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As I was leading a club ride of five riders, I and the guy riding next to me made a left turn. At the time, there was traffic well behind us, as well as oncoming. There was plenty of time for the two of us to safely make the turn. There were three riders approximately 75 to 100 feet behind us. The group of three didn't feel safe making the turn as they reached the intersection. They slowed to the right and allowed the trailing cars to pass.
At the end of the ride, I was confronted by one of the trailing riders. She felt that since I was the ride leader, I should have not made the turn when I did. Her opinion was that it confused the drivers to see riders not all do the same thing.
I told her that I thought we had made the common sense decision. But, I am keeping an open mind. Any thoughts?
 

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hdbiker said:
She felt that since I was the ride leader, I should have not made the turn when I did. Her opinion was that it confused the drivers to see riders not all do the same thing.
While she was right about confusing the drivers, you were doing the right thing. A ride leader who attempts to keep a group together during an across-traffic turn or an intersection crossing has to make a decision as to whether or not it's safe to do so. That means taking the responsibilty for the safety of the entire group. In my experience, that's not a good thing. When I lead a ride, I tell the riders that there will be no "all clear" from me in these situations—each rider will be on his or her own.

A harrowing example: Some years ago, I gave an "all clear" to a group of riders only to see one rider having problems clipping in. Once clipped in, the rider crossed the highway terrifyingly close in front of high-speed traffic. When asked about that later, "You said all clear!" was the reply. :eek:
 

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Still On Steel
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Obviously I wasn't there, but based on the account of the events, I'm with Wim ... if the drivers were confused, it was because of the trailing riders' actions. Assuming the 75 to 100 foot estimate is accurate, that's just a handful of seconds even at 5MPH. With that small of a separation, it was time for all riders to take the lane even though it may have caused the following motor traffic a (very) slight delay. Far better to keep the group together, with everyone doing the same thing, than to split apart because some riders do one thing and others do another.
 

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What you did was fine. If anything, the three lagging almost 100 feet behind were the cause of the problem. They should have been up with the other two of you in the group with a turn approaching. If you waited for them to make the turn and regrouped, no harm no foul.
 

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wim said:
A harrowing example: Some years ago, I gave an "all clear" to a group of riders only to see one rider having problems clipping in. Once clipped in, the rider crossed the highway terrifyingly close in front of high-speed traffic. When asked about that later, "You said all clear!" was the reply. :eek:
That reminds me of when I was teaching my son to drive, about 15 years ago. I was teaching him on a stick and he would usually clutch out when starting off; well we came to a flashing red light and he wasn't sure what to do; he asked and I told him first you stop and then go; and before I could get "when it is clear" out of my mouth, he went, as a bus was approaching. God looks out for babies and fools and I was no longer a baby, for some reason he shifted smoothly and excelerated, so the bus didn't hit us.
 

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Allez Rouge said:
Obviously I wasn't there, but based on the account of the events, I'm with Wim ... if the drivers were confused, it was because of the trailing riders' actions. Assuming the 75 to 100 foot estimate is accurate, that's just a handful of seconds even at 5MPH. With that small of a separation, it was time for all riders to take the lane even though it may have caused the following motor traffic a (very) slight delay. Far better to keep the group together, with everyone doing the same thing, than to split apart because some riders do one thing and others do another.
I'll disagree a bit. 75 to 100 feet makes it 2 groups, in my mind. I don't know how many seconds is a "handful," but if you do the math, at 5 mph 75 feet takes more than 10 seconds. If the separation was 100 feet, it's almost 14 seconds. That's a big break. If the trailing riders want to be seen as part of the same pack, they have to be in the pack.

There were 2 groups here, and each properly made its own decision, at the (separate) times that they reached the intersection.

As for the trailing riders' decision to wait on the right rather than in the lane, blocking the traffic behind, that depends on conditions, including the speed of the traffic and the anticipated delay time. We don't have that information.

Playing with a little more math here, if they were all going 15 mph, 75 feet takes only about 3.4 seconds to close. That doesn't seem like so much, but if the oncoming traffic was going 35, those cars would be 175 feet closer in that time.

I stick by my conclusion: this ride had broken into 2 groups, and the ride leader was right to take care of himself and his partner, and leave the second group to make their own decision about the turn.
 

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Roll Out Jeremy
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I might be a little more critical

Never follow anybody's lead through a turn, or in any traffic. You are on your own. If she was on your wheel and you made a fatal mistake she would be dead to. Not to be confused with leading or following a ride route. I want to be responsible for me and me alone when it comes to traffic judgements. Blindly following somebodies lead into traffic is a mistake. Likewise, it is none of her business how you decided to make the turn. She needs to be responsible for herself....only
 

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Allez Rouge said:
Obviously I wasn't there, but based on the account of the events, I'm with Wim ... if the drivers were confused, it was because of the trailing riders' actions.
Just to be clear on that: I did agree that having cyclists scattered over the road confuses drivers. But to repeat my point: far better to confuse drivers than to attempt to keep a group together while crossing motor vehicle traffic. Completely agree with Fordy: riders need to be reponsible for their own safety in these situations. In my view, there should be no indication coming from the ride leader as to group coherence or the advisability of crossing motor vehicle traffic.

