In partnership with British Cycling the Bike Hub levy fund has produced "Side by side", a video which explains how riding two abreast is recommended in the Highway Code. This is the companion video to "Space", which was released earlier in the week and explains how to safely overtake cyclists. Both videos are fronted by British Cycling's policy advisor Chris Boardman, and also star driving instructor Blaine Walsh. Space went online on Monday and has already had 73,216 views on Vimeo and 117,555 views on YouTube.
In Side by side, Walsh said: “A typical complaint from motorists, and even from some of my fellow driving instructors, is that cyclists ride two abreast. Well, in the Highway Code they are allowed to.”
Boardman agrees: “Blaine’s right. According to rule 66 in the Highway Code cyclists are advised to “never ride more than two abreast. So, three’s out but riding side by side is fine.”
Boardman then uses a motoring analogy to press home the argument: “Think of it like this. In your car you have the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, that makes a car suitable for two people to travel next to each other. Cyclists riding next to each other are doing the same thing, maybe chatting just like you would do in a car."
However, the video doesn't shy away from the parts of rule 66 which cyclists don't like. Boardman said: “Rule 66 adds that cyclists should “ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends” but it doesn’t define how narrow or how busy or how curved the bend is supposed to be.
Using aerial footage of a car overtaking a group of eight cyclists, the video shows how it's easier and safer for motorists to overtake two by two riders compared to those strung out in a long line.
Boardman said: “It’s often quicker for a motorist to overtake a group of side by side riders. This group of eight riders takes up maybe ten metres of roadspace, and that allows for a quick overtake. Now look at the length of eight riders riding in single file. That’s about twenty metres which means spending more time on the other side of the road, which is less safe for the overtaking motorist."