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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My point is that unless there's some urgent emergency, the only reason you'd ride on the footpath to get around a corner is impatience. It sets a bad example.
It may have been somewhat of a misunderstanding, or not clearly communicated. There was a situation on Sunday where there was no way the tail group were going to get through the change of lights, so we did actually stop on the red and split the group up.

What they were trying to get across is, normally these paceline are a fairly tight formation, and not stretched out as was the case Sunday, and as the lead riders are proceeding through the green light, if it changes to amber, don't be braking suddenly on the line, but proceed through with the group as one moving vehicle.

If the light is definitely red, no-one is advocating to proceed through a red light, indeed this is how I have been separated from some of our other social rides, as I will not proceed through a red light. I would sooner wait, and chase the pack down again. Or if it is a fast moving pack, they will slow for a split and wait for the call of "all on" before regathering momentum to the designated speeds.

As Belinda has commented in the thread though, if you are braking and are stopping, do not just hit the anchors, as this will create havoc in the pack, make sure that you call out your intentions of stopping, and if possible, indicate with hand signals that you are stopping. If you are stopping in a controlled fashion, it should be possible to slow to a stop and indicate, if you do not feel comfortable with the hand signalling and braking simultaneously, again, make sure you call out loud and clear your intention to stop.

This should pass down the line also, the rider behind you also calls out stopping, for those riders behind them. Never assume that you are the last rider in a paceline, just in case someone else has been resting on the tail of the group, and you were unaware they were behind you, or someone new has decided they liked the way you were working and has joined on.

Again, apologies for any confusion that may have arisen, the message was only meant to convey to proceed across amber, not to brake suddenly, and definitely not to proceed through an intersection on a red light uner any circumstances. Again, it may have been left unsaid, but relying on the commonsense of riders as individuals not to proceed through red, as we in the tail end group certainly did stop for red.

I hope this helps clarify the situation a little better. A small group of about 10 - 12 riders can really work very efficiently with and for each other, and when you gain confidence in the paceline skills, a well moving paceline is awesome to be a part of.

But no, please stop for red lights!!

I only just saw this post now during my lunchbreak, so thought I'd chime in with a response too!

Keep the rubber side down!
Based on the clarification from Mark, perhaps we can all take a breath and relax now. I've been following the thread this morning and it seems to be mimicking the weather out there. We should all play safe (and legal) and not let bad traffic lights get us down.
true, its all about not wanting to break the rhythm, just as joggers keep pacing at the lights. But its a bit rich on cyclists setting an example when the government relies on motorists breaking the law to raise revenue from speeding. Ever broken that law Belinda ?- regardless of whether you actually got caught, and do you criticise yourself for setting a bad example to every other road user when you don't obey EVERY road rule when driving? eg: putting indicators on the appropriate distance before turning, putting indicators onto indicate you are pulling over or entering traffic etc etc. The number of road rules flouted by people every day in cars is astronomical, so why do we beat up cyclists?
I have ridden in heaps of paceline group rides - and I am as guilty as the next person on following a bunch through an amber light. Given that the group is 20-30 people, and the front few enters the intersection when it is green but it changes to amber, who makes the call to stop? Normally I stop when safe (ie. not too many people behind me) if the light turns red. As others have said, it is particularly dangerous whacking the anchors on, and hoping that everybody stops behind you. In my experience, when the lights change, generally someone in the middle of the group will yell "Rolling" if they think everybody will get through before the lights change to red. Rules of the road aside, some decisions are made to maintain the safety of the group. I am not advocating running red lights, but I am also not advocating pulling the Road Rules out at each intersection and hoping to hell that everybody stops without piling up or skidding into the intersection.
To easytiger about riding with the bunch through an amber light, without sharp braking which could result in a cyclist pile up. Last I knew the ARR said something about stopping on an amber light, if safe to do so. When I do drive and near an amber light, I quickly check the rear vision mirror. If any vehicle behind is tailgating or going fast, I legally go through the amber light to avoid a collision.

Different when I am cycling alone. When I see an amber light, I try to stop, because lights phases often too short to get through the intersection before it turns red, and vehicles enter the intersection near me on my left.
That's the problem with mass rides - you'll end up in groups with people you've never ridden with before. Leave yourself some room to escape if they do something unexpected by staying about 3 feet back and a bit to one side, not directly behind them.

If you lose too much of the draft to hang on by doing that, you're better off sitting up and waiting for a slower group.
I have no experience in riding a paceline but surely if you can't stop in time for the light without risking an accident you shouldn't be riding in a tight bunch at that high a speed in an area with traffic lights. Imagine if it was a group of cars all tailgating at high speed and they went through the red and tried on a "we couldn't stop because we were too close together" argument.

Lights are amber for about 4 seconds. If people in a bunch can't organise what they are doing in 4 seconds and react accordingly, they shouldn't be in a bunch....
It's easy to say that, but have you been in large bunches doing 55-60km/h? I rode in the fastest Megabike group for a while last summer, and I don't think it's possible for them to stop in 4 seconds without causing crashes, especially since road bikes aren't great at braking.
Megabike bunches do 60km/hr?! Any bunch doing that speed requires superior bike-handling skills, and the bunch needs to be kept small enough to be safe.

I believe that unless you're an elite Pro, bunch riding is: Big, Fast, Skilful - pick 2.

Anybody can proceed through on amber, or safely stop, within 4 seconds. Its a matter of taking responsibility for your own riding - i.e. not relying on the wheels in front to navigate for you. I always keep one eye on the wheel immediately in front, and one eye over his shoulder to up the road - that way, I don't need to have someone call out 'stopping', because:

(1) I can see for myself there's an intersection coming up, and I'm mentally preparing for amber,
(2) then when it does change, making a decision about whether I'm going to safely make it through, or not.
This gives a better situational awareness than just 'lemming' riding. If people drove that way, rather than driving to the next car's bumper, there would be fewer accidents.


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