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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Riding Etiquette with Other Groups of Cyclists?

    So I ride daily with my brother in my little town. We just figure out the right and wrong things to do as we go both on the bike trail and on the road. On the weekends, I drive into Dallas and ride at a place called White Rock Lake where hundreds of serious cyclists show up to go fast both solo and and in groups.

    What I've noticed is that I'm making something some cyclists mad up there and I don't know why. For example, two weeks ago I was riding along the road with a friend next to him on the road that goes along the north side of the lake. Riders had been passing us regularly and would say, "On your left." I understand that phrase to mean, make sure there is plenty of passing room and then don't move to the left as the rider is coming around. One rider said on your left, and I eased over closer to my friend, and as the guy came around he said, "Dude! Don't make me change lanes to pass you!"

    This past weekend I was riding with the same friend and we came up to an intersection at two trails and met another biker there. My friend went on through, I followed him, the other biker came behind us and said "Dicks..."

    I started thinking. Maybe there is a riding etiquette I'm not aware of that I'm unknowingly breaking. Is there one out there?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Riding two abreast grates on some people and really isn't the best idea, particularly in traffic. Ride in a single file and that'll alleviate some of the confrontations.

    Not sure what prompted the "dicks" comment .... it's hard to discern all of what happened from what you typed.

    Like I said, if you're riding with someone, ride single file. Chit chat can take place after the ride. Learn to hold your line, particularly around other cyclists and especially faster cyclists. Stay to the right unless to pass. And accept that some cyclists (particularly those who are faster and thereby believe themselves better than you) are going to be a$$holes.

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    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    In the first example, it's not clear which way you moved, right or left? If you moved further right to let them pass more easily, then no problem, if you moved left, then that violates etiquette and is dangerous to the faster passing riders. The best thing when being passed is to stay as far to the right as safe and hold your position in the lane, not moving right or left. Even more polite is to form a single file line as far right as is safe well in advance of the passing group, if you see them coming up behind you.

    I'm guessing your group looked like you were 1) swerving in the lane or 2) blocking the lane, which brought about the rude comments. Of course, no excuse for rudeness, although road racers are pretty high-strung folks, this is not too surprising.
    "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, 1963

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    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    In the first situation, I eased over to the right to get closer to my friend. Bear in mind, on this same road, there are groups of riders 3-4 across commonly. I guess in that case, "on your left" actually meant "slow down and get single file" but I didn't know that. There were no cars in sight in either direction.

    In the second scenario, we just met a rider at a crossroads. We had all yielded some to keep from colliding and my friend went ahead across and I followed him closely. The other rider had plenty of room to go behind us and continue on his trail.

  5. #5
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    I've found that many people, not just cyclists but people in general, are A-holes. They expect everyone to know the rules they believe are THE RULES, and get mad at those who don't follow THE RULES.

    That having been said, if you're about to pass two riders riding side-by-side, there's a big difference between experienced riders who ride very straight and close together, and less experienced riders who may wander a bit and ride farther apart. You have to take a lot more care in passing the latter, and go a lot wider. But you don't yell at people for being inexperienced, generally.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

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    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    First, I agree with your understanding of "on your left" and the d-bag that didn't want to change lanes can suck it....

    In many (most?) places, riding two abreast on the road is legal, as long as you aren't impeding traffic. Ettiquette-wise, I think it's fine on the road, in the lane, assuming you're acting in accordance with the law. However, I'd say to avoid doing it on trails and in bike lanes, where there is generally less room to pass. I certainly wouldn't call someone out for doing it, but I think that it's a bit inconsiderate and shows a lack of situational awareness. If you're out on a long stretch of trail with few people around, by all means...just keep an eye out behind you so you can move over if faster riders need to pass. I'm not quite sure what the "dicks" comment was thrown out for...in all but the most egregious misbehaviors I just keep my mouth shut on the trail....people need to keep their road rage off the trail.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

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    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Yes, I don't ride two wide on a trail unless its an unusually large trail and I know for a fact its empty. But on the road, if I can look and see no cars for long distances, I will ride next to who I am with so we can talk a minute before going back to single file. In this road in question, there are large groups of cyclists 3-4 wide routinely, so I thought riding two wide here with so many other cyclists around would be no issue. I guess it was only an issue to one though.

    But in general, are there other things you do in heavy cyclist areas like that? Things to do, or not to do when interacting with all different types of cyclists in a riding area?

