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Old 01-17-06, 04:15 PM   #1
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why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
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Old 01-17-06, 04:19 PM   #2
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I don't see this. In fact the group (20-100) I ride with most often is overly sensitive to staying (too far) to the right and if one moves out of the 'bike zone' one is likely to get scolded by others, even if there are no cars for miles back.

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Old 01-17-06, 04:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
At 20 - 25 mph, which is a typical speed for training groups on the flats, you pretty much have to use the full lane anyway. Whether the lane is taken by 1, 2 or 6 abreast, what difference does it make? Faster traffic has to change lanes to pass.

Also, 120 cyclists in a line is about 1,000 feet long, assuming only 8 feet per cyclist.

If they're six abreast, the same group is only about 150 feet long. Much less impact on traffic that way.

That's but one consideration.
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Old 01-17-06, 05:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
Since you've see it so often, why not ask some of those who are doing it and let us know what they say?
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Old 01-17-06, 05:57 PM   #5
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This is an example of when people in a group begin behaving as a pack or mob. When rules cease to apply because the participants take refuge in the anonymity of numbers.

One bicycle=One vehicle. Always, without exception.
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Old 01-17-06, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
How many lanes are available? If more then one, the motorists can easily change lanes, and should simply consider the cyclists as any other slow traffic they would otherwise also pass.

Why is that when I ride during a quiet weekend on a 6 lane artery, some motorists can't stand it that I use just the one lane and leave the other 2 open in their direction... They want to insist that they get all three lanes even though there may not be another vehicle within a 1/2 mile?
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Old 01-17-06, 06:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by genec
How many lanes are available? If more then one, the motorists can easily change lanes, and should simply consider the cyclists as any other slow traffic they would otherwise also pass.

Why is that when I ride during a quiet weekend on a 6 lane artery, some motorists can't stand it that I use just the one lane and leave the other 2 open in their direction... They want to insist that they get all three lanes even though there may not be another vehicle within a 1/2 mile?
I've had this happen too. They sit behind you and honk and then make a big show of roaring around you, passing and then returning to the far right lane despite there being no other traffic on the road. But these are the same folks that get angry at busses and anyone who slows them for even a moment. What they do with those extra seconds at the end of their journey I can only wonder.
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Old 01-17-06, 06:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides
Getting back to the original question. Part of this is the flip side of many drivers. THEY paid for it so they think anyone else who has not paid doesn't have the same level of rights to the road that they do. With drivers it is gas tax, with cyclists it is the money for the ride.

Now in some cases for some parts of a ride the cyclists are right. The only two paid rides of 100 miles or less that I did had closed roads for all or part.

One other part is by and large organized (as in paid and supported) rides often attract less experienced riders who just do not know any better. This is not to say no experienced riders do paid rides, but when talking less than at least a metric century it seems to me that the vast majority are not experienced and just do not know any better.
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Old 01-17-06, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
At 20 - 25 mph, which is a typical speed for training groups on the flats, you pretty much have to use the full lane anyway. Whether the lane is taken by 1, 2 or 6 abreast, what difference does it make? Faster traffic has to change lanes to pass.

Also, 120 cyclists in a line is about 1,000 feet long, assuming only 8 feet per cyclist.

If they're six abreast, the same group is only about 150 feet long. Much less impact on traffic that way.

That's but one consideration.
Along with "taking the lane" riding two or more abreast is seen as one of the cardinal bicycling sins by most motorists and law enforcement. Definitely one of those areas where emotion over rides common sense.
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Old 01-17-06, 08:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Getting back to the original question. Part of this is the flip side of many drivers. THEY paid for it so they think anyone else who has not paid doesn't have the same level of rights to the road that they do. With drivers it is gas tax, with cyclists it is the money for the ride.

Now in some cases for some parts of a ride the cyclists are right. The only two paid rides of 100 miles or less that I did had closed roads for all or part.

