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New Rules?(19 posts)

New Rules?Gianni
Aug 22, 2002 5:57 AM
I have recently moved from a nearly perfect cycling community with a high ratio of pro racers and generally experienced riders to a large metropolitan area with lots of riders, but no real cohesion or organization.
I don't know anyone out here, but I've been doing the club rides of a certain large bike store in the area, which nearly everyone on the ride has on the store's uniform. They're all classic crappy in-town rides, dangerous and sloppy (rounding corners on the wrong side of the road, running ALL stop signs, etc.) A couple of loud mouth know it alls on the ride, as you'd expect.
I've tried to make the best of it, until tonight. I passed a small group on the right (I had 3+ feet) on a straight section of a rather curvy road. Next thing I know, a guy is screaming at me and challenging me. I drop him and catch the group I was chasing. At the next light (they stop for lights), the guy caught me and said, "don't be surprised if next time you pass on the right, you get decked." Another guy said, "I hope that's the last time you pass me on the right." They proceed to tell everyone how dangerous I was and how little I knew, you know the stuff. I was not aware of any such rule; let me know if I'm wrong.
These guys are probably known as the whiners of the group and everyone probably hates them, but I don't know anybody out there to check with, so I just held it in.
If someone has some wisdom to share, please let me know.

I wouldn't get mad about itTJeanloz
Aug 22, 2002 6:17 AM
Passing on the right is a definite no-no. It's not something I'd get really pissed-off about; but it would be disconcerting to have somebody pass on the right (unless I were hugging the center line or something). Or, it is legitimate to pass on the right from the gutter (i.e. you go off the paved surface and go around on the right), though that is a bit of a slap in the face, it's allowed in the unwritten rule book.

This assumes that the group is reasonably well organized, if they're riding more than three abreast, that constitutes a group, and you can work yourself through the group by any means necessary.
I wouldn't get mad about itGianni
Aug 22, 2002 6:24 AM
I've been racing for nearly ten years and NEVER have I heard of any such rule saying that you shouldn't pass on the right. It's rediculous.
Racing? no,TJeanloz
Aug 22, 2002 6:54 AM
I must have been confused, I thought you were out for a ride. If this were a race, absolutely, pass on the right.

But not out on the road. It's not ridiculous, and here's why. If you pass on the left, the onus is on you, the passer, to judge when a safe moment (with regards to cars coming from behind) to pass is. If you pass on the right, you effectively force the rider out into the lane, which could cause a very dangerous situation. It's just not polite to squeeze somebody into the road- the passer needs to take the risk of going into the lane of traffic.
Aug 22, 2002 6:33 AM
Of course, the law requires passing only on the left.

Passing on the right is frequently done on group rides, though. There are several reasons. First, most people tend to ride closer to the left side of the shoulder, as it's frequently cleaner and smoother there; if so, it makes mroe sense to pass on the right vs. passing out in traffic and risk getting hit. Second, sometimes it's intentional when the group agrees in advance to do it, for various reasons. With a good shoulder, sometimes the line rides to the left and we pull off to the right (this would weigh against passing on the right, though). Third, sometimes there is just tons of room on the shoulder, so why not?

If you do pass on the right, then make sure you say "on your right" as you come around. If they know, I'd say they have no gripe.

In response to this guy, I think it would have been appropriate to say, "then ride to the right so I won't have to!" Technically, he should have been riding as far to the right as practical.

In other words, communicate.

As for threatening to deck you, I'd remind the guy that that could be a felony, and that if he'd care to discuss it intelligently, then you would do so.

Some groups have their safety Nazis. Sometimes I'm the guy. However, it seems that most of them only want to enforce what rules or laws they like, and ignore others, like riding to the right in your case. The guy also probably blew through 10 stops signs, I imagine.

Passing on the right is a protocol no-no, but the guy was stillMXL02
Aug 22, 2002 6:38 AM
an A$$hole for giving you such a hard time. Some people just have to be jerks to make themselves feel important.
I think...Wayne
Aug 22, 2002 6:40 AM
in general passing on the right is a no-no but then again doesn't that assume that the ride is following the rules of the road and staying as far to the right as possible? (which of course would make passing on the right potentially dangerous) But if people are "racing" on the ride and leaving big gaps on the right, then hey why not?
What I would have done is apologized due to my ignorance for not following the established rules of the ride (which seems to always vary somewhat depending on the group) and then pointed out how much of a peckerhead the two "tough" guys were being.
Sounds like a bunch of jerks to me.Sintesi
Aug 22, 2002 6:55 AM
I agree with Doug about communicating you intentions to pass on the right. It's fine with me as long as it's a group and there is reasonable room. If you guys are mostly riding the shoulder it's probably best to be consistent and pass on the left, but come on, a little common sense says it's appropriate to pass on the right in certain situations. It's not ALWAYS dangerous. That's stupid.

I hate people who think they can lecture others like their some sort of baby. I'm sure there are others in your group who think these guys are nincompoops. Make friends with them, establish yourself in the group, close ranks, and then start heckling these goons when they get bent out of shape on the next "new" guy. Turn the tables on them and steal their self righteous authority. Show them up and make then look like the miserable, insipid power freaks they are. Make 'em pay. Put 'em the ground. Kill the . . .

