Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More thoughts on group riding

In a one-on-one chat at the Everglades Bicycle Club meeting last night, I mentioned the discussion Jim Smith had started about what he calls "pack riding." (I'm changing to the term "group riding" for general use, because the word "pack" suggests wolves and other predators -- an association I do not embrace for my riding friends.) The response I heard from my new acquaintance was sympathetic to Smith's concern about groups large enough to present a hazard or at least an annoyance to other road users.

Today I came across a leaflet on group riding that's published by the Florida Bicycle Association. It doesn't address the question of when a group becomes too large, but it does have some good advice that, if followed, might help us ride more safely and avoid giving bicyclists a reputation for discourtesy. It covers behavior at intersections, riding two-up vs. single file, the skills of the pace line, and more.

You could say that our license tag motto, "Share the road," cuts both ways. When I'm out on 97th Avenue, I'm just another vehicle and, while the motorist is required to give me three feet of leeway, I'm required to signal, ride to the right (unless space demands that I take the lane), and follow the same protocol at a four-way stop that any other vehicle would. Just because I'm in a group of 12 or 20 or whatever, I'm not excused from the demands of law or of courtesy.

If you haven't reviewed lately, I recommend that you download one of these leaflets. You might save your bike, or your neck.

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