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Cyclists 2 abreast: Irritate me / Are Dangerous / Are Risking their Lives.

This is part of a series of posts in which I try to set up an 'FAQ' of frequent anti-bike arguments that show up on blogs, news stories, etc. If you have factual changes or really good arguments, Feel free to post them in the comments and I'll then try to work them in. If you're just plain looney, I'll probably just delete it in order to keep the signal to noise ratio high. ; )

All of the 'Car' Arguments are pulled from actual people in forums (typos, grammar and all). All of the 'Bike' ones are mine. (or they're borrowed from someone better ;)

2 abreast is an irritation:

I like to bicycle myself, and I worry more about the bicyclists who ride in the canyons, than I do the ones that ride on the streets and use the bike lanes. They buy the clown suits, expensive bikes, and ride down the canyons like they are in the tour d'France. They think nothing of riding two abreast and racing down the canyons, swinging way out on the curves...those are the ones that give all bicyclists a bad name. I'd love to see more of a police presence on some of those roads.

The law says cyclists can ride two abreast while they're not impeding traffic flow, give them a chance to move over before you get too irritated.

As for the swinging wide on curves, the League recommends getting out into the lane on tight corners, because that is where you will be seen the soonest by overtaking traffic that may not know you are there. If you're hugging the right through those corners, a motorist coming up behind you (taking the corner fast themselves and concentrating on it) won't see you and has less time to react.

We know drivers don't wake up in the morning thinking they'd like to hit a cyclist. But it's the unseen cyclist that gets hit. So we do our best to make sure we are where you'll be looking.

(incidentally, that's also the reason for the 'clown suit'... so YOU can see us.)

If the driver needs to wait for them to move over, then I would think they ARE impeding traffic flow.
That's just impatience talking. Take the 2 abreast cyclists and swap a slow RV in their place. At what point is that vehicle impeding traffic? the second you show up on their bumper? or once there are a few cars stacked up behind them?
All the cyclists I've ever ridden with do their best to get over as soon as possible when riding 2 abreast. We don't ride constantly looking over our shoulder though.. usually when we check occasionally or hear you back there we move over. That should be sufficient. You're losing literally seconds... how much time will you spend at the next stop light?

2 abreast is dangerous:

I have no problem slowing down and waiting for a cyclist to move over. I just don't understand how the two abreast law helps anyone. All it can possibly do is slow down traffic while putting cyclists lives in danger.

It's counter intuitive but the thing that kills cyclists is not being seen by motorists. Being in the middle of traffic won't kill us. You respect the space of other road users all the time. Being unseen and you turning right in front of us can kill us. (Sidewalk riding and wrong way riding are actually the most common killers. Hit from behind, is the least.)
So, 2 abreast endangers no one. It actually increases the cyclist's visible profile and allows the driver to notice us earlier. It's also just a nicer riding experience for people who ride together. As an experiment make all the people in your car sit in the back seat, and leave the windows open all the time. Then try to have a conversation.
Does the law say we have to stay 3 ft from 2 abreast riders? or does it say the riders need to go single file when a car is approaching?
The law says you must give 3 ft when passing.. So, yeah. If you feel the need to pass 2 abreast cyclists... don't do it unless you can cross the center line completely (that's legal, even on a double yellow as far as I know) just like you would passing a slow car.

Generally, if they're anything like the cyclists I know, they'll go down to single file as soon as they actually know you're there, so be patient, then give 3' while passing as usual.