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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What is the rule on riding 2 or 3 abreast on a single lane road?
L.A. Times article 7/27/08: Sheriff of Larimer Cty, CO
is stopping those who ride 2 abreast who have a "sense of entitlement to do whatever they want..." Feels cyclists should move into single file if a car approaches.

The cyclists who do this feel cars should go around 'em (into oncoming traffic or blind curves). And the law is not clear.

What would you do (as cyclists and drivers) in these situations (in your state)?

But what if you are driving and cyclists don't move over? What should I do? If I use the horn, they might get offended?
 

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Spicy Dumpling
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In Virginia from what I understand we can ride two abreast but must go to single file when a car is behind us. In my opinion that is common sense for both parties. I have no problem going to single file in those situations.
 

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axebiker said:
Does single file hurt? You can go faster then...

Rule or no, it's just common sense. Don't impede traffic if you don't HAVE to.
+1 - it just makes sense to be courteous when you have the opportunity - even if the drivers are being idiots.

Sounds to me like that Sheriff needs something to do.

with that said, I've been on more than a few group rides where some members of the group feel it's their right to impede traffic to their heart's content.
 

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Banned forever.....or not
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I do not believe that three abreast is ever legal. Two abreast depends on the state you are riding in. In Illinois, you are not allowed to "impede" traffic. What does "impede" mean? Does it mean that is not legal to delay a car by 5 seconds?, or does it mean that you can't hold up traffic for a minute? Many cops haven't the slightest clue what the law means, so they just make up law, as they go along.
For myself, I tend to stay two abreast, if there is no oncoming traffic. As a courtesy, I'll slide over to single file, if a car is passing, and there is oncoming traffic. This will not apply if I'm in a large group....(8 or more riders)
 

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duh...
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consider this... sometimes, i.e., very large groups, it is easier for cars to get around one clump of riders (2-3 abreast) compared one looong line of riders
 

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steel515 said:
What is the rule on riding 2 or 3 abreast on a single lane road?
L.A. Times article 7/27/08: Sheriff of Larimer Cty, CO
is stopping those who ride 2 abreast who have a "sense of entitlement to do whatever they want..." Feels cyclists should move into single file if a car approaches.

The cyclists who do this feel cars should go around 'em (into oncoming traffic or blind curves). And the law is not clear.

What would you do (as cyclists and drivers) in these situations (in your state)?

But what if you are driving and cyclists don't move over? What should I do? If I use the horn, they might get offended?
the Larimer County sherif is wrong. He's just a bike hating simpleton.
http://bicyclecolo.org/page.cfm?PageID=893
 

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millerinva said:
with that said, I've been on more than a few group rides where some members of the group feel it's their right to impede traffic to their heart's content.
I ride with a few people like that. It makes me uncomfortable to say the least - actually, it kinda pisses me off.
 

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This whole Larimer County thing flared up several weeks ago. Bicycle Colorado became involved very quickly and tried to work out the "politics" involved.

My summary: the issue in Larimer County was the perception that the lawless cyclists from Boulder were invading and taking over the roads. The sheriff was teachin' them boys a lesson and sayin' "stay out of my county"!
 

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It depends on conditions. If there's sufficient shoulder room (in good enough condition), to permit vehicles to pass safely without moving into the other lane, then it's best to move over into single file and permit that pass.

If there is NOT enough shoulder room for that, (and I refer to the OP's mention of blind curves and oncoming traffic), then the cyclists (or even a single cyclist) have the right and responsibility to take the lane (the driver might say "block" the lane) and prevent the unsafe pass attempt, until there's a spot to get by safely. Knowing what's behind you (I like mirrors) and communicating clearly with drivers (I wave them by when there's a spot for a safe pass) help a lot.

State laws vary widely, as noted. Here in Connecticut, the law specifically permits 2 abreast, but no more. It also requires cyclists to ride as far to the right "as practicable", which I interpret to incorporate the factors noted above (since it doesn't say as far "as possible"). I believe the legislature may have recently passed (they were debating it) an additional provision requiring motorists to give cyclists at least 3 feet clearance when passing. That would, if enforced, clearly imply the right of the cyclist to take the lane on narrow roads, since no legal pass could be made without the car crossing into the other lane.
 

