles or cyclist without crossing the centre. Hence why a cycle lane can be fitted. So the argument roads are too narrow so make them narrower to overtake isn't right IMO.

    Country lanes are worse as you are also head on with oncoming traffic and the lower visibility and corners doesn't help.

    So really its only a limited number of roads this can be done on and the effectiveness is debatable.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    You've got that backwards, it's only a limited number of roads where the driver can overtake safely without crossing the centre line.
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    Well on Sunday a point was proven when 4 twonks riding 2 abreast coming down hill on a narrow lane past me were way way way too close to me climbing in the opposite direction.

    Absolute di*kheads. I could touch them if I had put my arm out. I know that lane and you get up to about 35-40mph on that little hill.

    Just stupid. Riding two abrest on a lane like that and not even moving over for a fellow oncoming cycle!!


    So if you were in a group if 4 around Salmesbury Bottoms on Sunday.. Next time go single file when passing a oncomming cyclist, car or pedestrian you twonks. In fact that road is too narrow to safely ride 2abrest. Hidden bends, farms and narrow stretches.
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,152
    Don't take up racing if you are scared of being within arms reach of another cyclist :shock:
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Pross wrote:
    Don't take up racing if you are scared of being within arms reach of another cyclist :shock:
    yer - but to be fair, that's slighty different ... you know you're all going the same way and with the same purpose ...
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,152
    But seriously, is getting passed within arms reach by a couple of cyclists doing 30 odd mph really that big an issue? I suspect most of us get passed by that margin by vehicles going faster.

    I'm not necessarily defending the riders in this case as I obviously haven't seen them and I have seen plenty of examples of very poor group riding in the last few years. However, people need to acknowledge that there is a difference in riding two abreast in a tight formation (which, as previously stated is often both safer for the riders and more convenient for anyone trying to pass) and people who have seen others riding in a group and given it a go without any real concept on how to do it correctly.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Pross wrote:
    But seriously, is getting passed within arms reach by a couple of cyclists doing 30 odd mph really that big an issue? I suspect most of us get passed by that margin by vehicles going faster.
    I think it rather depends on circumstances ...

    I guess Rick didn't feel too safe with these guys coming down the narrow lane as he climbed up the other way - but was that uncertainty due to his experience, the narrow lane or the speed and apparent riding style of the oncoming cyclists? Or combination of them ...

    I guess if it's a twisty narrow road without much forward visibility then riding down it at 30+mph isn't a good idea anyway - let alone 2 abreast ... collide with anyone/thing and it's going to hurt ...
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    edited March 2014
    Slowbike wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    But seriously, is getting passed within arms reach by a couple of cyclists doing 30 odd mph really that big an issue? I suspect most of us get passed by that margin by vehicles going faster.
    I think it rather depends on circumstances ...

    I guess Rick didn't feel too safe with these guys coming down the narrow lane as he climbed up the other way - but was that uncertainty due to his experience, the narrow lane or the speed and apparent riding style of the oncoming cyclists? Or combination of them ...

    I guess if it's a twisty narrow road without much forward visibility then riding down it at 30+mph isn't a good idea anyway - let alone 2 abreast ... collide with anyone/thing and it's going to hurt ...



    It wasn't experience - have cycled in groups a lot. It was the sheer blasé nature of it all. The lane isn't really suitable for side by side riding and pulling wider and passing close when somebody is coming the other way wasn't really on.

    what if a car was there or one around the bend? - two abreast on a country lane isn't wise imo.

    this is the lane - https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ll=53.75 ... 5,,0,17.89
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Rick - your link doesn't work for me ...
  • rickeverettrickeverett Posts: 988
    Slowbike wrote:
    Rick - your link doesn't work for me ...

    re-done
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    careful on the approach to the bend - but other than that I can't see a major problem - but that's just from Google Earth ...
    it does depend how tight and fast they're riding of course ...
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,152

    what if a car was there or one around the bend? - two abreast on a country lane isn't wise imo.

    I agree to an extent, I've seen some club mates do this and have near misses with oncoming cars. To be honest, in a few cases going fast at all whether single file or two abreast on roads like that can be scary. Yes, there's always circumstances where two abreast will be less safe but as a rule I would say riding two abreast is safer for the cyclist (and potentially for the driver who doesn't risk a potential head on by overtaking in a dubious location). The thing is most motorists (and some cyclists apparently) do not realise why people ride side by side - it isn't entirely so they can have a nice chat. Unfortunately people that do it badly just make things worse.
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