  8. #8
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    There very much is a riding etiquette and has been around for a long, long time. It alittle different for road than trail but basically be aware that roads/trails are shared and ride aware. Always call out you are passing and always let the person/rider know if there are more riders behind you who will also pass. Like a car, you should ride closest to the curb and should try and maintain a straight line. If you have ever hear the term "Squirrel" it's because you move around too much. Other riders should not have to guess which way to pass... if on a trail, etiquette is even more evident. Horses ALWAYS take priority period. Walker/hikers/joggers next and then riders. Uphill rider has the right of way and sorry if its a fun downhill. If the uphill rider needs the line you stop, pull over and then the rider through.

    Getting back to passing, etiquette is you call out passing (DO NOT YELL - call out in a calm normal voice and so not to startle who you are passing). You also call out hazards such as rider coming towards you, walkers on the side whatever. Instead of calling out hazards you can instead point. That's usually better anyway.

    I will go and out for an etiquette guideline - I know lots of posted.

    This is comprehensive:

    http://www.bamacyclist.com/articles/groupridetech.html

    For mountain biking from IMBA:

    •Ride on open trails only. Never ride on private property unless the owner has given permission. Always follow signs such as yielding signs and route markers.
    •Control your bike. Be aware of other people who use the trail. Don't ride fast when there are hikers. Always control your speed in order to prevent injuries to yourself and others.
    •Always yield trail. When passing a hiker or equestrian, slow down and signal that you would like to pass. When granted, pass at a moderate speed and acknowledge them for letting you pass. Horses and dogs may react unpredictably to cyclists so always approach with caution.
    •Never scare animals. Always respect the wildlife. We are just visitors in their habitat.
    •Leave no trace. As much as possible, try to thread lightly. Try to be light on your bike. Avoid locking up the wheels with the brakes. Bring a plastic bag for any trash.
    •Plan ahead. Anticipate anything that could happen on the trail. Be aware of your surroundings.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 09-24-13 at 04:36 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    But in general, are there other things you do in heavy cyclist areas like that? Things to do, or not to do when interacting with all different types of cyclists in a riding area?
    As a 'slower' ride (I cruise at about 15-16 MPH) here is what I try to do:

    1.) Assuming it's safe (no road debris or other hazards) I ride as far to the right of my given lane as possible. If I need to move towards the middle/left I try to make a deliberate move not a quick, unexpected, sudden movement.

    2.) I use hand signals to indicate I'm turning right/left as well as slowing for a stop. I don't currently wear a rear view mirror of any sort so I always assume there's someone behind me when I'm out riding.

    3.) When I ride with friends/buddies, we always ride single file. I've yet to encounter a situation where I can't engage in a conversation with someone in front of (or behind me) and still maintain safety and my awareness of what's up ahead.

    Here in Sacramento we have a very popular MUP (33 miles long) that is wide enough for people to ride two wide. As stated earlier by another member the 'experienced' riders that do it can easily fit in their lane but the less experienced riders will frequently straddle the center line. On a few instances I've even seen people go three wide, even worse when they see me coming towards them they'll assume I'm going to move over to the right so they can continue to ride three across.

    A word of wisdom I received from several friends who ride/commute, they understand "on your left" to indicate the following:

    1.) That I'm coming up on your left to pass you. I've verbally announced my intention and I'm asking you to hold your line. After announcing your intentions you allow the rider(s) a moment to accommodate and then perform your pass.
    2.) If you're towards the left, you'll move over a bit to the right (if it's safe) so that I can pass you without going too far into the oncoming lane or too far outside the protected bike lane.
    3.) If you're running two across, the person on the left will be speed up or slow down to move into a single file line so that I can pass.
    4.) I'll never pass on a turn/curve or area where I cannot see 3-4 seconds ahead of me. I don't want to create a situation where I speed up to pass you only to see a downed tree on the path up ahead and create an unsafe environment for me and YOU. I'll also never pass when I can see a rider coming in their lane and do not believe I can safely get back to the central or right side of my lane before we meet on a horizontal plane. I'd rather slow for a moment and then safely pass, even if that means breaking my rhythm.

    On the flip side:

    1.) Saying "on your left" as you're going 22+ miles an hour and I'm tuned out is irrelevant as by the time my brain processes your voice you're already ahead of me in the distance.
    2.) On a few occasions I've announced my "on the left" and have startled tuned out riders. One was so startled that they jerked their bike to the left and had I not given them that moment to respond to my audible statement would have probably crashed into me.

