beachviewman: Can anyone on here enlighten me as to whether there is a recommended safe maximum length for a group of cyclists riding two abreast? I accept that the Highway Code recommends riding two abreast as it is safer than riding single file as it encourages motorists to slow down when approaching cyclists travelling in the same direction and also to wait until there is no oncoming traffic before overtaking the cyclists thus allowing use of the full width of the carriageway when doing so and giving the cyclists plenty of room. The Highway Code also recommends that cyclists should single out to let a car pass if necessary, especially on narrow or busy roads. The reason I ask is this. I came upon a cycling club about 2 years ago whilst travelling on a fairly busy B road nearby to where I live. They were at least 30 strong and I tailed them for about half a mile through a village where there were plenty of bends giving me little opportunity to overtake them. On reaching the other end of the village and on exiting the 30 mph zone, I saw an opportunity to overtake them on one of the few straights on this particular road. When I got about half way past them, I was confronted by a Range Rover which came round the next bend in the opposite direction at a fair old lick and instead of making any effort to slow down and letting me complete the manoeuvre which would have been easily achieved, he accelerated towards me on the premise that I was on the wrong side of the road, he had the right of way and I must get back over to my side of the road. This left me with no option but to indicate to the cyclists that I was pulling over to the left and they had to brake or single out, (which they were obviously not very happy about) to avoid a collision. A group of 30 cyclists riding two abreast will form a bicycle train (I know there's a proper term but I can't remember it) of between 27 and 30m. By comparison, the maximum permitted length for an articulated lorry in this country is 16.5m although, according to the law and it is also permissible to have a road train (with two trailers) of max length 25.9m. Surely, would it not have been much safer for everyone involved, if the cyclists had ridden in two separate groups of 15m length, leaving a sensible space in between for cars to pull into if necessary? Pat Nicholson
Simon Hall: Hi, I appreciate that you seem to have taken the rules of the Highway Code on board and understand a lot of the point of them but there are a couple of things, firstly, a group riding two abreast will be around half the length of a group in single file so if you're overtaking them properly, you'll be on the wrong side of the road for almost double the time. Secondly, it seems that you couldn't see enough of the road to make sure you could complete your overtake, making it quite dangerous, admittedly, the other guy could have helped you out though. You do raise an interesting point about group size though, there are no rules that I know of to govern this, I think it's usually left to common sense. 30 in a club run does seem big, normally if my club have over 12/14 people out, we split into two groups but it's as much to do with our ability and control of the group as it is for safety. There are occasions where road races will take place on open roads, these are sanctioned by local authorities and the police are informed and they will often have more than 50 people riding so I don't think there is an actual limit. I guess it probably comes down to consideration, from motorists to wait until it's safe, and from cyclists to make sure there is some safe way for cars to overtake at some point without causing a tailback (such as splitting the group as you suggest).
Dieter Schlegel: Very interesting posts - they appear to be referenced a lot in the UK cycling community. On what legal evidence (including actual decisions by judges / courts of laws etc.) are they based? In would be fantastic if there was evidence that courts of law rule along those lines.