One other part is by and large organized (as in paid and supported) rides often attract less experienced riders who just do not know any better. This is not to say no experienced riders do paid rides, but when talking less than at least a metric century it seems to me that the vast majority are not experienced and just do not know any better.
Most of us drive too...and the roads are not only paid for with gas taxes, at least not here in the tollbooth capital of the world, New Jersey, USA.
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Old 01-17-06, 08:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Getting back to the original question. Part of this is the flip side of many drivers. THEY paid for it so they think anyone else who has not paid doesn't have the same level of rights to the road that they do. With drivers it is gas tax, with cyclists it is the money for the ride.
But most of the drivers have it wrong... property taxes pay for the local roads that most cyclists use... and anyone that owns a home contributes. Gas taxes go into general funds that are often directed to freeway construction and other things.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:25 PM   #12
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But most of the drivers have it wrong... property taxes pay for the local roads that most cyclists use... and anyone that owns a home contributes. Gas taxes go into general funds that are often directed to freeway construction and other things.

Depends where you are at, it's different in diff areas.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
I see it all the time, in fact I can't recall any organized ride where I haven't seen this, as well as people running lights. I think at least part of the problem is that many assume that because it is an organized ride that the route is closed or being managed, but they usually get a clue after the first couple of miles. After that, there is no excuse.
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Old 01-18-06, 06:35 AM   #14
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The way I see it you have generally 2 difference scenarios both of which I have take part in.

1) Charity ride that attracts hundreds of cyclists with skill/experience level all over the map including children

2) Large training ride with all or nearly all seasoned racing cyclists

Charity rides will break up into smaller groups/individuals with lots of rest stops so for that particular day, people driving in the area hopefully have been forewarned by the media and signage posted by the organizer. In this case autos should just chill out because once they get past one group, there will be tons more ahead if they are driving on the tour route.

I do club training rides all the time with up to 50 cyclist. Like Helmet said, it is really much easier for a car to pass a short/wide group of cyclists than a long/thin group. The auto is obliged to move to the other lane regardless. My club will ride in tight formation 2 abreast for miles and miles when in areas of heavy traffic, then spread out when out in the hinterlands.
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Old 01-18-06, 06:41 AM   #15
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Hummmmm..................never seen it in my group rides. Not saying it could not happen or has but the guys I ride with are very observant of that pet peve.
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Old 01-18-06, 06:58 AM   #16
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In Maryland, it is legal to ride side-by-side no more than two cyclist wide -unless- you are impeding the normal flow of traffic. If this occurs, then cyclist are required to reform into a single line.
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Old 01-18-06, 07:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them!
I hear your frustration. But look at it this way--two cyclists riding abreast already take up the entire lane.
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Old 01-18-06, 10:26 AM   #18
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But most of the drivers have it wrong... property taxes pay for the local roads that most cyclists use... and anyone that owns a home contributes. Gas taxes go into general funds that are often directed to freeway construction and other things.
Quite right, exactly like the riders in a paid for ride have it wrong. Fees for an organized ride do not help pay for the road. The issue is not reality, but rather the mindset of teh driver or rider.
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Old 01-18-06, 10:31 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
Along with "taking the lane" riding two or more abreast is seen as one of the cardinal bicycling sins by most motorists and law enforcement. Definitely one of those areas where emotion over rides common sense.
Riding two abreast is legal where I ride. There are some restrictions, but there are more cases where it is legal than not.

One of my anoyances with group rides is that when we have wide lanes or bike lanes, we ride two abreast (legally), but when we get to a section with a narrow outside lane too narrow to safely share with an auto, we are instructed that we must ride single file and end up hugging the gutter.

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Old 01-18-06, 10:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head

Also, 120 cyclists in a line is about 1,000 feet long, assuming only 8 feet per cyclist.

If they're six abreast, the same group is only about 150 feet long. Much less impact on traffic that way.