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they have been giving out tickets, with a no tolorance policy. I only wish they would do the same for cars. A budy got a ticket for doing a track stand at a stop sign and becouse he did not put his foot down the sheriff gave him a ticket, $110.00
 

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Ill go side by side when theres no cars but once they come along we do singlefile. The only time I intentionally block traffic is when its not safe for them to pass but I know they'll try. For instance theres a small 1/4 mile stretch on one of my routes where its only one lane each way but theres a large median with a tall curb in the middle and tall curbs on the side. there is literally no shoulder. people are dumb though and try to pass because they cant wait the 30 seconds to pass. its a pretty fast section too so im usually pacing at 26 or so and the speed limit is 30 yet people feel the need to honk and rev their engines like idiots. oh well, at least a cop didt run out of nowhere and tackle me.
 

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MR_GRUMPY wrote: This will not apply if I'm in a large group....(8 or more riders)
Why?

FatTireFred wrote: consider this... sometimes, i.e., very large groups, it is easier for cars to get around one clump of riders (2-3 abreast) compared one looong line of riders
What about when it isn't easier? Who determines this?

Example 1: I rode with a group of about 30 this morning. We crest a hill with a stop light at the top. As we are all coasting down I hear an engine rev behind me and some guys in a truck with landscaping equipment shout something as they drive by. I say "have a nice day", but as I look down the road and then back up the road, people in the group are 2-3 abreast and strung out way down the road. The street has a double yellow line and the truck is in the opposite lane trying to pass. He then has to come back into the correct lane due to oncoming traffic. He then swerves back into the opposite lane to finish passing. As I looked down this scene, I would have been very irritated too. My irritation would likely have grown to anger when none of the cyclists were moving over to help with the issue. That is if I weren't a cyclist.

Example 2: Going to a MTB race and I forgot something at home, so I turn around. As I approach my neighborhood, I come to a 3-way stop. I'm turning left. A group of cyclists approach from the opposite direction. They are turning right. I have clearly stopped at the sign before they have reached it. However, they breeze on through the sign and two guys put their hands out for me to stop and give them the right of way. 30-40 riders proceed through the stop sign without stopping. I turn left and easily catch them (~18 mph) while driving under the speed limit (my speed: 28 mph, speed limit: 30 mph). As I approach the group is stretched way out and 3-4 abreast. Being considerate of cyclists, I wait at the back of the group for them to narrow to at least 2 abreast (being considerate of motorists). This road is pretty narrow and a bit curvy. It would be easy to safely pass a single line or even 2 abreast, but I ended up having to wait the couple of miles before my turn since no one seemed particularly interested in breaking off their personal conversations and letting me by. The most irritating thing was that I actually had the right of way at the stop sign and then had to wait on them because they didn't follow the traffic laws!:mad2:
 

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JCavilia said:
It depends on conditions. If there's sufficient shoulder room (in good enough condition), to permit vehicles to pass safely without moving into the other lane, then it's best to move over into single file and permit that pass.

If there is NOT enough shoulder room for that, (and I refer to the OP's mention of blind curves and oncoming traffic), then the cyclists (or even a single cyclist) have the right and responsibility to take the lane (the driver might say "block" the lane) and prevent the unsafe pass attempt, until there's a spot to get by safely. Knowing what's behind you (I like mirrors) and communicating clearly with drivers (I wave them by when there's a spot for a safe pass) help a lot.
I ride solo nearly always, mostly on back roads with little to no shoulder, and this is what I do (when I remember). But, like B15serv I do this knowing full well that most drivers will resent me for taking the lane because a) they don't understand why I'm doing it and/or b) because they resent being held up by a cyclist for even one second. Hand signals can help with the more reasonable drivers, but not the type-A's. Luckily there are lots of cyclists around here and traffic isn't bad, so drivers seem pretty tolerant outside of the occasional crazy (and all dumptruck drivers, Dog knows why).

I'm not a lawyer, but I agree with Grumpy in that AFAIK three abreast is never "legal". My understanding is that it is legal to take the lane (either solo or two abreast) if there is insufficient shoulder + travel lane to allow a safe pass. On such roads, if there is a clear view and no oncoming traffic I stay to the right. If the shoulder+lane is narrow and the view ahead is obstructed or if there is oncoming traffic, I take the lane. If traffic gets backed up (very, very rare - usually an elderly person at the head of the line who is afraid to pass no matter what), I turn off or pull over and stop for a few seconds.
 

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D&MsDad said:
My understanding is that it is legal to take the lane (either solo or two abreast) if there is insufficient shoulder + travel lane to allow a safe pass. On such roads, if there is a clear view and no oncoming traffic I stay to the right..
That's the only small area where my practice differs. I will take the lane, so drivers aren't tempted to pass too close. They can move over if there's no oncoming traffic, and I signal them to do so. If they still try to pass close, I watch in my mirror, and move right as they pass to give myself more room. I wouldn't have that option if I were at the side already.
 
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