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Believe Bud has hit it on the head--up to perhaps 35 mph, riding in the "tire wipe"
for one rider or the lane with two bicycles together can work--higher speeds are
problematic for all concerned.


On 22 Sep 2002 at 13:30, Bud Haas wrote:

I'd like to add a few comments. I agree with Bunky's letter, and Len's and Dale's
comments.
Len suggests that it is safer, at this point in time, to ride in single file. He also sees
this as a positive political position.

Often there is no shoulder.
The Problem is not about riding two abreast.
The Problem is motorists refusing to slow down.

If I am riding with another two abreast, and a motorist approaches, and I drop
behind and both cyclists continue riding in line in the lane, the motorist will have to
cross the centerline to safely pass. If we continue to ride two abreast, the motorist
will still have to cross the centerline to safely pass. A motorist can only pass safely
in his travel lane if both cyclists get off the road into the shoulder, if there is one.

In the inline scenario, the motorist may choose to squeeze the cylists, slowing or
not, by passing in the same lane. In the abreast scenario, the motorist has to cross
the centerline, slowing and waiting if there is oncoming traffic. Of course, as we
know, many motorists do not slow, but willy-nilly cross the centerline oblivious to
any oncoming traffic, often driving them off the road.

It has been my experience that if I am riding in the lane, most motorists will cross
the centerline to pass; if I am on or near the fog line, or the shoulder, they will pass,
less safely, in my lane.

Which is safer for the cyclist? Causing a motorist to slow and more safely pass, or
allowing a motorist to unsafely pass in the same lane? One answer is that it
depends. Depends on the traffic, and the speed of the traffic. When should a cyclist
give up their right to the road? Does giving up that right help to educate motorists?
How do we get motorists to slow down? Do we really gain respect from motorists by
getting out of their way? Is having tthe "impede" word in the statute a help or a
hindrance in training motorists?

Bud

***********************************************
Dale and Lem wrote:
Len: In my experience, which includes riding with many groups of every size up to
hundreds, it depends on how it is done.

  - Riding two abreast can be done safely in the right situation.

  - There are many situations where it is not safe.

  - There are also situations where taking the whole lane may be safer than riding
single file. One example is making a left turn at a busy intersection with stop lights.

What is needed is some good education for people who lead and ride in groups.

Dale Critchlow

At 02:34 PM 9/20/02 -0400, Len Lamoureux wrote:


  Dear All, I want to express my thoughts on bikers riding two abreast on roads even
though I am probably in a minority with this group. I don t believe that the law is that
clear on the subject. Two bikers riding together on most Vermont roads, in a travel
lane with no shoulder or one biker in a lane and one on a narrow shoulder are
impeding in some way or other the flow of traffic by their very presence at a
relatively slow speed. There is no reason to ride side by side except to socialize.
That is not good enough even if the law may allow it. Think of a 24 pound bike out
there against a 4000 pound vehicle just because the bikers want to socialize and
believe they have the law on there side. Who loses if a biker is hurt by the vehicle?
The biker gets injured and he or she probably will not win in court or with the media
because the opposing attorney or someone else will try to make a case that the
bikers were impeding the flow of traffic. Also, bikers riding side by side really upset
most motorists and every time that happens it hurts our yearning for respect from
motorist. I have participated in many group rides and understand that in those
activities there will be riders together for some distance but then in a few miles they
become spaced out in more or less a single line. Also, it is fine for bikers to ride
together when there is an 8' to 12' wide shoulder along the travel way which is not
very often on Vermont roads. Please believe that I mean no disrespect to bikers. I
am as much a devoted avid biker as anyone in our group but I do feel strongly that
bikers should not be riding side by side on most Vermont roads. We have come far
in the last ten years but we still have a long ways to go to gain the respect and
acceptance we all desire. Len




Tony Redington
802-223-1744 (h)
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