A cyclist has posted a video to YouTube showing an argument he and his riding partner had with an Essex Police motorbike officer who pulled them over and insisted they were breaking the law by not riding in single file.
The footage was uploaded to the video-sharing site yesterday by Paul Clayton, who was told by the officer at one point, "You are causing other road users to drive carelessly."
Even after consulting a copy of the Highway Code, with it taking him several minutes to find the relevant section, the officer insists that the cyclists are endangering themselves and other road users by riding side by side, and takes down their details.
Rule 66 of the Highway Code says that cyclists "should never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends."
In August 2015, British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman teamed up with driving instructor Blaine Walsh for this video produced by cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid which explains that cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast.
Boardman said: "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.”
“Think of it like this,” he continued. “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.”
As we reported at the weekend, Derbyshire Police recently published road safety advice regarding cyclists and aimed at both people on bikes and, primarily, drivers of motor vehicles.
On the subject of cyclists riding two abreast, the force said: "It may come as a surprise to most drivers but cyclists have as much right as drivers to take up the entire lane.
"You will often see cyclists riding side-by-side, and you, as a driver, may think they’re being selfish by doing so.
"But the fact is the cyclist is actually reducing the risk of having an accident; it’s the safest way for them to cycle, particularly if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead."
NB This story was amended at 2.50pm on 15 May 2017 to reflect that the video on YouTube has been made private.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.