As a relatively new ride leader, I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about how to interact with cars on the road while on a group ride. With the recent posts on stop signs and single file riding, I wanted to post my views in hopes it may help others. Of course much of this may be obvious to more experienced riders.
My overriding rule is to be courteous to drivers at all times. This means:
- Always coming to a near-stop when approaching a stop sign when cars are present. Be prepared to fully stop if you don’t have the right-of-way.
- Obeying the “who goes next” rule at stop-signs. More often than not, the bikes will get to go early because a driver will wave us through. But at least give the car that has the right of way the opportunity to take their rightful turn.
- Always respond with a friendly wave to a motorist who does offer us the right-of-way
- Ride single file when there are cars back. From my observation, this is the least observed rule by our bicycle club riders.
These may be obvious, but I’m surprised by how many riders don’t follow them. I think most of our issues are not with law enforcement, but with motorists who are fed up with rude cyclists and pressure law enforcement to crack down. From Rich’s post, that certainly seemed to be the case in some suburban towns.
As a club we collectively ride 100s of thousands of miles and are responsible for a good deal of bike/driver etiquette in the Chicago area. As a ride leader or solo rider, I make it a point to be a good ambassador for cycling by being courteous and hope others will as well.