Is this legal?

Every Sunday morning there is a local cycling club that rolls right by my home and I often wonder if the way they are riding is considered legal.

I would imagine that you’re supposed to ride in a single file line. But these guys as well as other roadies that I’ve seen are 3–5 riders deep. So I can’t help but wonder if this is something the MAN would frown upon…


  1. benjamin March 10, 2008 10:27 am 

    hopefully cops having something better to do on a sunday morning..

    it may not be completely lawful, but they aren’t blocking traffic or causing any harm/disruption.

  2. Michael Plakus March 10, 2008 10:32 am 

    There is a free lane to the left going in the same direction and these guys do not appear to riding more than two abreast (depth of field makes it hard to be sure). Depending on the state you are in this is perfectly legal and arguably safer than riding single file. Motorists are forced to use the other lane rather than make a judgment call as to whether it is safe to share the lane with the cyclists. While most motorists can accurately gage lane and car width, some, especially those distracted by food, phone or other foolishness can not so making the decision for them enhances the safety of everyone involved.

  3. Noah March 10, 2008 10:42 am 

    Two abreast, and as far right as safe and practicable. In Kansas, that’s the law, and they’re clearly breaking it.

    Regardless your stance on traffic laws vs. the safety of cyclists, they could be ticketed in many states. One thing they’re no doing, however, is obstructing traffic. It ranks up there with going 5 over the limit in a car or not signaling your turns when you’re in a parking lot. Annoying but mostly harmless.

  4. Daniel March 10, 2008 11:04 am 


    Same in Florida.
    Pursuant to title chapter 316, article 2065.6

    “Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing and shall ride within a single lane.”

  5. Jamis_Bater March 10, 2008 12:23 pm 

    Check out Bob Mionske’s articles on He’s a lawyer and writes about these and other issues. He also has a book out that covers what a cyclist should know concerning the law. Pretty good stuff.

  6. Florian Helmberger March 10, 2008 4:08 pm 

    In Austria this is perfectly legal when the group rides racing bikes and is on a training ride (and this is quite an elastic phrase around here).

  7. Quinn March 11, 2008 8:29 am 

    Yes in many states 2 abreast is the legal limit, but I see it like this- Just like a Big Rig running a stop light (we’ve all seen it), as long as they are doing there best to obey the law, not disturbing any one, going sing file through traffic, stopping at red lights, etc….. No harm No foul.

  8. Eric Rogers March 11, 2008 8:49 am 

    Since this is a four lane road it’s not as bad as if they were doing it on a two lane. That would definitely call for singling up.

    Here in the KC region we have made a big effort to educate and encourage safe and legal group riding habits. There are many resources online for group riding etiquette tips. It’s especially important the ride leader to know and model good behavior.

  9. Michael March 11, 2008 10:22 am 

    Two abreast here in TX.

  10. Gunnar March 11, 2008 11:34 am 

    2 abreast as far to the right as safe is the law in Minnesota. While the as far to the right as safe is a gray zone detail, anything greater than 2 abreast can have action taken against. But as others point out, there is clearly a whole other lane clear of traffic so I doubt any officer with anything better to do would worry about it.

  11. Michael Plakus March 12, 2008 8:12 am 

    Noah, there is on street parking on this road so the line they are taking is in fact as far right as practicable. Swerving side to side to maintain a consistent distance to the curb or curbside hazard is a great way to court disaster.

  12. r. March 12, 2008 10:33 am 

    I believe it’s two abreast in Tennessee too. I dunno the pack scares me. I’ve seen too many people knock wheels together and go flying.

    It’s not safe for the simple reason the space between cyclists isn’t sufficient. There’s not enough room to pass if you need to speed up and it’s pretty annoying to be stuck behind someone who’s slower than you.

  13. Jett March 13, 2008 7:02 pm 

    This looks a lot like my Sunday morning group in Atlanta.

    Generally we’re only this wide when road and traffic conditions allow us to proceed without impeding traffic. Just like the photo. On two lanes with traffic behind us we drop to single file.

    R from TN, yes, you don’t want inexperienced cyclists too close to your wheel, but for a group that knows what it’s doing and the risks involved, it’s nice being in a tight group.

    We haven’t been stopped for riding more than 2 abreast, but we have been stopped for not coming to a stop at stop signs. Avondale Police are very polite and — I have no objection — are willing to enforce the laws for everyone.

  14. Twodeadpoets March 13, 2008 10:19 pm 

    Washington State law: “Cyclists may ride side by side, but not more than two abreast (RCW 46.61.770)” RCW= Revised Code of Washington

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *