Capital City Cyclists’ Ride Guide
Capital City Cyclists wants riders to have an enjoyable and safe experience while on club rides. The guidelines contained here are intended to ensure club rides are safe and increase the respect of bicycling within the community. There are three basic principles:
- Follow traffic rules.
- Clearly communicate within the group,
- Respect other road users.
Club ride policy is to adhere to traffic law and to stop for red signals Should a traffic signal change from green to yellow, a group’s lead rider should alert all other riders and come to a stop (if there is time to safely do so). Only if riders cannot safely stop, should they proceed through the yellow light. The lead rider(s) should wait for others in the group to catch up once the light turns green again. Note: Lead riders should also apply this principal in other traffic conditions which may result in the group splitting up (e.g., small gaps in oncoming traffic when a group is turning left).
Many traffic signals are operated by detection systems embedded in the roadway. These can often be located by rectangular or round-shaped pavement cuts. Many of these devices are capable of detecting a single bicycle properly placed. In the absence of a motor vehicle, place as many bicycles on the device markings as possible to trigger a light change. If a motorist approaches from behind, but is not on the visible detectors, one approach would be to move forward and politely motion the motorist forward over the detection device. Be aware that traffic detection devices are rarely installed in bicycle lanes. If no motor vehicles are present, riders must leave the bike lane in order to position bicycles over the detection devices. Where pedestrian signal buttons are present, one rider can push button.
Lead riders should stop at all stop signs and red lights—always respecting the right-of-way of others—stopping in the correct lane for in the direction of the route, (rightmost lane when turning right, rightmost thru-lane when going straight, left turn lane when going left. ) Riders should bunch-up and take control of the lane, allowing the group to proceed through the intersection as rapidly as possible. After the intersection, the group should move into formation as appropriate.
Generally, do not pass motorists on the right.
Lead riders should consider the following:
• Is it possible that a motorist could turn right across the path of the cyclists?
• Will passing be easy (bike lane or paved shoulder) or difficult (narrow lane) for motorist after the signal?
Never ever line up to the right of large trucks or buses.
A lead rider who does pass on the right should not overtake the lead car in a stopped queue. Although stopped motorists preparing to turn right are supposed to signal and be positioned as far right as practical, some neglect to do this.
At a stop sign or light, only pass a single motorist on the left if he or she is preparing to make a right turn.
Never lean on stopped motor vehicles!
Stop at STOP signs and signal to riders behind. When it is their turn to go, groups can pass through stop signs as a unit. If there is significant space between groups, the following group needs to stop and follow the normal rules of right of way.
Before changing lanes or position within a pace line, remember to always look behind for traffic (bicycle or motor vehicle). When the group is changing lanes, riders at the end of the group typically should change lanes first. They have the best view of cars coming up behind, and this
Two Abreast vs. Single File
By Florida law, bicyclists may ride two abreast unless impeding traffic. State law is difficult to interpret, and left to the law officer’s discretion as to what “impeding” traffic means. It is also unclear as to whether a rider may pass two riders abreast, although logic would dictate that this practice is legal.
- Do not ride more than two abreast for any extended period.
- While on a two-lane road, if heavy oncoming traffic prevents motorists from easily passing, ride in single file —but not close to the right edge of the road— or consider splitting into smaller groups.
- Be aware that unsafe passing by motorists (3 FOOT law) can happen frequently when riding single file too close to the right edge.Ride far enough from the right edge of the road to be visible, to have adequate maneuvering space, to avoid surface hazards and to discourage overtaking motorist from attempting unsafe passes.
It can be safer to maintain a two-abreast pattern as doing so means that motorists need less incoming gap to safely pass.
If significant traffic is backing up behind the group, take advantage of opportunities to pull over, to let traffic pass if that can be done safely.
When possible, alert other riders of potentially hazardous conditions (e.g., dogs, potholes, approaching cars, etc). Riders should signal stops and turns, verbally and/or by hand. Hand signals should be used to signal a rider’s (or the group’s) movements to motorists. Front riders have a special responsibility to keep an eye out for road hazards and alert the riders behind.
Never say “Clear” to other riders approaching an intersection. Each rider must make his or her own decision and learn not to be dependent on the judgment of others, as it may be fault or conditions may suddenly change. It is appropriate to alert group members of location of cars, such as “car back, car left, car right”. It is considered inadvisable to motion for motorists to pass. It is appropriate to signal to motorists when it is unsafe to pass.
Crashes and Other on-Road Problems
If a crash or mechanical problem occurs, the group should stop, move off the road (unless someone needs to direct traffic around an injured rider), and assess the situation to determine the appropriate course of action. (STAY OFF the ROAD when stopped)
Leaving Start and Rest Areas
When starting ride, or leaving rest or repair stops, the lead riders should maintain an easy pace until everyone is underway and has had time to catch-up. Exchange phone numbers with ride leader.
Riding in a pace line is only for the experienced, but can be simple enough to learn. When riding in a pace line, adhere to the following rules:
- Communicate hazards.
- Be alert! No matter how good a group is, there will be surprises.
- Avoid overlapping your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.Sudden direction or speed change may result in the wheels touching AND YOU WILL GO DOWN and perhaps those behind.
- Avoid using brakes to slow in a pace line; especially if you are near the front. Control speed by “soft-pedaling”. Less experienced riders can initially keep to the rear of the line to give themselves time to observe the process. When joining the regular pace line flow, they should keep about a half bike length between their front wheel and the rear wheel of the rider ahead. The gap can be decreased as experience and confidence increase.
- The lead rider takes a short turn at the front, moves to the left side after checking behind, then drifts back to the back of the pack. New riders may be intimidated about maintaining the pace at the front; they should be expected to take a shorter pull and drop back as soon as it is safe to do so.
- When taking the lead, maintain a steady pace.
- Do not ride on aero bars while riding in a group.
- Always ride with a helmet.
Always keep your cool. Even if motorists or other bicyclists wrong you, remain courteous.