Riding 2 abreast
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  1. #1
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    Riding 2 abreast

    When you are riding with a friend, 2 abreast, and a car comes up behind, you'll generally go single file so the car can pass easier.

    My question: should the rider on the left (further in the lane) speed up to get ahead of his friend, or slow down to drop behind his friend? Or should the outside rider speed up to get ahead to allow his friend to fall in line?

    When riding with friends, we have never come to a consensus. One or the other speeds up or slows down, and sometimes we'll confuse each other for a second if we both decide to do the same at the moment.

    Is there a proper etiquette? (And why don't I already know? I feel stupid asking!)
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  2. #2
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    Good question. We just say what to do, it changes all the time depending on the situation.

  3. #3
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    If the left rider drops back and tuck in would likely be the quickest way to vacate that occupied space. This approach is also more consistent and predictable with those familiar riding in a paceline.

  4. #4
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    The rider on the left decides which way they are going, in front or behind the rider on the right and the rider on the right either lets up a little or accelerates a little to accommodate the move.
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  5. #5
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    The pu$$y is always the one who drops back. Don't be a pu$$y

    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    The rider on the left decides which way they are going, in front or behind the rider on the right and the rider on the right either lets up a little or accelerates a little to accommodate the move.
    I've honestly never given it thought, especially with just 2 riders. But this is what seems to just naturally happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    The rider on the left decides which way they are going, in front or behind the rider on the right and the rider on the right either lets up a little or accelerates a little to accommodate the move.
    I think that's pretty much what happens without anyone giving it any thought. Although now that I think about it I can remember if I'm on the right and hear the car first I'll just say; "car, go ahead" and stop pedaling for a second.
    Never had any mix up or delay I can remember and I don't think anyone really give it any thought in advance. Probably helps that I tend to ride with the same people most of the time and they are all pretty experienced.

  7. #7
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    when on the left, I prefer that the person on the right slow and create space for me.
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  8. #8
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    Just discuss with your riding partner what to do in that situation and stick with it.

  9. #9
    jkc
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    I let the person exposed to the traffic makes the call.

  10. #10
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    It takes a car half the time to pass a group riding two abreast than it does to pass the same group riding single file. Safer for both parties.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    It takes a car half the time to pass a group riding two abreast than it does to pass the same group riding single file. Safer for both parties.
    Except when the driver fails to provide adequate clearance... Drivers usually avoid crossing into oncoming lane, are you willing to gamble that the driver knows how to leave enough room?

    It's not the act of passing that kills, but rather the lack of situation and spatial awareness.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    It takes a car half the time to pass a group riding two abreast than it does to pass the same group riding single file. Safer for both parties.
    And that depends if there is oncoming traffic, expected or unexpected.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova_rider View Post
    Except when the driver fails to provide adequate clearance... Drivers usually avoid crossing into oncoming lane, are you willing to gamble that the driver knows how to leave enough room?

    It's not the act of passing that kills, but rather the lack of situation and spatial awareness.
    Every time a cyclist is passed by a motorist it's a gamble that the driver knows how to leave enough room, whether the cyclists are single file or two abreast. If the driver is looking to avoid crossing into the oncoming lane, I prefer to take more of the lane, forcing the driver to wait until it's safe to cross the center line to pass. Better that than to be forced into the curb or off the road by a motorist who's set on sharing a lane, whether there's room, or not.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    And that depends if there is oncoming traffic, expected or unexpected.
    Bingo -- it depends on the situation -- riding on a deserted road, there's no real reason not to keep riding two abreast. The car has room to pass provided there's bot one coming the other way. Busy road -- you shouldn't be doing it at all. If you ride a lot with the same person there's probably a routine. I ride a lot with my wife. She likes to be on the left when we ride next to each other. If we need to go single file, I speed up and she drops in behind me.

    Cyclists are kind of funny about things like this. I had a guy chide me because I unclicked from my pedal at a light with my right foot rather than my left foot. Let's discuss ...

  15. #15
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Bingo -- it depends on the situation -- riding on a deserted road, there's no real reason not to keep riding two abreast. The car has room to pass provided there's bot one coming the other way.
    But... it still depends on the situation. I ride on rural deserted roads that are narrow, no painted lines. There is no room to safely pass with two abreast.
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  16. #16
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    riding 2 abreast is breaking the 3-foot law, isn't? since each bicycle is considered a vehicle?

    and when you're riding 2 abreast in a fast moving peloton, what happens when there's an obstacle? yep, there's almost no room to move

    Other than for chit-chating purposes, I've never liked riding 2 abreast

  17. #17
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    riding 2 abreast is breaking the 3-foot law, isn't? since each bicycle is considered a vehicle?
    Nope. The law (at least in my state) is very specific.

    Motor vehicles must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking a bicycle
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Every time a cyclist is passed by a motorist it's a gamble that the driver knows how to leave enough room, whether the cyclists are single file or two abreast. If the driver is looking to avoid crossing into the oncoming lane, I prefer to take more of the lane, forcing the driver to wait until it's safe to cross the center line to pass. Better that than to be forced into the curb or off the road by a motorist who's set on sharing a lane, whether there's room, or not.
    I was only responding to the post about passing. Overtaking single vs two riders is not the same for most drivers as it requires much more deliberate actions and more likely to misjudge, IMO.

    I personally swing wide towards the left of the lane whenever there is double yellow and blind curve just to discourage drivers from passing.

  19. #19
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    But... it still depends on the situation.
    Isn't that what I just said?

  20. #20
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Isn't that what I just said?
    Except then you said... "riding on a deserted road, there's no real reason not to keep riding two abreast."
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  21. #21
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    From a legal standpoint, in many states including my own, riding two abreast in traffic is illegal, riding single file while taking the lane is legal. Both of these take up the same space, but the former illegal behavior has the potential to arouse anger and hostility in motorists which puts us all in danger.

    Know the laws in your state:

    https://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    And that depends if there is oncoming traffic, expected or unexpected.
    If there is oncoming traffic, you can't legally pass even if the cyclists are single file. As to what constitutes unexpected oncoming traffic, are you talking about oncoming cars you couldn't see while traversing uphill or around a blind curve? In either case you still can't legally pass.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    If there is oncoming traffic, you can't legally pass even if the cyclists are single file. As to what constitutes unexpected oncoming traffic, are you talking about oncoming cars you couldn't see while traversing uphill or around a blind curve? In either case you still can't legally pass.
    Who actually follows what is 'legal'?
    I am talking real world driving...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    From a legal standpoint, in many states including my own, riding two abreast in traffic is illegal, riding single file while taking the lane is legal. Both of these take up the same space, but the former illegal behavior has the potential to arouse anger and hostility in motorists which puts us all in danger.

    Know the laws in your state:

    https://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws
    Riding bicycles, single file or two abreast, has the potential to arouse anger and hostility in motorists. Those angry motorists need to know the rules of the road.

    It seems to me that there are three kinds of motorists concerning cyclists out there.

    1. Those that are comfortable and happy sharing the road with cyclists
    2. Those that want all cyclists off their roads
    3. Those with their head up their ass, I mean, that are on their phone

    And all three of those types are going to act the way that they are going to act whether we cyclists are riding single file or two abreast.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Know the laws in your state
    Exactly. They vary from state to state, and there may be limitations or exclusions.

    For instance, in CT, cyclists ARE allowed to ride two abreast, EXCEPT they
    "shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic".

    That gives law enforcement plenty of leeway in determining your responsibility.

    Don't read just what you want to see.
    Last edited by Peter P.; 1 Day Ago at 04:38 PM.

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