Is it illegal to ride two abreast?

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  • Is it illegal to ride two abreast?
  • Premier Icon iamtheresurrection
    Subscriber

    No.

    Edit. Oops, missed the quote – rule 66:

    66
    You should

    keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear
    keep both feet on the pedals
    never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends
    not ride close behind another vehicle
    not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain
    be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians. Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted

    wors
    Member

    no it’s perfectly legal.

    andywhit
    Member

    Highway code words:

    You should

    * keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear
    * keep both feet on the pedals
    * never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends
    * not ride close behind another vehicle
    * not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain
    * be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians. Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted

    From http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069837

    So wee in her busybody shoes.

    spence
    Member

    Highway code, rules for cyclist 66

    You should

    * keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear
    * keep both feet on the pedals
    * never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends
    * not ride close behind another vehicle
    * not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain
    * be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians. Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted

    Ambiguous as always.

    soobalias
    Member

    tell her it is illegal to make up laws on a friday.

    spence
    Member

    Too slow………….

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I had a fascinating conversation about this with a taxi driver in the middle of the night recently.

    After the “fasten seatbelt” alarm had finally got bored of reminding him to put his belt on he regaled me with tales of the iniquities of cyclists, including their vile habit of riding two abreast in Richmond Park. I noted that the speed limit in the RP is 20mph, and I usually average 20mph on a lap, so if he was stuck behind me ever he could wind his neck in. He explained that, driving a car as powerful as his it was impossible to keep it below 20mph.

    It was a useful conversation in some ways, as it’s always good to be reminded that I am one of the sanest people on the planet. πŸ™‚

    PhilO
    Member

    It is illegal to ride ‘inconsiderately’, and in some circumstances riding two abreast could be inconsiderate. But as noted by others, two-abreast is not illegal per se.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Chuckles at soobalias.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    Most cycle training providers will recommend riding 2 abreast pretty much at all times. There was an “except on narrow roads” as above, but when doing mine (part of TCL) near Kirroughtree on what are hardly major roads there was a very definite “these roads are not narrow”!

    Premier Icon iamtheresurrection
    Subscriber

    Yeah well, I wasn’t even trying.

    If I’d put my mind to it… πŸ˜‰

    Trimix
    Member

    I hate it when cyclists ride two abreast, legal or not is not the issue. Common sence is the issue. Its usually dangerous, inconsiderate and likey to enrage other road users. Have you not noticed, we are not in the 1930’s, there are actually lots of cars on the road, usually in a rush.

    Roads are dangerous enough without us cyclists providing more obsticals for cars/lorrys/busses to dodge. Sure, in a utopian world cars would be slow and few, but back here in the real world where car drivers are frustrated, always in a rush and usually ignorant to cyclists, riding two abreast is pretty daft.

    There are also a lot of very crap car drives who are quite likey to hit you if your two abreast.

    Use a bit of common sence and ride safely.

    nunuboogie
    Member

    thanks πŸ™‚ right i’m off to wee in her shoes.

    MrSmith
    Member

    you love your car that much?

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Roads are dangerous enough without us cyclists providing more obsticals for cars/lorrys/busses to dodge. Sure, in a utopian world cars would be slow and few, but back here in the real world where car drivers are frustrated, always in a rush and usually ignorant to cyclists, riding two abreast is pretty daft.

    Nope, sorry. I am not going to be intimated into single-file cowering in the gutter by your frustration and ignorance or anyone else’s. If I am out on a ride with friends and clubmates and the road is not particularly busy I will ride two abreast, although, as the Highway Code makes clear, more than 2 abreast is not on. It is usually not dangerous or inconsiderate to ride two abreast on minor roads, and if anyone is enraged by it that is their lookout, given the above and the provisions of the Highway Code. πŸ™‚

    nbt
    Member

    I’ve been known to deliberatley ride two abreast in situtaions where i *know* that cocks in cars will try to squeeze through wher they shouldn’t

    on a narrow country lane, I might be tempted to ride single file, but really far out so a second cyclist could squeeze inside me

    Premier Icon brakeswithface
    Subscriber

    Speaking as a non-roadie, I also can’t stand it when cyclists ride two across. There are roads where it’s fine (e.g. quiet, straight, easy to overtake) but on a lot of roads it’s like being stuck behind a lycra clad caravan.

    Trimix
    Member

    But if you flipped that argument around and were driving your car along and had to slow down to follow some other car doing, say 15mph, cos it was not illegal to drive slowly, you would wonder why they didnt either pull off to let you past or speed up.

