Riding a bike in a group

Wednesday 14 Oct 2020

Cycling is an exciting sport that can be practiced alone… or shared with other enthusiasts. However, if you are not familiar with riding in a group, there are several rules you should know for your safety and that of your group. Want to know more? Don’t miss the rest of this article!

Riding in a peloton or solo?

One of the main advantages of cycling evokes its configuration and conditions: every Swiss man or woman with a bike can discover the benefits of this wonderful sport at his or her own pace.

What’s more, the landscapes offered by our Geneva region are real assets and encourage many neophytes to take the plunge. In this respect, several routes recommended on the Pro-velo-geneve.ch website will not fail to satisfy you.

If cycling is an individual discipline, sharing between enthusiasts offers other advantages:

– Riding in a group is ideal to “break the solitude” of your outings (at least, if you prefer group activities in general)
– Riding in a group is a great way to outdo the performance of your “cycling friends
– Riding in a group allows you to learn tips and methods from other riders

As you can see, riding in a group has many advantages. However, several safety instructions must be applied at all times. Indeed, the presence of a group on a road can disturb the usual traffic and sometimes force motorists to adopt certain behaviors. Nevertheless, with or without an engine, the rules of road safety remain the same. Note, however, the presence of Article 43 of the Federal Law on Road Traffic:

“Drivers of cycles will not ride next to other cycles. However, provided that this does not hinder other road users, two people may ride side by side:

a. When riding in formation with more than ten cycles.
b. When the traffic of cycles is dense.
c. On bike paths and bike trails marked with signs on secondary roads.
d. In encounter zones.”

We invite you to visit Fedlex.adminch.ch to learn more and get properly informed with articles dedicated to bicycle traffic.

Organization is the key word

Unsurprisingly, organization is key to ensuring the safety of a peloton. So, before you start the first few miles of your ride, a tune-up with your group will be essential to answer several questions:

Who will be the leader of the ride?
What will be the route to follow?
Are there any particularities to consider during this outing (construction, material problems…)?
Are there any novices in the group?

The more informed you and your group are, the more efficient the organization of your group will be. In addition to specific areas, take care to avoid riding side-by-side in a pack. Moreover, never neglect a sufficient safety distance from the other riders to avoid certain risks. Indeed, a simple brake stroke could sometimes cause serious consequences… This then brings us to another essential characteristic during your group rides: communication!

Communicating well with your peloton

A tight-knit group is first and foremost a group that is able to react according to its configuration… So to communicate and quickly consider each other’s exclamations/signals.

For your safety and that of your group, it is strongly recommended to speak out loud, but also to alert the other participants by raising your arm. While this visual signal will not be effective for the cyclists in front of you, it will be ideal for others.

In case of a flat tire, a chain break, a red light or an immediate danger, don’t deprive yourself of these signals and make the whole group as safe as possible!