the principles taught by the League of American Bicyclists (www.bikeleague.org)
friends, traveling rapidly and safely with confidence in your companions,
is a joy. However, there is a certain cycling etiquette, or rules of the
road, of which you should be aware whenever cycling in a group.
1. Be Predictable
Group riding requires even more attention to predictability than riding
alone. Other riders expect you to continue straight ahead at a constant
speed unless you indicate differently.
2. Use Signals
- Use hand and verbal signals to communicate with members of the group
and with other traffic. Hand signals for turning and stopping are as follows:
left arm straight out to signal a left turn; left arm out and down with
your palm to the rear to signal slowing or stopping; and for a right turn,
put your right arm straight out or put your left arm out and up.
3. Give Warnings
-- Warn cyclists behind you well in advance of changes in your direction
or speed. To notify the group of a change in path, the lead rider should
call out "left turn" or "right turn" in addition to
giving a hand signal.
Positions Carefully Generally, slower traffic stays right, so you should
try to pass others on their left. Say "on your left" to warn
the cyclist ahead that you are passing. If you need to pass someone on
the right, say "on your right" clearly since this is an unusual
Hazards -- When riding in a group, most of the cyclists do not have a
good view of the road surface ahead, so it is important to announce holes,
glass, gravel, grates, and other hazards. The leader should indicate road
hazards by pointing down to the left or right, and by shouting "hole,"
"bump," etc., where required for safety.
For Traffic Coming From The Rear - Since those in front cannot see traffic
approaching from the rear, it is the responsibility of the riders in back
to inform the others by saying "car back." Around curves, on
narrow roads, or when riding double, it is also helpful to warn of traffic
approaching from the front with "car up."
Out At Intersections -- When approaching intersections that require vehicles
to yield or stop, the lead rider will say "slowing" or "stopping"
to alert those behind to the change in speed. When passing through an
intersection, some cyclists say "clear" if there is no cross
traffic. This is a dangerous practice that should be abandoned. It encourages
riders to follow the leader, letting others do their thinking for them.
Each cyclist is responsible for verifying that the way is indeed clear.
8. Leave A Gap For Car - When riding up hills or on narrow roads where
you are impeding faster traffic, leave a gap for cars between every three
or four bicycles. That way a motorist can take advantage of shorter passing
intervals and eventually move piecemeal around the entire group.
9. Move Off
The Road When You Stop - Whether you are stopping because of mechanical
problems or to regroup with your companions, move well off the road so
you don't interfere with traffic. When you start up again, each cyclist
should look for, and yield to, traffic.
One Or Two Across - Ride single file or double file as appropriate to
the roadway and traffic conditions and where allowed by law. Most state
vehicle codes permit narrow vehicles such as bicycles and motorcycles
to ride double file within the lane. Even where riding double is legal,
courtesy dictates that you single up when cars are trying to pass you.
If you have
suggestions for expanding this education section, please contact us.
Safety and Education Coordinator