Earlier this week Chris Boardman advised motorists how to safely overtake cyclists and now he’s back with driving instructor Blaine Walsh to explain why cyclists are allowed to ride side-by-side.
In the video by Carlton Kirby, Boardman informs viewers that according to the Highway Code, cyclists are encouraged to cycle no more than two abreast, meaning that side-by-side riding is perfectly legal and often safer for all involved.
While it is a common gripe of motorists when they come across a bunch of cyclists taking up the road, but as Boardman explains in the video it’s quicker and safer to overtake a group riding two abreast than it is to pass a long line of single file riders.
“Think of it like this,” he says. “In your car you have the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, that makes a car suitable for two people to travel next to each other. Cyclists riding next to each other are doing the same thing, maybe chatting just like you would do in a car.”
He added: “Cyclists will thin out into single file when it’s safe for cars to pass if it is the most appropriate action.”
While eight riders riding side-by-side may take up 10 metres of road space, the same eight riders in single file will take up 20m, meaning it is more difficult and less safe for a driver to overtake.
If a driver is to give a cyclist the space recommended in Boardman’s previous video – i.e. passing onto the other side of the road when passing – then it’s quicker and safer to pass.