Overtaking cyclists

Travelling home yesterday came upon several groups of cyclists. Club by the look of things. The first 2 groups where all in pairs, but in single file. Allowing for easy over take and allowing me to give plenty of room (other side of white line) The final group where riding 4 abreast out to the white line and appeared to have no intention intention of making room. They knew I was there as cyclist on outside, right by white line was riding one handed talking to those on his left and kept looking back. If I were to overtake there was no possibility of giving 1.5m even by going on the other side of the white line.

Any one know what should be done ?

I turned off and went another way

1 Like

Sadly, things have become very complicated now they have changed the Highway Code.
It was never really a problem before perhaps.
You WILL get the few that will annoy other road users on purpose.
Likewise, they like to have the Go Pro stuck on the helmet, (some will ask which one of course!).
My advice, is to treat these like a car, (i.e on the other side of the road) and overtake when safe to do so.
Why? you ask.
Check out recent media of cyclists reporting car users because “They Can”.
You just can’t be expected to follow for ages and therefore cause unnecessary congestion because of them.
There are certain offences applicable to cyclists just as much as other vehicle users.
I speak from experience both in age and indeed profession when out on the roads.
Most important nowadays get a dash cam!
All the best.


And people being people, reactions will also vary if in an Mx5 convoy.
Strength in numbers, countering witnesses, etc etc.
Something I’ve noticed from time to time over the years.
If you are on your own, you are blame bait… and on your own.
Not so sure about the “right” to create a road block 4 abreast.
I’ll let others better informed come back on that but there’s a whiff about it.
Pretty sure the new rules OK 2, but specifically not 4 so frankly if they were being tossers, and you filmed it, I’d have them exposed and reported. So saying, tracing them would be more difficult, and the Police are thin enough spread as is.


As I am a road cyclist and have raced and time trialed here and in Europe, I can honestly say that, in my opinion, cycling in a Peloton (group) has become more annoying to motorists in Britain since the first lockdown.
I do drive past cyclists with the top down, who are 3 and 4 abreast and ask them to ‘single out’, or ride in single file. Sometimes it works and we have a 5 second chat while passing and sometimes it doesn’t…
If they are in the zone, head down and a*se up, they become oblivious to anything other than reading the peloton and hanging in there.
I know as I have done it and have also apologised profusely to the motorists I have offended over the years. This isn’t an excuse for cyclists, but just a heads up on how they get distracted from other road users.
I do try and educate them still when I’m out riding, so hopefully it will eventually filter through again, as they are not the sole users of public highways.


Hang back and wait until there’s a sufficiently wide gap to overtake. Good manners would suggest they should pull in to let you overtake. As a cyclist who occasionally rides in a group, that’s what we do. I give way to cars when I’m cycling on my own too. It’s just being considerate.


I’ve learnt to be patient, missus always isn’t sitting beside me though, she says they are the devil’s machinery. It’s only because she fell off one into a thorn hedge, never got back on one, ever.

I tried to pass one the other day in the Peak District, couldn’t catch up with the blighter, going downhill and around the twistys better than me.


What a refreshing change to see a debate on this topic not immediately descend into entrenched shouty insults on both sides….still time I ‘spose!

It says something about this community.


Firstly, yes great to see a good debate and no insults being thrown.
Also I’m not here to point fingers or comment on how all of us road users behave and certainly don’t want to get into arguments
I am just asking a question

It was in my eyes a simple question (but with hindsight probably doesn’t have a simple answer)how should I proceed in the scenario as described, bearing in mind that I understand it that 1.5m needs to be given as a minimum

Let me add a few other things into the mix.

We are a family of horse owners and as such are very aware of being on the road from both sides . We know what it’s like to be passed closely whilst on a horse.
We regularly tow trailers too so know how holding up traffic can cause issues.
Carriages are also driven, which adds a whole new aspect to it all
This I believe gives us an insight into how a cyclist may feel, being shouted at, beeped, revved at , insulted etc
Because of this I always pass with the thought that the cyclist is a car and always wait for a stretch with good visibility and where I can cross the white line . If single track I will follow until either we get to a ‘white line’ stretch or am allowed to pass ( this is the most common scenario where we live)

My question comes from what should I do when coming up to a group of cyclists, riding out to the white line. with no apparent intention to move in and riding around 5-10 miles an hour. I cannot pass and give a 1.5m or more gap. If it where a car , tractor, etc they are all overtaken at this point as it is one of the few straights with good visibility and at national speed limit on this particular piece of road.
I can continue to follow, but there is nowhere on this road that will give me 1.5m or more to pass if the rider is out to the white. Hence I went another route

Asking the cyclists, are you happy to be over taken if the over taker is over the white line whilst riding 4 abreast without the 1.5m clearance - genuine question as I am really unsure how to react to these now more common circumstances (I wasn’t comfortable to)
If we were trailering, riding or driving a carriage, we would slow, be happy to be passed and carry on as it provides one of the few passing areas


I can’t give any answers, just pose more questions…

If a car is going along a road, and meets a group of cyclists going the other way; if the cylists do not pull in to the side of the road, there is often far less than a 1.5m gap simply due to the width of the road.