    Sadly we do have to share the road, which means considerate users will have to make compromises. So cars pass us by with plenty of space and we dont piss them off by taking up loads of room and putting us in danger.

    You also have to share the bridleway, I assume you ride that in a considerate manner, or do you expect other users to move out of your way ?

    Anyway, why not ride off the road, its much better and more suited to a mountain bike. There are not normally cars in the woods.

    Right, im off now to go and mow down two abreast darkside riders – I may spare two abreast mountain bikers now I realise there are some that ride like that.

    naokfreek
    Member

    None shall pass.

    djc1245
    Member

    Every motorist drives two abreast whether there is one of them or not.

    Premier Icon UpQuickDownSlow
    Subscriber

    Also note that rule 66 quoted above says should, not must, so it is advice, not law. (This is the wording used throughout the Highway Code to distinguish laws from advice.)

    So it is not illegal to ride three abreast, but if something bad happened when you were doing it, then it could be considered contributory negligence.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    As any phule no, a well-mannered group of cyclists riding two abreast on a country road gives the responsibility of watching behind to the riders at the back of the group. When a car approaches from behind, the riders at the back of the group will call out “car up/back” and this will be passed up the group, usually with the instruction to “single out”. When it is safe to do so the group will go to single file to allow the car to pass. This is a considerate compromise.

    Drivers insiting that cyclist ride single file at all times so they can pass without being delayed at all show no such consideration or willingness to compromise. As djc1245 points out, they are wider than us to start with. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and I ride on the road, and off the road, and also walk. The main thing I don’t bother doing is driving, partly because it is so inconsiderate. πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    There are clearly a few people out there who think “cycling” means chucking your bike in the car and driving somewhere. I do it too but it’s nice to have more options than that.

    druidh
    Member

    Trimix is on a wind up.

    Yeah?

    kennyNI
    Member

    Again from Highway code.

    163
    Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should

    -give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211-215)

    Which in my mind means using the other side of the road to where cyclist is, so even if 2 abreast, it’s immaterial. Mainly common sense, but common sense seems not to be able to get in to some cars, and on to some bikes.

    Of course, the should in the Highway code means it is just good practice to drive/ride that way (derived from various laws). It’s only an actual law in the Highway code when it says must or must not. But not driving to the should is then possibly not driving with due care and attention, or similar.

    And the highway code does change, so if someone starts “quoting” it to you, ask them when the last time they actually looked at it. Most likely the last time most people have looked at it was when they took their test.

    nunuboogie
    Member

    After my commute in this morning i was confronted by the office busy body and she informed me it was illegal to ride two abreast. Is this the case?
    My commute consists mainly of country lanes which i ride two abreat, but on the main roads i always ride single file.

    Tracker1972
    Member

    Agreed (to an extent πŸ™‚ ) Trimix, lots of people do things that annoy me, and getting stuck behind a cyclist when it is tricky to pass is one of them, more so when there is a group but tough, frankly.
    I don’t own the road and no matter what kind of rush I think I am in I have to share it.
    Three of us ride together (when we are fit anyway) and are often three abreast filling whole country lanes, but we tend to go single file when we hear a car. Thats just us though and I am sure we still hold some people up so I always say thanks with a wave and smile, but don’t apologise.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Very well put Tracker1972.

    On a side note, I have never understood why some motorists accuse cyclists of “thinking they own the road”. Any cyclist thinking he owns the road is clearly delusional and I don’t think many such cyclists exist. What the motorists seem to mean is actually “why do these people not understand that I own the road?”. But hey. πŸ™‚

    the00
    Member

    Cycles do not cause traffic obstruction – they are traffic. People tend to rant at cyclists, when they take up less space on the road, and usually travel quicker, than tractors, diggers or horses. Cyclists are just a vunerable target, so despite being in ‘the right’, be careful and considerate.

    r0bh
    Member

    On roads which are narrow enough that to overtake a cyclist a car will have to move into the oncoming lane then it is actually more considerate for a group of cyclists to be riding two abreast, as this means the group will be half as long as if they were single file. It’s only worth singling out if this will allow cars to pass without having to move into oncoming traffic.

    RichPenny
    Member

    Very good point robh. Personally ride two abreast on back roads, moving to single file when a car approaches. Main roads generally single file though.

