Opinion: Cyclists ride two abreast to talk to each other, not for visibility
As indicated in Mr. Gonda’s opinion piece last week, according to California Vehicle Code, there is no requirement for riding single-file, although side-by-side riding may be regulated by local laws.
As a cyclist, driver, and pedestrian, I must take issue with what I believe is a factual error in Douglas Gonda’s My Turn column, “Motorists need to use caution around cyclists” (Sierra Sun, July 15, 2015), when he states that riding two abreast is legal.
The California Vehicle Code reads as follows: “21202. A. Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a ‘substandard width lane’ is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.”
In my opinion, riding two abreast means that one of the cyclists is not riding as far to the right as practicable. Furthermore, we all know cyclists ride two abreast to talk to each other, not for visibility.
While we’re at it, may I remind pedestrians walking in the bike lane that they must face traffic and yield to bicycles when possible — this is also the law.