/w
 

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Like everyone else said, you did nothing wrong. 75 to 100ft is a large enough gap that means either they're dropping off the back, or they're a different group.

They just need to HTFU and ride faster.
 

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I agree with all of the above. Nothing wrong with what you did. BTW welcome to RBR. Come back & post some more. There are good people here and a wealth of knowledge. We could use some of your knowledge too.
 

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Teach me how to Bucky
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Fordy said:
Never follow anybody's lead through a turn, or in any traffic. You are on your own. If she was on your wheel and you made a fatal mistake she would be dead to. Not to be confused with leading or following a ride route. I want to be responsible for me and me alone when it comes to traffic judgements. Blindly following somebodies lead into traffic is a mistake. Likewise, it is none of her business how you decided to make the turn. She needs to be responsible for herself....only
I agree with Fordy. Keeping the group together is done on the road. Turns and maneuvers are individual responsibilities. Everyone gets themselves safely through. Then regroup.
 

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Still On Steel
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wim said:
JCompletely agree with Fordy: riders need to be reponsible for their own safety in these situations. In my view, there should be no indication coming from the ride leader as to group coherence or the advisability of crossing motor vehicle traffic.
I don't disagree with any of that, in fact I concur wholeheartedly, but I think we're saying somewhat different things.

First, regarding JCavilia's arithmetic, I was thinking the elapsed times -- my admittedly vague "handful of seconds" -- would have been about half what he calculated. I thought I used 5MPH as the speed but it must have been 10.

As to what the trailing three riders should have done ... I agree that the leader acted correctly and that these other three were obligated to make their own decision. The spokeswoman for this sub-group clearly thought the approaching motorists saw all of them as a group, albeit somewhat fractured, or she wouldn't have thought confusion would result. My only point is that a cyclist within 75-100 feet of where he will be making a left turn should not be meekly pulling over to the right and allowing cars behind to pass just because there is oncoming traffic that prevents him from executing the turn immediately. I wouldn't do that in my car; I don't do that on my bicycle. Motorists have to stop and wait for other vehicles to clear the roadway all the time. This situation doesn't -- or shouldn't -- change just because the turning vehicle happens to be a bicycle.

(At this point I should stipulate that I ride almost exclusively on two-lane, shoulderless, fairly-lightly-trafficked roads. I am in the habit of "taking the lane" in large part because much of the time, there's no where else for me to go. It may well be that I routinely do things that might not work so well in other riding environments.)
 

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Allez Rouge said:
My only point is that a cyclist within 75-100 feet of where he will be making a left turn should not be meekly pulling over to the right and allowing cars behind to pass just because there is oncoming traffic that prevents him from executing the turn immediately. I wouldn't do that in my car; I don't do that on my bicycle. Motorists have to stop and wait for other vehicles to clear the roadway all the time. This situation doesn't -- or shouldn't -- change just because the turning vehicle happens to be a bicycle.

(At this point I should stipulate that I ride almost exclusively on two-lane, shoulderless, fairly-lightly-trafficked roads. I am in the habit of "taking the lane" in large part because much of the time, there's no where else for me to go. It may well be that I routinely do things that might not work so well in other riding environments.)
No big disagreement here, except that it depends somewhat on the particular situation. I ride often on roads like that, too, and do the same. But other roads have moderately heavy traffic, with speeds of 40-45 mph. In such a spot, I might wait on the right if it's going to be a substantial wait for a gap. It's a judgment call each time. I take the lane if that's the safest thing to do, and it often is..

Sounds like we all agree that the following rider had no legitmate basis for complaint, and that she misunderstands her responsibilities on the road, and those of a group ride leader.
 

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Fordy said:
Never follow anybody's lead through a turn, or in any traffic. You are on your own. If she was on your wheel and you made a fatal mistake she would be dead to. Not to be confused with leading or following a ride route. I want to be responsible for me and me alone when it comes to traffic judgements. Blindly following somebodies lead into traffic is a mistake. Likewise, it is none of her business how you decided to make the turn. She needs to be responsible for herself....only

+1 The OP did nothing wrong. The woman complaining that his move "confused the drivers" is ridiculous. SHE probably confused the drivers because she probably looked like she wasn't sure what she was going to do.

She was taking her frustration of being indecisive out on the leader.
 

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This thread reminds me of a time I was doing a group ride where several of us rode from our homes to the start. Toward the end of the ride, we came to an intersection where some of us turned left, some turned right, and some went straight. I'm sure it confused some of the drivers on the road.

One of the clubs I ride with has a stated policy of not calling out "clear" when going through intersections, instead insisting that each rider is responsible for determining on his own when it's safe.
 

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Group rides (herding cats)

Group rides in my area tend to piss local drivers off for all the stated reasons, i.e. riders going in all directions, hogging roadway.

Riders must know they are ultimately responsible for their own safety while on the road. Common sense and self preservation dictate your actions, not blind obedience to a signal from a ride leader.

You got to act as if your life depends on what you do out there because as we have seen from multiple tragic examples, cars and bike don't play well together. The group leader in this case did the right thing, and the lady who complained had a point, but I stop and wait if my life may be in danger from traffic. That's why I don't ride with earbuds, or under the influence.
 
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