    Premier Icon iamtheresurrection
    Subscriber

    To all on here thinking that two abreast is wrong, can I ask:

    1. How old are you (in minutes please)
    2. How many of those minutes in your life have been wasted by being stuck behind two cyclists*

    Jesus. Two abreast sometimes is inappropriate (and inconsiderate) – but really, I find some roads users impatience really quite unbelievable when they’ve been held up by a minute or two.

    * It’s rhetorical, before you start…

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Speaking as a non-roadie, I also can’t stand it when cyclists ride two across. There are roads where it’s fine (e.g. quiet, straight, easy to overtake) but on a lot of roads it’s like being stuck behind a lycra clad caravan.

    But presumably it’s OK for there to be 20 plus riders strung out single file so you can have a half hearted attempt at overtaking, only to find there’s a car approaching the other way and then just pull left straight into the riders you’re along side? Remind me not to ride on the road when you’re in a hurry to get to the nearest trail centre….

    One of the safest ways to enbsure rider safety is riding two abreast. I tend to find that even only singling out is to “show willing” to a motorist who still has no greater overtaking advantage.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    I would think riding two abreast is far safer for the cyclist. A motorist is more likely to risk your life as a cyclist by trying to squeeze through a gap that may or not be big enough if you are riding in single file. To give you the cyclist enough space (not sure about how much in the UK but here in Germany it is legislated at over 2m) a motorist would have to go onto the opposite carriageway to overtake you safely anyway so it shouldn’t make any difference if the cyclists were single-file or two a breast.

    hora
    Member

    Around Hebeden bridge last night there was a small group who were riding two abreast and taking turns for the lead. Thing is- they were taking along time overtaking each other (i.e. riding alongside chatting) and not shoulder-checking or indicating before swinging out. I followed them for quite a while and I do think riding two abreast on country roads is alittle dangerous- non-cyclists will get frustrated. Frustration leads to irrational decisions IMO.

    Premier Icon maxray
    Subscriber

    Not illegal but in busy traffic I don’t see what benefit it has to the cyclist. I only ever ride next to other cyclists on a social ride so we can chat and if we went into a high traffic area we would be concentrating on things around us rather than talking about what tyre for.. etc :o)

    All it does in high volume traffic is slow everything down to the cyclists speed and raise tensions with the other road users.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Rarely do roadie stuff in groups but do often deliberatley hold up cars by being out as far as if there were two of us.
    Sadly over time I have learnt that I need to do this to stop cars trying to overtake me on blind bends etc as they are often in such a rush that my safety is not one of their concerns.
    When a car beeps me for doing this I am actually relieved to know that I just stopped someone (impatient) from potentially killing me by attempting a dangerous overtake.
    Certainly they have been slowed down for perhaps 10 -25 seconds or so but my safety is far more important
    Those of you who are arguing against this clearly do not ride/commute on roads and understand why cyclists have to do this.
    Sad that even on cycling forum we have the car is KING mentality and anyone who dares to go slower than you is just a nuisance rather than another road user excercising their legal right to use the highways we all pay for

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    hora – that sounds like a steady chaingang. When you’re at the back of the inside line about to move out, you’ve a good idea if there is a car there. But, because the line needs to continue, riders will continue moving into the line whatever is behind them.

    We were going through and off at up to 35mph last Saturady. At that sort of speed, I’ll be f***ed if I’m going to wait for a car to overtake – I’d be out of the back and on my own for the rest of the day.

    I agree that car drivers like to think that a few seconds is s significant effect on their journey time, but this comes more from a general car related mentality: people climb into their cars thinking only of their destination, and not the elements of the journey in between. There is a cultural acceptance that it is OK to be become frustrated the moment anything causes a deviation to that fixated mindset; it’s a form of arrogance borne of the idea that “motoring = freedom = right to go where I want when I want”.

    hora
    Member

    ourmaninthenorth totally understand but that means a car driver could argue a cyclist pulled out without any warning. Swings both ways.

    antigee
    Member

    Trimix – Member
    I hate it when cyclists ride two abreast, legal or not is not the issue. Common sence is the issue. Its usually dangerous, inconsiderate and likey to enrage other road users. Have you not noticed, we are not in the 1930’s, there are actually lots of cars on the road, usually in a rush.

    yep’ round these parts i’ve noticed pedestrians have started carrying horns to toot and fake engine revving whenever they see cyclists two abreast – sometimes they hide in the hedge just to let cyclists go past and play games like stand near big puddles just waiting for groups of cyclists to soak them – inconsiderate road users

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