Two abreast riding : yes , but …?
I have just done a Google search for this subject, but I find only tangential references here at AC, which surprises me, so I raise it here.
It seems to me that it’s an important issue, part of the history of cycling, and that there is some confusion on the matter, both among cyclists and non-cyclists.
As I understand it, two abreast riding is fully legal – the police and road safety documentation repeats this often. There are certain provisos and qualifications, sometimes : the authorities say, you may not be more than 1.5m apart; you may not be MORE than two abreast; you shouldn’t be two abreast in a bike lane ( because you would be more than 1.5m apart !) …but in general, I am somewhat surprised as to WHY the police etc need to repeat this as often as they do.
I suspect the answer is, that on occasions groups of riders IGNORE the two abreast rules, creating hazards to both themselves and other road users. That this happens is undeniable.
There is also some confusion between TAB and the “keep left” rules. ( As I understand it, a bicycle needs to keep left on single lane roads, just like ever body else)
It intrigues me though, how often regular cyclists seem to be fearful of TAB, describing it as necessarily hazardous, when in fact in many situations, not only is two abreast legal, it’s also SAFER . After all, if TAB was un-safe, it would not be legal !
I often see groups of “club” riders TAB on suburban streets, apparently easily accommodated by the vast majority of motorists ( not all, just the huge majority.) I am not a club rider myself, only an observer, so my assessment of motorist reaction is based on that observation, rather than direct experience. Sometimes, these club riders may be ignoring the presence of (narrow) bicycle lanes, which is technically illegal (as above), but IMO may actually be “best practice”.
I do notice, by contrast, that most recreational cyclists, even in groups, RARELY use TAB, and I can recall being the ONLY rider in certain groups to attempt TAB in some situations where I considered it necessary for safety ( rather than just for conversational purposes !)…
And I do notice here at AC, a distinct tendency to “qualify” TAB to the point where it is generally discouraged in ALL circumstances ( or almost all !) - sometimes forcefully so. It surprises me that cyclists are prepared to sacrifice their own safety for the sake of (possible) negative but ill-informed counter reaction from other road users.
Is this an instance of "Use it ... or Lose It" ?
Agreed, it IS legal in a bike lane as long as both riders are in the actual lane. This is found under the Road Safety: Cyclists DPTI page.
Yes you are allowed to ride two abreast on the road. The exception to this is where a bicycle lane exists and is in operation and there is insufficient room for two riders to ride abreast inside the lane, In this case you must ride single file. Also whilst it is legal to ride two abreast it is important to consider other road users and not hog the road.
Check it out here http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/roadsafety/safe_road_users/cyclists
<SNIP>It is one of the most frustrating abuses of the road rules by cyclists - up there with riding on the footpath.
If a cyclists chooses to break the law they should be prepared to cop abuse from drivers, fellow cyclists and hopefully the full force of the law. They should also be aware that they are giving ALL cyclists a bad name so choosing to break the law is a selfish act which has consequences for others.<SNIP>
I think you have hit the nail on the head here and articulated all that is wrong with road safety. Every time there is a cycling story on Adelaide Now there are comments about how it is illegal for cyclists to filter on the left of traffic stopped at traffic lights, how it is illegal for cyclists to ride two abreast, how it is illegal for cyclists to ride on roads parallel to paths such as the Amy Gillett bikeway, how it is illegal for cyclists to do this and do that, how car registration pays for roads and cyclists have no right to ride on them - all things which are perfectly legal and/or where the writer is mistaken. And to compound their error the writer uses this to justify vigilantism against cyclists.
Ignorance of the law is one thing. Using ignorance of the law to justify uncivil behaviour is something entirely different and has no place on the roads. If you think someone is doing something wrong then report it to the police. Getting upset and abusing people because you somehow feel like they are doing something wrong (even when they aren't) only helps to reinforce the current sad state of affairs.
No worries, what this also means is that, for example along Military Rd past West Lakes which is only a bike lane for 3(?) hours a day monday to friday, it is legal to ride 2 abreast and not both be in the bike lane at all other times, which inludes all weekend. Not saying that I ride this way, I try to stay in the bike lane all the time, thats just what the law says!
this is a tricky one, maybe knock on one of the speed camera cop's windows and ask them
I wonder if it is legal, when someone parks a car in an active bike lane, for you to stop and drag your bike over its roof with a rope, then ride on? (/joke) Lucky thing Adelaide doesn't have too many 24 hour bike lanes then.
It is tempting though
Once had a jogger run over the bonnet of my car - because I didn't stop back from the corner. Not sure who was in the wrong, it was dark so I didn't see Mr Jogger, who just appeared out of the dark, and to see traffic I had to be AT the corner, not before it…
I wasn't impressed, but luckily no damage. To him or my car…
Easier than riding over a car tho.
Two abreast is far safer on a roadway than single file. Motorists are more likely to go around rather then squeeze past as would be the case with a single file. I ride two abreast at every opportunity.