That's but one consideration.
This is the way I see it too. Even in a small group of ten say two by two such that they make two rows of five. In this case it's like a car. IOW cars approaching the group simply have to pass a slow moving car rather then a long stretched out bike line.
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Old 01-18-06, 11:37 AM   #21
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There's been some discussion about the law in other states, but I don't think anyone's touched on the specifics of California law. California doesn't have a law allowing two-abreast riding, but neither does it have a law mandating single file riding. The law requiring cyclists to be "as far right as practicable" on the roadway only applies when a cyclist is going "less than the normal speed of traffic at that time". It could be argued that a large group of cyclists on a road with fewer motor vehicles is the normal speed of traffic at that time, and therefore exempt from having to stay to the far right. Even so, I think it's a good idea to be courteous to the locals who have to put up with the large number of visitors to their area.
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Old 01-18-06, 11:48 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by chipcom
I see it all the time, in fact I can't recall any organized ride where I haven't seen this, as well as people running lights. I think at least part of the problem is that many assume that because it is an organized ride that the route is closed or being managed, but they usually get a clue after the first couple of miles. After that, there is no excuse.
I've seen it so much on organized rides (not club rides but "event" rides) that I won't participate in them anymore. All the riders end up doing is making the rest of society angry. We have the Moonlight Classic in Denver in August with about 10,000 riders and, not only do they take the whole lane, they take the lane next to it and even the lanes for traffic in the opposite direction. They will ride in all four lanes on some major roads and the event isn't on a closed course.

And don't think that the drivers will just have to deal with it. They will take it out on someone at some point. Case in point: My daughter and I were traveling through Portland on a tour this summer, going in the opposite direction of the Bridge Pedal. We had to go over the St John's Bridge which had half of it closed for the event. We, unfortunely had to go counter to the event flow so we were riding in the other two lanes. Just crossing the bridge, which had pretty light traffic, we got buzzed twice, honked at and, once we were off the bridge, we got run off the road by some jerk who was pissed off about the whole thing! And we were riding away from the event!

Your actions (not you chipcom ) have consequences that someone else may have to pay the bill for.
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Old 01-18-06, 11:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caligurl
why do so many riders think that just because they are at an organized ride that they can suddenly disobey the law and take up a whole lane? i've seen this over and over again at organized/paid rides... i'm not talking two abreast..... i'm talking 4.... 5... 6 people in a group... on the whole lane... holding up cars behind them! it they notice the car or get honked at.. they may get over a bit... but then they are right back in the whole lane!

then they wonder why cyclists get a bad name?
I just know this will get me in trouble but...This is exactly the reason that I didn't have a problem with the Colorado State Patrol limiting numbers on group rides in this state! Events that can get up to 10,000 or 20,000 riders bring out a lot of jerks on both sides of the events...motorist and cyclists! And those jerks (both motorists and cyclists) know better. Many of them are being jerks just because they can! Add to the mix too many inexperienced cyclists and it's a combination that I stay as far away from as possible!
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Old 01-18-06, 12:03 PM   #24
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I have ridden both events that educate and enforce proper road ettiquette, and events that don't. The former got good compliance from the participants, even when they numbered into the thousands. The latter got pretty much what you guys have seen, a lot of romper room riders, rider and vehicle incidents, and rider injuries which included those of the careflight variety.

It didn't take me long to learn to avoid the rallies that do not emphasize ettiquette and safety.

One ride in my area is notorious for this type of riding. They put out 'Cyclists Ahead' type signs all along their routes. Some of the locals actually took the time to hand write in 'Arrogant' on all the signs. Now that's really pretty bad.
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Old 01-18-06, 12:09 PM   #25
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It didn't take me long to learn to avoid the rallies that do not emphasize ettiquette and safety.

One ride in my area is notorious for this type of riding. They put out 'Cyclists Ahead' type signs all along their routes. Some of the locals actually took the time to hand write in 'Arrogant' on all the signs. Now that's really pretty bad.
I have yet to see any event in Colorado that emphasizes ettiquette or safety! I wish they would or, at least, bust the lawbreakers!

The person who wrote "arrogant" on all the signs probably has that attitude towards all cyclists and will cozy up just a little closer while passing someone out on the road alone. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy!
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