Sunday, December 10, 2006

Do we need a law on riding in packs?

Safety activist Jim Smith stirred up a good discussion over the past week, broaching the idea of a law to regulate bicycling in packs. We all know that the packs are a frequent complaint of motorists in places like Key Biscayne, a favorite destination for early-morning rides especially on the weekends.

Here's what Smith wrote:
Frank believes that it would be better for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists if there was a limit on the size of a pack. He cited several reasons. First, when packs are unlimited in size, bicyclists of various skill levels participate which creates safety problems for all. Frank went on to say that you cannot tell someone that they cannot join a pack. Instead, the pack starts off fast and those less skilled drop out. However, you also end up with hangers-on who are so exhausted that they create safety problems for themselves and others.

Frank felt that the size of a pack should be seven to 10. After that, the benefit of drafting is reduced. Also, smaller packs allow motorists more opportunities to pass.
As you might imagine, the response was huge -- and there wasn't much support for legislation. The majority favored self-regulation by the riders. I'd really like to hear from you on this -- with examples, photos, suggestions. It's a discussion that will be around for a while.

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