Cycling side by side in pairs is a safer way to ride

19 June 2017

VicRoads is reminding all road users that cyclists are legally allowed to ride in pairs side by side on most roads, a formation with several safety benefits.

Under an existing road rule, cyclists can ride two abreast in any traffic lane on single and multi-lane roads, providing they maintain not more than a 1.5m distance between each other’s bicycle.

Riding in pairs can boost cyclists’ visibility and reduce their risk of being involved in a crash.

But depending on the particular road type, this riding formation can also impact on traffic flow and result in motorists having to drive behind cyclists and wait for a safe opportunity to pass.

VicRoads Director Road User and Vehicle Access, Robyn Seymour said some drivers encountering cyclists riding two abreast in such a situation might get frustrated or irritated.

“But the fact is that bike riders are legally entitled to ride like this, and by doing so, can significantly increase their visibility,” Ms Seymour said.

“Cyclists are some of our most vulnerable road users and can often be difficult for drivers to see, so by riding two abreast, they are more likely to be seen by drivers and given more space.

“This also means they are less likely to be squeezed into the road edge by drivers, particularly on roads where there are hazards such as a steep drop.

“While we have road rules that support cyclists to ride in pairs, we also urge them to be considerate to other road users, and move into single file when it is safe to enable vehicles to pass.”

Ms Seymour said drivers should always slow down when approaching bike riders, maintain a safe distance and only overtake riders when it was safe and legal to do so.

“After successfully overtaking, make sure you are well clear of cyclists before moving back into the lane ahead as riders might be travelling faster than expected,” she said.

“And always avoid overtaking bike riders by crossing continuous single or double centre lines, which is illegal and potentially dangerous.”

This reminder campaign follows a review of Victoria’s Cycling Road Rules that revealed many people were unaware about the side by side cycling rule.

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