I went on a group ride on Sunday and it was my first chain ride, at least I think thats what it's called. Suffice to say that we were in a group moving together with the lead cyclist constantly changing. We were told at the beginning of the ride that if the lead riders of the group enter a junction with traffic lights green then the rest should follow even if the lights change to amber and red. It was also suggested that this practise is perfectly legal. I have strong doubts about the practise and legality.


I'd be interested to know what other newby group riders felt about this and any general comment justifying or decrying this type of ride.


Incidently there was a very near crash at one set of traffic lights when a rider at the front of the inside line braked suddenly when the lights changed and the following rider veered into the path of the outside line.

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A bicycle is legally a pedal-powered vehicle, so it is illegal for a cyclist to go through a red light. I have ridden in slow-paced group rides of Bicycle SA where stopping for red lights was the norm. I have no experience in cycling in fast-paced large groups near traffic lights.
Interesting to know that it is in the guidelines, but still the peleton would be split by the police filling out all those infringements for running reds.
Of course it's not legal for anyone in the group to enter the intersection on red, but unfortunately it's common in large, fast groups, because anyone stopping for lights near the back will never get back on.

The other reason for it is that if the lights change while a group is barrelling through at 50km/h+, anyone trying to stop is likely to cause a pileup. So these groups only stop if those on the front have plenty of time to signal and slow down gently.
Simple - cyclists are road users - the red light wins.

All peleton riders need to pay attention to road conditions, red lights included. That said - green light traffic does not have a right to drive into any other traffic - if the forward path is blocked then the brake pedal is paramount!
Well then, we won't have red light issues with no more peletons as tailgating is illegal no?
BTW, it's called a paceline, and I hope you enjoyed the extra speed. They come in two flavours - double or rotation, where the lead changes constantly and you have a second line moving to the back, and single, where the leader does 30 sec or so, then drops back by himself.

Double is faster and more efficient if done well, but it's more easily disrupted by those who sprint off the front or struggle to pull through. Single is a better workout, since it's a short interval, kinder to traffic and better accommodates a range of strengths.
Not cool. The person who told you "if the lead riders of the group enter a junction with traffic lights green then the rest should follow even if the lights change to amber and red" is wrong. Dead wrong - or at least will be if he continues that practice.

Down at Outer Harbor we race on open roads, in bunches as you describe. There's a set of pedestrian lights on Victoria Road that by law we MUST obey - even if the bunch is doing 60, anyone who passes through it on red is automatically disqualified. Same with train level crossings.

Its the responsibility of the riders nearest the front in any group ride who see the green change to amber, to signal with hands and voice 'stopping!' - all who can safely make it through on amber do, the rest obey the red and stop. It splits the bunch, yes, but its only polite for the front bunch to slow up and wait for the rest.

it's bunches who do the exact wrong thing that give the rest of us a bad name.
Thanks for posting this Clive - is this an organised group? Do you care to 'name and shame them'?

It's this sort of selfish, boneheaded behaviour that makes non-cyclists call for 'registration plates for bikes'.

I don't agree with the call at all, but they have a point when you see/read about this sort of behaviour.

Slightly off topic - I have a Prius and used to post on a forum 'priuschat' (something like that). A number of people on the forum practice extreme 'hypermilling' to get very low fuel consumption. Some of them tailgate trucks and other vehicles to reduce drag. Of course the practice is dangerous and illegal and most of the forum does not support such practices. Why should cyclists be any different?

What is it about cyclists that make them (most of the ones I see) think it's OK to run red lights if no traffic is coming - or turning left at red lights even if traffic is coming? Why is OK for cyclists to ride in a tight group which means they can't stop quickly? (I do think this is fine away from urban areas).

We're not going to get treated as proper vehicles until we start behaving like proper vehicles!

Simple solution that needs to get into the head of some of these cyclists is that if half the group doesn't get through due to a red light then STOP and wait on the other side of the lights so they can get back on. Too many groups don't do this. If more groups did this their would be less red light running.

On another point, Simon. Since the intoduction of loss of demerit points for turning left at the lights against a red light I often now ride up on the footpath and go round the light instead. The law I am now breaking is "riding on the footpath and being over 12 years old" - still fineable but no loss of demerit points. What we really need are sensible road laws. Turning left on a red light is permitted in the road traffic act except it has to be gazetted and our SA aw makers believe all motorists are inherently stupid (possible valid point) and won't allow it in SA. What they should do is allow it for cyclists as we can see clearly around the intersections just as pedestrians can.
Hi Peter

WIth the turning left at traffic lights - I see plenty of cyclists that do this even when there is traffic coming. We can 'get away' with it, because usually we can fit on the left of the car so they don't need to move. However, I think it sends a poor signal to motorists...if 'we're' going to ignore 'them', then 'they' will ignore 'us'. People don't do this sort of thing on motorbikes (which can see just as well), so I don't see why it should be legal for cyclists!

No I won't name and shame as they are relatively new and I suspect wil rethink this policy as they seek to portray a good image. Interesting to note that several riders from the ride are regular contributors to this web site but as far as I can tell, none have made a comment.


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