It is often thought that there is an added degree of safety in numbers. When walking down a dark side street it certainly makes sense but how true is it out on a bike ?
Roads nowadays are busier than ever before. Not just with more cars but also with more people out on their bikes cycling. It is great to see so many people enjoying riding their bikes but as training groups get larger and larger the question arises, how many cyclists in a group is a safe amount to travel along the by-roads of Ireland ?
20 cyclists take up as much road space as a 40 foot lorry, 40 cyclists take up the space of 2 x 40 foot lorries. 60 cyclists are a convoy travelling at 30 kph. The Gardai would not allow a convoy of lorries on a by-road in Ireland so is it OK for a group of 40 or 60 cyclists to travel along together ?
Some might say that everyone is entitled to use the open road so it is OK, but in reality it just isn’t safe .
Motorists get frustrated and take chances to get past. This puts everyone in danger. If an oncoming car travelling at speed comes around a corner and sees another car on the wrong side of the road trying to pass the group of cyclists the driver will subconsciously swerve to avoid a collision with the car facing them and what happens to the large group of cyclists then ?
If it is a club group made up solely of members of the same club a senior rider can dictate that the group is split into 2 or 3 different smaller groups each 500m to 1k apart, or they can take different routes. But if you have a group made up of individual cyclists or members of a number of different clubs, who decides what happens then? In this age of litigation no individual wants to place themselves in charge of a group and be held responsible for everyone else’s conduct and safety.
With the huge upsurge in Cycling Ireland membership, most now have licences in these motley crew groups so perhaps this is an issue that Cycling Ireland could give a little guidance on. The guidelines are there for races and organised events, but the issue of large training groups seems to fall between the cracks.