Group rides are awesome. There’s no other way to say, really. The camaraderie, the competition, and the ability to push individual cycling limits further are just some of the appeals of pack riding. As cyclists, there’s a certain fire that ignites when we cycle in a team. Cycling is a community by nature and therefore connects people. These are all great things, pack rides encourage more people to go and they motivate people to keep going. It’s easy to see the appeal from a cyclist’s perspective, the motorists, on the other hand, have a drastically different opinion about group rides. Vehicles see cycling groups as an attempt to “take over” the roads. They hate this and as they travel along State Road A1A, they grow angry and frustrated, and nothing good comes from those types of emotions on Florida’s roadways.
Co-existing is the key to safety when it comes to pack rides and motorists. Sorry, drivers, but cyclists are here to stay and according to recent projections the number will only grow over the next several years. So, what’s the solution? How can motorists and cyclists co-exist? Particularly, how can pack riders safely share the roads with drivers on narrow stretches of roads? The answer involves one critical element: education. Every safety initiative must begin with a solid understanding of the problem and the resolution. Sharing the roadways safely will be achieved with a new knowledge of the law (for both cyclists and motorists), an effort to co-exist, and help from law enforcement officers.
Over the next couple of months, police officers from a number of agencies will be on the lookout for both riders and drivers who are not following the law. With coordination from the South Florida Safe Roads Task Force, the initiative hopes to reduce the number of injuries and accidents that come from a misunderstanding of the laws from both sides of the fence. Law enforcement officers’ educational effort will focus on the following:
- Cyclists cannot be more than two abreast
- Motorists must give riders no less than three feet of clearance
If both parties are able to adhere to these laws, the roads will be a much safer place to be, especially for those traveling along A1A. With a little education and a lot of understanding, motorists and cyclists will be able to resolve with conflict and get along with one another on the roads.
Do you prefer to ride in groups? Do you think that an increase in education and understanding amongst riders and drivers will help to deter accidents? Please share your opinions below.