Uh, maybe you ought to find another riding group instead. : )
Similar Story....Scot_Gore
Aug 22, 2002 6:59 AM
While on a organized ride for charity two years ago, the route exited a MUT and turned right onto a county road. A woman about 50 feet in front of me takes the corner wide and proceeds to coast about 4 inches right of the center line. I keep pedaling and take a line about a foot left of the shoulder, so there's a good 3-4 feet between us.

She quite angrily and belligerently begins telling me to not pass her on the right. I pedaled on and put it out of my mind until your post. You should do the same.

In general however the protocaol I understand is, on a ride (not a race) pass on the left AND on a ride (not a race) ride to the right. I'm not a big club rider but I've also never ridden one that didn't get a little racey (no pun) and certains times in the ride.

Sounds like you're stuck with a bad group.Quack
Aug 22, 2002 7:16 AM
On any group training ride made up of experienced cyclists I've been on, no one would dare bitch about being passed on the right when the train starts rolling. If you get stuck behind snail-boy who's left of the shoulder line when the train is ripping past on the left, take the shoulder rather than trying to spin up 10mph and jump into the line. Snail-boy in front should know that he should hold his line whatever that line might be and not change course.

If you actually touched this guy while passing, he might have a point. But if he left enough room to execute the pass safely, no worries. The unfortunate part is that this group seems to have some rules that will cause you great frustration in the future. Kind of reminds me of the movie Footloose.

Ride on Kevin Bacon!
Sounds like you're stuck with a bad group.steve-z
Aug 22, 2002 7:48 AM
I'm rather new and may not be up on all of the rules and protocol, but logic dictates that unless you are pretty damn sure that you are the fastest rider on the road, you best stay to the left so you are easy to pass. If not, you are sure to be passed on the right, no?

PS: You are probably right that this guy is considered an ass by the other folks in the group. If not, find another or form your own.
re: New Rules?synapselapse
Aug 22, 2002 8:28 AM
That's crazy. I agree that sometimes it is polite to let a rider know that you will be passing on the right by saying "On your right", but other than that, I don't think it is anymore 'safe' to pass on the right or the left.

I've been in plenty of double pacelines where the right line of riders kept the pace and moved over to the left after pulling through.

I generally overtake other riders on whatever side there is more room. When the riders you intend to overtake are unfamiliar to you, the best decision is to give them the maximum possible amount of space.

BTW, trackies are accustomed to passing on the right, and have a tendency to pass on the right on the road as well.

My $0.02
Never on the rightNJRoad
Aug 22, 2002 9:30 AM
Maybe it's because I'm not a part of the racer set, but I never pass on the right and I'm certain I would crap my Castelli's if I was passed on the right unless I was on a bikepath or other roadway that is closed to traffic.
Aug 22, 2002 10:12 AM
Picture a shoulder 8 feet wide, and a rider right along the left side of the shoulder, next to the highway, and the rider is going about 12 mph. The highway is very busy. Are you saying you would not pass to the right? You almost have to. Plus, the other rider has not right to complain if riding way to the left.

Aug 22, 2002 10:53 AM
Maybe things are different in NJ. There is no such thing here as an 8 foot wide shoulder and even in that case I would warn the rider that I'm on his left and look in my mirror (that you spoke so highly about in earlier posts) and pass him on the left.

If anything the original poster had a perfect rebuttal to the two jackasses he ran into had he reminded them that had they stayed right there wouldn't be room to pass on the right.

My question is why were they not given any warning that he was passing? I think if more people rode/drove in Europe they would realize how easy a little communication can be.
That's me!bikedodger
Aug 22, 2002 12:28 PM
I sometimes ride to the left on wide shoulders because there is a lot less gravel and debris there. If I know someone is coming up behind me, I move to the right. If they are quiet, I don't know they are passing until they go around on the right. I doesn't bother me any. Of course if I had a mirror, I would always know what was behind me!

I disagree...cabinfever
Aug 22, 2002 10:14 AM
I was on a group ride on back roads with little to no traffic. We were two and three abreast going up some hills. I prefer to begin a hill a bit slower, but maintain a steady speed climbing it the whole way. A couple of guys go by me on the left, but never fully pass me. Then, I maintain my steady pace, and say "on the inside" and keep on chugging. I don't think they minded, and in this case I think it was acceptable.
So what's wrong with just being direct?Spoke Wrench
Aug 22, 2002 10:35 AM
This looks to me like a variation of the "unwanted drafter" thread yesterday. If you're passing another rider in a manner they might not expect, why not just say so? "Hey, I'm over here here on your right." Or even "What side do you want me to pass on?"

I don't understand all of this talk about forcing other riders to crash or "threatened deckings" when a such few polite words would accomplish the same thing.
I'd look for a different ride...Mr Good
Aug 22, 2002 7:15 PM
regardless of what the "rules" are, I wouldn't choose to continue riding with people who are so lacking in social skills. Unless of course you want to use them to motivate yourself---show up and ride them off your wheel to make them look bad!

Personally, I'd rather ride alone than with a bunch of dangerous control freaks. The best rule is the Golden Rule, which your riding "partners" don't seem to know about.