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View Poll Results: When is it OK to ride side by side?

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  • anytime, regardless of the road

    1 3.45%
  • Only on quiet, unpopulated roads

    28 96.55%
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    AKA PinarYellow giantbiker's Avatar
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    Careless / inconsiderate road riding

    I have been biking for years (mountain biking but I also rode on the road with it a lot). I just bought my first road bike and am loving the ability to put major miles on wherever I want to go. I have always been very considerate of bikes on the road when I'm driving and I have always been very considerate of driver's when I am on my bike. I am always sure to stay off to the side of the road as much as possible for safety and for courtesy. I feel it is important to ride in such a way that non-bikers will respect us and continue to be willing to share the road with us.
    Today when I was driving in my car on my way home from a nice ride I passed a couple of bikers. One of them was on the shoulder and the other was pedaling next to him in the road sitting upright with his hands off the bars as if he didn't have a care in the world and he didn't seem to be paying any attention to the cars coming in either direction (this was a two lane highway with a speed limit of 55 mph).
    Even as a rider, this bothered me and made me wonder how this makes us look to non bikers. I think we need to be sure to be considerate of drivers in just the same way that we feel they should be consider of us when we are riding.

    When riding in pairs, should we ride side by side ONLY if the shoulder allows it??? (On busy roads or highways)

    Or should we ride side by side even if it means we are in the road??? (empty, untraveled roads don't count)

  2. #2
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    In Colorado, and I believe in most states, it is against the law to ride double if there is a car within so many feet.

    In Colorado, the law essentially states:

    Ride Single File

    Ride two abreast only when no motor vehicle traffic is approaching within 300 feet (front or rear) or when all cyclists are on the shoulder.

    So, it is not a matter of preference if you are a law-abiding citizen.
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  3. #3
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    On a fast road, if there is a decent shoulder, I always use it, even though this entails falling into a single-file formation with other cyclists. I will move out of the shoulder and into the traffic lane to pass another cyclist, but only when a break in traffic permits me to do so safely. On a shoulderless multilane road, if the outer lane is too narrow for side-by-side car/bike sharing, many bicyclists (appropriately, I think) ride side-by-side, which makes them more visible and easier to overtake as a group. One of my biggest problems is trying to convince the local joggers to run single-file in a bike lane, instead of hogging the whole thing.
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  4. #4
    Almost Immortal The Rob's Avatar
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    My wife and I have taken a couple of road rides together now, and she is not yet to the point where she's really speedy enough. Hence, instead of an urban assault we have a parade. Since she's rather too fond of the door zone and I'm always fearful she's not readily seen by right-hand cross traffic, I ride behind and to her left. Motorists traveling from behind or from a side street will see me and thus steer accordingly.

    Those eejits who ride with shirt-tails flapping and arms limply at their sides, sans helmet and with not so much as a glance in any direction other than the one in which they're careening, are the ones motorists fear and despise. The pity of this is that when I or another law-abiding cyclist take the lane when it's narrow, make a turn in the left-hand lane as a proper vehicle should, or ride outside of the door zone, there will be drivers who take it as arrogance and become irate because they recall those eejits who ride improperly! Bad cyclists make me angrier than inattentive motorists. :irritated

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  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I don't know about the US, but here in Australia riding two abreast and taking up as much as one lane is totally legal. I generally don't take up a whole lane myself simply because I don't need to. However, I don't think it's inconsiderate at all. Let's face it, these two cyclists were probably no slower than some of the drivers we see around the place, and everybody waits for them. So I don't see a problem here.
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  6. #6
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    Great topic!

    I might point out here for all the others that (at least in the U.S.), bicycle traffic codes do vary from state to state. I am originally from Ohio, where the law states that cyclists have the legal right to ride 2 abreast, and that cars must pass on the other side of the yellow line. I even had a police officer tell a group I was riding with in Cincinnati to "double up" on a narrow road so that our line was shorter for the overtaking cars to pass.

    I now live in Boulder, Colorado, and the single file law is forcefully applied, with (in my view) mixed results. The main result that I see is the cars feel they have every right to pass us within inches (sometimes millimeters), regardless of how far right we are. On narrow roads which don't have a shoulder, this leaves one teetering on the edge of disaster and mucking through the glass and gravel on the verge.

    Thankfully, the flip side is that many roads do have a useable bike shoulder or bike lane, and Coloradans in general are vastly more aware of, and generally more understanding of cyclists. I haven't been cursed, chased by a loose dog or had objects thrown at me since I moved here. All of these were sadly regular if not daily occurences in SW Ohio / Northern Ky where I used to ride.

    Now for my personal rant. Here in Boulder, there are a couple of notorious group rides who have created havoc with the law. The "Logic Ride" is basically a bunch of young, arrogant pro/semipro guys who feel they have the right to block traffic, run red lights and stop signs, and otherwise ride as if they were the only users entitled to the road. These guys make life miserable for all the other law-abiding group rides in the area, and I would dearly love to beat the crap right out of 'em. Not too soon after their well-publicized ticketing (VeloNews wrote an article about it) for blowing through a busy 3-way stop with an incredibly large group (60 or more is what I heard) a couple seasons ago, most of the team / club group rides in the area came under some pretty harsh scrutiny by John Law, whether or not they had miscreants within their ranks. I regularly ride with a group of a couple dozen Category 3/4 Masters guys, and we've had police officers follow our rides for several miles. I guess they were trying to catch us out at something; fortunately these guys are smart enough and experienced enough to behave at all times, not just when the law is on our tail.

