Listed below are some commonsense tips which will increase your enjoyment and safety when riding with others.
RIDING IN TRAFFIC
Read the Road Ahead
It is vitally important that you scan the environment around you. By being aware of your surrounding environment you will increase your level of safety.
Eye to Eye Contact
It is an important means of communication as it makes drivers aware of your presence. Be aware of drivers’ blind spots, particularly at the side of their vehicles and next to their rear doors.
Be alert for vehicles approaching from behind or pulling out in front of you. Be aware of doors opening by looking out for occupants inside stopped vehicles.
Positioning in Traffic
Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Ride a metre out from the kerb and maintain a straight line. You will be more visible to other motorists. It will also deter other traffic from trying to squeeze past.
Give a clear indication of where you are going and take the guess work out of it for others. This can be done by signalling in the direction you intend to travel. Sharing the Road means obeying the road rules, being predictable and respecting the rights of others who use the road.
RIDING WITH OTHERS
Joining or Leaving a Group
This should only be done at the rear of the group once all riders have passed. If the group is unruly, unsafe or behaving illegally you should leave the group immediately.
Climbing or Ascending
Standing up on the pedals will cause an immediate deceleration of your bike. To minimise the impact on the group, change up a gear to keep up your cadence and maintain pedal pressure. The opposite should apply when you become seated again.
Portable Audio Devices
Do not use these devices whilst riding. You need to be aware of your total environment and be able to hear what’s around you when riding. This is even more critical in a group ride.
Keep your thumbs under the handlebars in case of sudden bumps and make sure your handlebars are parallel with others around you to avoid your bars being hooked by bikes around you. Riding in a group requires much more skill and concentration than just riding a bike. It is recommended that groups do not exceed 20 cyclists in total as it becomes extremely difficult for other cyclists and motorists to ‘pass the bunch.’
It is important for you to ride predictably in the group. Sudden changes in direction or behaviour should be avoided. Sudden or abrupt movements will also impact on the reaction time of the other riders in the group and create an unnecessary hazard.
Don’t Overlap Wheels
If your front wheel touches a rider in front this may result in a sudden loss of control and a likelihood of a fall occurring.
Maintain a Steady Pace
Maintain a constant speed and avoid abrupt or unnecessary use of your brakes. This may cause a collision amongst riders following behind.
Use verbal and non verbal (hand) communication to indicate hazards such as debris, pot holes and approaching vehicles. Communicate your intentions with phrases such as “stopping” or “slowing” or pointing out a hazard.
Ride within Your Limits
If you don’t feel confident enough to ride at the front of a group, you should move towards the rear and indicate your intentions to others. If you feel constantly over extended, it’s safer for you to leave the group as over exertion can result in loss of concentration and control.
We’ve all seen cyclists running red lights, riding on the footpath or riding without a helmet. Unfortunately when one cyclist behaves in this manner many other law abiding cyclists are left to cop the criticism from motorists who become frustrated with their behaviour. There are specific penalties that apply to cyclists who break the law. Here are some examples:
Signs and Signals
Cyclists must obey traffic control signs and signals applicable to them including red lights, stop and give way signs.
Riding 2 Abreast
Bicycle riders may not ride more than two abreast unless overtaking, three wide is permissible whilst the passing group is overtaking in single file. Cyclists riding two abreast must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart.
Riders must use the bicycle lane if there is a bicycle lane on a length of road going in the same direction. Recognise lane markings and do not cross unbroken double white lines.
Causing a Traffic Hazard
The rider of a bicycle must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian without warning or looking.
The rider of a bicycle and any passenger must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on each of their heads.
Following Behind a Motor Vehicle
Riders must not ride within 2 metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres.
EXAMPLES OF CYCLING INFRINGEMENTS
• Fail to obey traffic lights
• Fail to obey traffic sign
• Fail to obey stop signal
• Fail to have at least one hand on handlebars
• Ride over double lines
• Ride more than 2 abreast
• Fail to wear approved bicycle helmet
• Fail to have lights or equipment Prepared jointly by Triathlon Victoria, CycleSport Victoria & the Victoria Police Bicycle Unit.