How to – Ride with others…

How To

Road Cycling Etiquette

Road riding with a group can be fun and safe if done with common sense and courtesy. Below are some guidelines we all need to follow in order to maximize our safety and enjoyment while riding with our fellow cyclists amidst the motorized vehicles, pedestrians and roadside obstacles that we may encounter during the ride.

Stay focused and attentive
Keep an eye on the road ahead and other riders around you. Be attentive of audible and hand signals by riders warning others of pedestrians, potholes, parked cars or other roadside obstacles. Anticipate sudden moves by other riders as they swerve or brake hard to avoid an obstacle.

Follow traffic rules
Obey stop signs and traffic signals. Blowing through red lights and stop signs is a recipe for disaster. Be alert for pedestrians, especially for children, who might suddenly dart into the street.

Ride predictably
Make it easy for other riders as well as vehicular traffic to anticipate your next move. Do this by riding in a straight line, keeping a consistent pace and by not slamming your brakes. If you need to slow down a bit, adjust your speed by feathering your brakes.

Use hand signals
Use hand signals when you turn or slow down. Also, use hand signals to point out road hazards such as potholes, glass, parked cars alongside the road and other obstacles you might encounter during a group ride.

Stay out of the way of vehicular traffic
Avoid vehicular traffic by riding on the right side of the line separating the road from its shoulder. Be careful not to ride too deep into the road shoulder, as there tends to be debris like broken glass, rocks and other road hazards there.

Ride single-file
Since most roads can barely accommodate a bicycle alongside motorized vehicles, ride single-file. Riding two or more abreast on most roads is a sure way to annoy drivers and could cause a crash if the rider next to you suddenly swerves in your direction to avoid an obstacle.

No overlapping wheels
As you ride in a paceline, avoid overlapping wheels – riding with your front wheel next to the rear wheel of the bicycle in front of you. This way, if the rider in front of you suddenly swerves in your direction, he or she doesn’t take you down as their rear wheel smacks into your front wheel.

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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  • James McCord says:

    Good advice for group riding.
    However, while I agree with no “overlapping” wheels, I’d like to clarify that offset wheels can be a good thing. Slip-streaming for reduced wind drag must be done by following at a very close distance. By off-setting your front wheel to one side or the other relative to the rear wheel in front of you, you can help minimize rear-enders.

  • crispy says:

    No, no, no. Except in very rare circumstances, cyclists should ride IN the traffic lane, to the left of the white line, roughly 12 to 18 inches away. This ensures that passing motorists are not tempted to attempt to “squeeze” by the cyclists.

    Riding two abreast is usually safer for cyclists and more convenient for motorists: the length of the group is effectively halved, which makes passing a large group much easier, and the visual width of the pack is increased so that the motorist will pass appropriately.

    Encouraging cyclists to ride exclusively in the shoulder of the road is dangerous and contrary to traffic laws – cyclists are always entitled to use the full width of the lane if they need it.

    The burden to pass safely is on the passing vehicle – not the vehicle being passed. Slower traffic is NOT required to yield the road to faster traffic. Cyclists should hold their line and maintain formation as they are being passed.

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