Should Cyclists Ride Single File?
By Jason Thomason
Should the law be changed to make cyclists ride single file? It’s a hot topic at the moment with a current online petition getting a lot of traction, and the media tend to drop articles every slow news day to get those easy comments and impressions they so require in the new digital era.
As a cyclist, I consider my views as balanced, but will tread carefully as I understand it is for some a very sensitive topic…
The current law states “cyclists can ride two abreast in any traffic lane on single and multi-lane roads, providing they maintain not more than a 1.5m distance between each other’s bicycle”. So this law is in place as it is considered that cyclists will be more visible for traffic coming from behind, reducing the likelihood of an incident. The argument against this is that it forces traffic further onto the other side of the road to be able to safely maneuver around the group.
As a cyclist that rides two abreast (but as a car approaches behind I will go single file), I believe this is the best option. More visible in the distance and then easier to pass when the vehicle gets close. I believe all cyclist should do this, it’s just a matter of consideration to the driver. But I understand that sometimes common sense can’t be written into law, and there will still be that 2% minority of cyclists that stereotypes the other 98% poorly, and that goes vice versa for drivers.
A law of perhaps limiting the size of groups allowed on the road could possibly be a better solution? When people are riding around in groups of 20+ on narrow roads, I understand that there is just no safe way for a vehicle to pass, which to a degree is unfair on the driver. If these groups were limited to say 10 riders, it would not only be a lot easier for a vehicle to pass, but also for the riders in the group to be able to communicate with each other that a vehicle is approaching. Food for thought.