Etiquette Rules – or it should

For the first seven years I rode my bicycle in a group, I did not have a single accident.

Then I was in several

1.The first was mostly my fault. I wanted to pass between two riders.  I loudly and clearly shouted out my intentions. When the rider on the left heard me, he inexplicably moved right just as I was easing through. Up and over I went.  Fortunately, I do yoga or stretching most every day, so I was only off my bike for a week. It did take about six weeks, however, to recover from all the aches.

2. The 2nd was a dip in the road while reaching for a water bottle and the 3rd was a rider ahead of me and to my left falling into my path.

After that first accident, however, I paid a lot more attention to how people in our group ride. It was scary.

So, I became the SAFETY MONSTER.

First, I found two or three people in my group who felt as I did. We all started calling out “on your left”, “on your right” (when absolutely necessary), “standing”, “slowing” and “stopping”.

I then started cajoling others to do the same.

When that did not work I literally shouted at them during the ride (I have no shame, here). The embarrassment usually worked.

When one woman passed me on the right I shouted “Mary (not her real name) don’t do that!”.
She replied,  “But, I wasn’t close to you.”
I replied “I don’t care. If pass me on the right within a bike length, tell me you are there.  If I drift to to the right, you will go down for sure as my rear wheel hits your front wheel.”

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A friend of mine did not want to call out “on your left”.
He said “I am watching out”.
I said “Assume I am NOT watching out and the moment you let your guard down I am going to swing out to the left”
He started calling out.

Two people did not single up when we all called out “car back”. After the car passed, I rode up to them and scolded them for contributing to the negative driver attitude about cyclists.
Problem solved, but only for the rest of that ride. (hmm!)

After that, the group rode better.  As riders left and new riders came in, however,  the problems started over again.  Now, I try to work on single issues with individual people with limited success.

As I moved and travelled,  I found the issues to be more or less consistent with all the groups I rode with.  

As the years passed, my ultimate solution was to just ride off the front or, more often off the back.

We are a stubborn group, I guess.