Group Etiquette

 

Riding in a group has certain unwritten rules and responsibilities for each rider. The most important are:

Safety and Courtesy

  • Respect all road users and demonstrate a responsible attitude as cyclists & road users.
  • Obey all traffic rules, they apply to cyclists too!
  • Signal when turning left or right, slowing down or stopping
  • Have adequate lighting when riding in dull or dark conditions.
  • You should not use your phone or listen to music while riding on the road
  • Never overlap wheels.

 

On the Front

The riders on the front have greater responsibility. They choose the path and speed of the group, are the only ones with a clear view of the road, and make the call (“rolling” or “stopping”) on when to proceed through intersections. The front riders should:

  • Ride shoulder to shoulder. The person ahead is setting the pace. If the front pair “half-wheel” it affects the whole group and creates unnecessary risks.
  • Point at and call out obstacles (“left” “middle” “right”)
  • Communicate to the other riders prior to any change of direction. A hand signal is usually enough.
  • Ride safely! You are responsible for others in front of, beside and behind you
  • Slow or stop the bunch if necessary at junctions etc and call out “slowing” or “stopping”.
  • Remember at intersections that all riders in the group should be able to clear the intersection safely.
  • Hold a steady and predictable line.
  • Do not alter speed or course dramatically. If you stand to pedal on a hill or for any length of time, shift down to keep the same speed and avoid backward surges.
  • Keep pedaling if you’re leading a bunch downhill. Cyclists behind shouldn’t be required to ride on their brakes down a descent.
  • It is legal to ride side by side (no more than 1.5 metres apart) but common sense dictates that in some places single file is safer.

 

General Guidelines

  • Always be aware of the rear wheel in front of you but look past it!
  • Accelerating away from lights and across lanes should be done in a more dignified manner than when you are on your own, so that other cyclists are not dropped.
  • Avoid braking as much as possible and give warning beforehand. When stopping for lights, do so gently without slamming the brakes on. The same goes for stopping pedalling suddenly, which can cause an accident
  • Give your partner plenty of room in the corner and keep level with them. Corner at a safe speed so that everyone behind can keep up and hold your wheel. If you find that you are continually ‘losing wheels’ then it is time to do some cornering practice.
  • Half-wheeling is one rider always riding in front of his partner, which then puts the whole bunch out. It is essential that you keep level with your partner.
  • Keep reasonably close to the cyclist in front of you and again keep level with your partner. If too much of a gap is left the bunch is always playing ‘catch up’. Keep your head and eyes up. Don’t watch the gap between bikes. Scanning ahead will give you early warning of changes.
  • In some bunches everyone splits up and goes up at their own pace while other bunches try and stay together. If that is the case and you feel like dropping off, pull off early but smoothly so that others don’t get caught behind you.
  • When climbing a hill and deciding to get out of the saddle do it in one continuous flowing movement. Otherwise the wheel slows momentarily and can hit the wheel of the cyclist behind, causing a fall.

 

Riding Side By Side and Rolling Off

  • Riders should ride shoulder to shoulder, hold constant pace and rotate/pull/swing off from time to time to let other riders ride on the front.
  • When the rider on the front right wants to roll over (pull/swing off) he/she usually does so to the left to avoid swinging off into the lane of car traffic. In some cases riders might swing off to the right for safety reasons or because the wind is coming over the riders’ right shoulders. Be guided by the rest of the group.
  • The rider on the non rolling side should ‘soft pedal’ (decreasing speed slightly) to allow the other rider to roll over/swing off. It is important to signal this to the other riders.