Is there safety in numbers ?


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.


5 thoughts on “Is there safety in numbers ?

  • December 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    A valid point Barry considering a local club were stopped by the guards recently on a Sunday spin. Clubs from both cycling and triathlon need to sort it. I was overtaken by a big group of roadies last summer when coming back from an mtb spin. It was like being over taken by a scary flexible car and trailer!

  • December 9, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    The Gardai are becoming more aware for sure Colm as they are getting more calls from frustrated motorists. Have to say I prefer them to make the call than to take crazy chances passing on blind bends.

  • December 10, 2013 at 8:22 am

    If you are talking individuals, whether walking or cycling then the answer has to be assertive walking and assertive cycling. But in terms of big groups, we are luckier here in Spain as the roads are often wide, no narrow winding Irish or British roads. But I think the biggest club runs are normally around 20 or so, and the majority of people go out in twos and threes. Club runs tend to be at weekends, sometimes Saturday, but mostly Sunday and usually early before motorists are on the road 😀

  • December 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    When riding at the Giro d Ìtalia , in past years , i have joined groups led by Francesco Moser , Gianni Motta & Maurizio Fondriest . These groups are Clients of Banko M. , brought together as a way of PR , thus Gianni will make no effort to ask those wandering all over the road , to show respect to following traffic . I have quit the group when riding out of san Sepulcro this year , after asking ” English Speaking members ” to advise their colleagues to show more respect and then being told it was ” Sunday “! More traffic was coming towards us on the windy road , than being held up , as we went up a continuing gradient .

    Even in Italy , where Traffic is more respectful to Cyclists , it seems there are some needing a “kick in the head ” , to think of others . On the other side of the coin , Austria dictates single file , and occasionally you can encounter ” birks ” that will go out of their way to harass on empty roads, those riding in 2 files .

    Seems @iamspec. is waving a white flag due to Social Media intervention ?

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