    Occasionally when I'm out riding, small packs of 2x2 riders will come blowing through the trail (very fast) and some will announce their passing. Others will just smoke on by and allow a wide berth.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    "Dude! Don't make me change lanes to pass you!"
    If you are a slower rider, it is good to stay over to the right, but sometimes if you are a faster rider, you need to go around if it's safe, or slow down until it is safe to go around. This is the way I drove two lane roads in my cage for many years. I think you're fine. That knuckle headed roadie is the one who needs to work on his etiquette, and not give guys like me a bad name.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    We were going about 17-18 mph at the time by the way. But that's slow on this section of the road.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    it's up to the passing rider to pass when safely allowed. that dude was a dick and thinks everyone should move over is wrong. I'd tell him in person if someone pulled that on me.

  13. #13
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I have been Googling "Handlebar Mounted Taser with Detachable leads ever since I got serious about biking. I guess there is my level of serious and the Anal Retentive Spandez Snakez level of serious.

    Pam's list is very appropriate. I have two general rules which mimic highway driving.

    1. Stay to the far right except to pass.

    2. Be aware defensive.

    A general life principle handles the rest, Grin and Bare it! oops, I think I mean Bear it, maybe............mooning someone on a ride is probably bad taste and dangerous.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  14. #14
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    We were going about 17-18 mph at the time by the way. But that's slow on this section of the road.
    If you're on an MUP, and you're going slower than the rest of the riders, it might not be the best time to ride two abreast.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

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    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
    If you're on an MUP, and you're going slower than the rest of the riders, it might not be the best time to ride two abreast.
    Was not on a MUP, but a road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    it's up to the passing rider to pass when safely allowed. that dude was a dick and thinks everyone should move over is wrong. I'd tell him in person if someone pulled that on me.
    +1
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    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    Was not on a MUP, but a road.
    Huh. Dunno, then.

    Funny thing is, I muttered that exact thing at some folks on a local road that is closed on Sundays, because on an exceptionally wide road with a 6+ foot shoulder, I had to swing into the opposite lane to pass them. I figure it should not be necessary to ride 6 feet apart, with two people taking up the whole thing, and both of them to the left of the fog line.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  18. #18
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by softreset View Post
    On the flip side:

    1.) Saying "on your left" as you're going 22+ miles an hour and I'm tuned out is irrelevant as by the time my brain processes your voice you're already ahead of me in the distance.
    2.) On a few occasions I've announced my "on the left" and have startled tuned out riders. One was so startled that they jerked their bike to the left and had I not given them that moment to respond to my audible statement would have probably crashed into me.

    Occasionally when I'm out riding, small packs of 2x2 riders will come blowing through the trail (very fast) and some will announce their passing. Others will just smoke on by and allow a wide berth.
    These are some of the problems that I have on the bike trail. I'm slow but most I encounter are even slower because they are older couples just out recreational riding together. I don't know how to not startle them. They are usually riding side by side (or walking) which is fine because we are so rural that it is very rare to actually see someone, but as I approach these folks, I slow down, shift down, and semi-softly announce "coming by" and don't announce a side because they are usually taking the whole trail. Just about every time though they are startled, usually the older lady who is riding on the left and I see her definitely jump a little. I hate it that I am startling them. Single people are perfectly fine, just about every one I encounter who is single is riding on the right.

    The next problem is, earbuds and mp3 players. I have this problem with both the people ahead of me (riding or walking) and with myself if someone comes up behind me. I too am always riding by myself and I stay on the right leaving room for someone to come up behind me. But I also ride listening to music and I am the one startled when someone comes by because I didn't hear them if they announced (I need to get a mirror yet so I won't be so surprised.) There is no chance of wrecking or anything because I always stay on the right and there is always plenty of room for the other person to pass me. It's just that I get a little jolt because I'm startled to suddenly see someone beside me.

    Most others are startled not when I'm coming by but when I announce I'm coming. I actually try to make noise a good distance back and now that there are leaves on the trail it helps some, but I still notice a lot of folks startled. What usually happens though with these older generation recreational riders are they jump then split apart one going into the grass on the right and the other into the grass on the left. Same with the walkers.

    I don't want to startle them and I don't want to startle them. I've never heard anyone using a bell on the trail, perhaps a bell would help with this? I could ring it a good ways back so they become aware that someone is coming before I get to the point where I am close enough to announce yet too close that they are startled?
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    **** em!

