The chairman of Darlington Cycling Club has complained of “two complete planks” who he says ‘held up traffic’ by riding two abreast on the way into Yarm yesterday. The comments come as the government consults on a proposed revision to the Highway Code which would tell cyclists they should “ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake.”
Writing on the Darlington Cycling Club Facebook forum, Mike Drake said: “We came across these two complete planks riding into Yarm today. They were two abreast, well before Tesco’s roundabout and all the way to the traffic lights.
“I pointed out to them at the traffic lights that they weren’t doing the cause of cyclists any good, to be told the Highway Code tells them to ride like that.
“Read again mate, it applies in certain situations and riding the busy road into Yarm isn’t one of them.”
The current wording of Rule 66 of the Highway Code says that while cycling, “You should … never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.”
While some club members expressed support for Drake’s comments, the majority were critical. Several people said they tended to ride two abreast on that stretch to deter drivers from passing as they felt the road was too narrow for safe overtaking.
“Perhaps the video doesn’t show the full picture, as I didn’t start recording it as soon as we came across them,” said Drake.
“We came across them riding two abreast between the Urlay Nook and Tesco roundabout and I just assumed they would go into single file after the roundabout, but they maintained their position all the way to the lights.
“You can see the volume of traffic going the other way and it was similar going into Yarm, albeit backed up behind these two.
“I’m a big fan of riding two abreast, where it is practical and safe, but don’t feel I have the right to hold up traffic because I think the [Highway Code] says so – which it doesn’t.”
He added: “The point I was making is that the image of cycling will not be enhanced by taking this approach. The [Highway Code] does also say you should not hold up a long queue of traffic.”
The Government this week launched a consultation on revisions to the Highway Code with Cycling UK asking cyclists to support 10 changes it feels will improve safety.
One potential update is to the wording of Rule 66.
The proposed new wording – which could potentially spell the death of the chain gang – would say, “You should … ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast.”