    Today I had the personal satisfaction of (at least psychologically) beating the crap out of some idiot who caused a near-wreck at a busy 4-way stop on a well-traveled bike route. This dude on a fancy Postal bike, with no helmet on (not Vaughters or VandeVelde, it was an old poseur guy and they both have more sense) came from my left, without slowing a wink and made a left turn, totally blowing the stop sign and causing the driver who was next in line to turn to nearly eat his steering wheel in order not to hit the turd. So now everyone's p.o.'ed, including me, 'cause now I'm front and center with six or seven angry drivers out of synch, glaring at me and waiting for me to do something similarly stupid. I came to a stop with my foot down as I always do, and waved the next in line through. Then I took my turn, chased idiot boy down and gave him a piece of my mind. Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm female, it was an uphill chase, and I had 15 lbs of crap in my commuter bag? Fortunately I'm also a fit bike racer, and after telling the moron off, I contemptuously dropped him like the sorry sack he is.

    I swear these fools will be the death of me someday. I ride and race my bicycle because it's necessary transportation and because it is my source of joy, competitive release, fitness and many other positives. I do NOT, however, want to become a road pizza at the hands of some crazed, road raged homocidal maniac because some arrogant fool wannabe bike racer got their goat and I merely provided a handy target for displaced aggression.

    /rant

    Cheers,

    LFR
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  7. #7
    Almost Immortal The Rob's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lonefrontranger
    ... Then I took my turn, chased idiot boy down and gave him a piece of my mind. Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm female, it was an uphill chase, and I had 15 lbs of crap in my commuter bag? Fortunately I'm also a fit bike racer, and after telling the moron off, I contemptuously dropped him like the sorry sack he is.
    LFR
    Zzzinnngg!! Oh that must have felt so good! Great story, 'Ranger!

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  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Ranger! your post is a whole lot of sense.......
    Here in the U.K. there are`nt any hard and fast rules regarding cyclists riding 2 abreast , But i believe it is not a major problem.
    The cycle clubs in my area with groups of about 10/20 riders are the ones to be seen mostly riding 2 abreast or even sometimes 3 abreast but most of these guys are well experienced, street wise riders who know when and which roads are suitable for the appropiate riding style.
    As regards certain idiots giving cyclists a bad reputation, its the same old familiar story of the tiny minoraty recieving the publicity over the vast sensible majority.

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lonefrontranger
    I swear these fools will be the death of me someday... I do NOT, however, want to become a road pizza at the hands of some crazed, road raged homocidal maniac because some arrogant fool wannabe bike racer got their goat
    I hardly think that's going to happen. At least, not for that reason. Around here some people will just abuse you for the mere fact that you ride a bike. In fact, if I was worried about abuse, I'd show a total disregard for road rules because abiding by these is the best way to get abused around here.

    However, as I said in another thread, abuse does not concern me one way or the other. I follow the road rules (when it doesn't compromise my own safety) because it's usually the safest thing to do from my perspective -- and for no other reason.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  10. #10
    Pat
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    Here in Florida, a paved shoulder is not considered part of the "road". Paved shoulders here can disappear or have discontinuities at driveways or intersections. Cyclists are supposed to ride as far to the right as conditions permit. However it is ALWAYS legal to ride 2 abreast if one cyclists is in a paved shoulder because they are not on the "road". The law is a strange and wonderful thing.

    But the law does not mean much. I was riding on a 4 lane road (with a large median strip). This particular road has virtually no traffic and low speed limits. A policeman drove up and slowed and yelled at me to "ride in the shoulder". That would have been a neat trick because there was no shoulder. Sometimes I wonder how they select these guys.

  11. #11
    Bash US - We'll Bash You
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    I just received a hearty middle finger salute from an angry guy in a Lincoln this afternoon. He also honked his horn and pointed at me to ride on the sidewalk.

    I live on the barrier islands on the east coast of central Florida and it is a great place to ride. I do my twenty mile loop early in the morning, usually around 5:30 am. It includes a section of state route A1A where I am able to ride on the shoulder. The return loop is a quiet, two lane, residential street(with no shoulder) that is posted at 35mph or less.

    On the return loop I always ride the white line on the extreme right of the road. The traffic in my lane of the road has plenty of ability to pass without entering the oncoming lane of traffic.

    Many of the older people riding their bikes along the residential street do so on the sidewalk - it is not a posted bike path.

    Perhaps my "friend" thought it was?

  12. #12
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    Where I am it is legal to ride two abreast, so long as you don't impede traffic. This is open to interpretation I guess. I only ride two abreast on roads that are marked <60kph-35mph I won't do it on faster roads as it is illegal, not to mention very dangerous. Generally I will ride two abreast in bike lanes or on multi lane roads that have the occasional parked car, cars don't like to weave in and out so they don't usually drive in these lanes.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  13. #13
    suitcase of courage VegasCyclist's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what the law is here in nevada, but I believe it is legal?

    however, I would probably never do it, for one I'd rathe fall in line with another rider then put myself at risk of a giant SUV americans seem to love to much lately.
    -VegasCyclist
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