Why do cyclists ride side by side?

cyclists ride side by side

There’s sometimes tension between cyclists and drivers on the roads and this is often down to cars trying to overtake.

Cyclists will complain that drivers aren’t doing so safely while motorists will state that they have acted properly. Plenty of people think they know the rules of the road and will happily argue – whether they’re in the right or not.

Under an existing road rule, cyclists can ride two abreast in any traffic lane on single and multi-lane roads, providing they maintain not more than a 1.5m distance between each other’s bicycle.

Riding in pairs can boost cyclists’ visibility and reduce their risk of being involved in a crash. But depending on the particular road type, this riding formation can also impact on traffic flow and result in motorists having to drive behind cyclists and wait for a safe opportunity to pass.

If a group of cyclists were riding down a road with oncoming traffic in single file, then drivers may be tempted to overtake too close to the cyclists, potentially causing an accident if the cyclists have to move out into the road to avoid a pothole or other obstacle.

However, over half of 2,000 drivers questioned in U.K. said that cyclists riding side by side along country lanes is the most annoying thing about rural driving.

The survey found that this entirely legal activity narrowly edged out drivers speeding dangerously (53 per cent) as the top annoyance, followed by dangerous overtaking (48 per cent).

With all that, it is still important that cyclists are considerate of other road users and adjust their riding appropriately.


  1. This answer laves out the obvious point that it is human nature to walk and cycle side by side.
    When did you last see people out walking in single file on wide footpath.
    Richard Watson life time cyclist and car driver.


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