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    Senior Member Solare's Avatar
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    I saw the title and thought knives and chains. But what do I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    it's up to the passing rider to pass when safely allowed. that dude was a dick and thinks everyone should move over is wrong.
    I disagree: if you're riding two abreast, as the OP was, on a public road where you know that there is a significant amount of faster bicycle traffic then you're the dick. As others have stated, in this situation you should ride single file and as far to the right as is practical. In many places this is, in fact, the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    These are some of the problems that I have on the bike trail. I'm slow but most I encounter are even slower because they are older couples just out recreational riding together. I don't know how to not startle them. They are usually riding side by side (or walking) which is fine because we are so rural that it is very rare to actually see someone, but as I approach these folks, I slow down, shift down, and semi-softly announce "coming by" and don't announce a side because they are usually taking the whole trail. Just about every time though they are startled, usually the older lady who is riding on the left and I see her definitely jump a little. I hate it that I am startling them. Single people are perfectly fine, just about every one I encounter who is single is riding on the right.

    The next problem is, earbuds and mp3 players. I have this problem with both the people ahead of me (riding or walking) and with myself if someone comes up behind me. I too am always riding by myself and I stay on the right leaving room for someone to come up behind me. But I also ride listening to music and I am the one startled when someone comes by because I didn't hear them if they announced (I need to get a mirror yet so I won't be so surprised.) There is no chance of wrecking or anything because I always stay on the right and there is always plenty of room for the other person to pass me. It's just that I get a little jolt because I'm startled to suddenly see someone beside me.

    Most others are startled not when I'm coming by but when I announce I'm coming. I actually try to make noise a good distance back and now that there are leaves on the trail it helps some, but I still notice a lot of folks startled. What usually happens though with these older generation recreational riders are they jump then split apart one going into the grass on the right and the other into the grass on the left. Same with the walkers.

    I don't want to startle them and I don't want to startle them. I've never heard anyone using a bell on the trail, perhaps a bell would help with this? I could ring it a good ways back so they become aware that someone is coming before I get to the point where I am close enough to announce yet too close that they are startled?
    Etiquette is the proper AND polite way to behave. When someone is breaking a bicycle rule, cursing at them is a breach of etiquette as well. Little bells are a pleasant sound and they do the trick. Bells never curse or shout insults. If someone curses at you, a little "ding-ding" on your bell can mean "**** you too" while still being polite.

    I ride on several paths including New York City's West Side path. There are widely varying groups on this path, including bikes, blades, pedestrians, tourists (looking up), kids, cars (intersections), etc. Way too many fast bikers weave in and out at high speeds yelling "on your left" or "keep your line" or other demands to be obeyed by the masses. These paths are multi-use. In this context, these high speed bikers are just wankers, acting superior. I sometimes wonder if they would be so bad-ass in street traffic. Most taxi drivers don't give a **** about your line and potholes materialize out of nowhere.

    Live and let live...that's etiquette.
    Last edited by jodphoto; 09-24-13 at 08:28 PM.

  23. #23
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I disagree: if you're riding two abreast, as the OP was, on a public road where you know that there is a significant amount of faster bicycle traffic then you're the dick. As others have stated, in this situation you should ride single file and as far to the right as is practical. In many places this is, in fact, the law.
    Really? My impression was that riding side-by-side is permitted in most states, as long as it doesn't impede traffic; even Massachusetts changed the law in 2007 (we used to require single-file riding). Many states that permit riding side-by-side require cyclists to revert to single file if there is a vehicle that wishes to pass. One might argue, though, that the requirement applies only if the passing vehicle cannot safely pass while remaining entirely within the lane. If two cyclists are riding side by side and a third wishes to pass them, and there's plenty of room in the lane, I don't see a really good reason why they should shift to single file.

    The OP did say that there were no cars in sight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
    Really? My impression was that riding side-by-side is permitted in most states, as long as it doesn't impede traffic;
    If bicyclists are yelling at you and calling you a dick while passing, you don't you think you're impeding traffic?!?

    Here in California, the CVC says "Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway". That would seem to encourage single-file riding, despite what the legal experts at Bicycling magazine might want to suggest.

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    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
    If you're on an MUP, and you're going slower than the rest of the riders, it might not be the best time to ride two abreast.
    I'm not the OP, but your post got me curious. What if the two of you are riding at the speed limit (given that there is one on the trail you're on)? The rider coming up from behind you is technically "speeding." Do you still need to move into a single file so the speeder can pass you? This of course assumes you know how fast you're going.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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