Recently, on the St. Pete Bike Club newsletter, there have been concerns about some riders’ group riding habits. Even our best riders can benefit from this review. The following is just an initial list of things a cyclist should never do when riding with a group. There are other “no no’s”, but these are a start:
- Never pass a slower group, or individual, on the road without announcing your presence. An “on your left” is appropriate to notify others of your approach. And leave a bit of space between you and the passee.
- Never pull up behind another rider to draft without letting them know you are there. Some riders are not good at group riding, and may think ill of you entering their space without permission.
- Never check your phone while riding or, for that matter, your play list. It goes without saying not to text while riding either, especially when in a group.
- Earbuds in both ears: DON’T DO IT! This behavior ranks right up there with running red lights as extremely dangerous. You need to be able to hear what’s going on around you; if you must, use only one ear. (Read more in this article.)
- Always use your gears when stopping in a group. If you stay in a big gear, you impact everyone behind you when you restart.
- Consider using both front and rear lights, day or night. During daytime, riding to the far right side of the road, where we are required to ride, sometimes makes us all but invisible to approaching vehicles. Lights on, especially in strobe setting, can make the difference between a ride on the bike and an emergency transport to the nearest hospital.
- Finally, check your auto insurance policy to make sure you carry uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. Your auto insurance covers you while on your bike if struck by a vehicle, and, especially if it turns out to be a hit and run, that coverage will be the only liability coverage you can look to for your injuries. It also provides coverage if the at-fault driver has insufficient liability coverage for your injuries. Get the highest limit you can afford; this protects you, not the other guy.
As always, be safe out there.