If the 1.5m gap provides protection - then do we think that they do not need protection from oncoming vehicles as much as from overtaking vehicles.

I recently met a couple riding towards me alongside each other on a narrow road, I slowed and ran up the bank a little to get past them, but got the impression from the mouthing and body language that the rider on the outside expected me to stop, park up and have a sandwich or something while they meandered passed.

My opinion is common sense has to apply; but there appears to be a growing number of ‘entitled’ cyclists who are determined to force thier interpretation of the law on other road users. The problem with this is that they have the crumple zone and protection of a layer of nylon, and no matter if they are in the right in the eyes of the law, they are the ones who will leave loved ones behind.

I used to teach advanced motorcycling, and came a across a large number of riders who seemed to be willing to have an accident as long as they were “in the right”. For example, not looking for oncoming traffic at traffic lights when they had a green light. They ofen were genuinely surprised when I suggested they kept a look out for a drunk jumping the lights. Suggesting that having “I was in the right” engraved on their grave stone wouldn’t be much help to them often made them change thier approach.


I have to say I am more concerned when cars overtake a single cycleist leaving loads of room being well over the white line but do it when I am coming from the opposite direction forcing me to brake and or run the risk of hitting the kerb. Leaving plenty of room is the right thing to do but please wait till there is no oncoming traffic.


Here’s the rub lads, I have come across several groups of cyclists Demonstrating the new “ Rights “ given to them, Three abreast sometimes but deliberately going two abreast when it was unnecessary in narrow lanes, Traffic piling up behind them ! The thing is this The vehicles have to change down through several gears and then pass the cyclists. Before changing up again once past the cyclists ! Problem is that the cyclists then get a lungful of fumes from the accelerating car ! I leave you to imagine what goes down the lungs when a Diesel vehicle accelerates past cyclists, Then imagine this happening a hundred times or more as the cyclists now ride two or three abreast deliberately to slow the vehicles down…! Surely the equivalent of smoking a hundred fags every mile…. The biggest problem is. The fumes are invisible… but are there continuously especially to exposed cyclists …just my opinion here …. Cyclists should allow cars to get past in top gear whilst the car is on limited throttle. And stop deliberately holding them back in ‘low gear’ by riding two abreast in narrow lanes, For it is the cyclist who will breath in the toxic cancer causing fumes that are generated by the slow moving vehicles ….

The “Highway Codes” are RULES and not LAW.
Yes, some run in parallel with each other.
I still believe we have an offence of Dangerous, Careless or Inconsiderate Cycling.
Because not all cyclists behave as they should.
Indeed not all motor vehicle drivers behave as they should either!
Of course the codes are written for best practice and indeed the safety of all road users (most of the time).
Therefore, there will always be an “interpretation” of the specific rule in question.
Sound logic must prevail in all cases.
Giving a clearance of 1.5 metres (up to 30 mph) would in some cases be just impossible, even though the rule states you MUST give a clearance of at least 1.5 metres.
Are we going out on the roads with a tape measure/measuring instrument to make sure we all comply?
Of course not, I would argue it’s just impossible.
What one individual would assess as 1.5 metres would in my opinion perhaps be quite different with various others when driving along.
It’s all about points to prove and interpretation of the law.
As in court cases where indeed the defence and prosecution can put a point of view, give opinions on specifics and generally argue the points.
In an ideal world the cyclists and other road users will have consideration for each other and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
Sadly, nowadays that is not always the case as we all know.
Hence perhaps why a dash cam will always assist for all concerned and certainly to protect you as an individual.


No groups of cyclists should be doing 5-10mph on a busy road unless they are going up a steep hill.

As an avid cyclist of many years I would say that riding in pairs is fine if you are a group of say 20 and you are maintaining 20mph+ on flats, this should allow cars enough space to overtake when the other lane is clear and allow them to maintain enough momentum… safety all round for everyone. There will be occasion when the lead riders in a column have to ‘roll off’ to the back and take a rest but this should really only be done when the road behind is clear.

I kind of get that you may get people 3 abreast having a chat down a quiet country lane with good visibility but they should tuck in when cars are spotted, again for everyones safety.

Playing chicken with cars is not going to end well and ultimately its just about respect for each other, same as with horses.

1 Like

I totally agree with this point, but there are instances when cyclists are not aware that other road users are behind them.
Electric cars behind you are in ‘Stealth Mode’ when you’re on a bike and heading into the wind at 20 plus mph.
Only constant awareness, tolerance and manners by all road users will keep us all safe.

I think it we are always going to come across in considerate people, be they on a bike, in a car or whatever.

In my circumstance if it was a car I would have happily passed. As it was a cyclist I was concerned that I couldn’t keep the 1.5m distance and is videos could I face prosecution.
If a cyclist is at the white line, single or abreast, I’m still not sure if it’s safe to overtake ‘legally’ whether I deem it safe or not if you can’t give the required clearance.
From what I’ve seen I will continue to follow, or try and find an alternate route or even park up much as I would do if I came across aggressive motorist.

Thanks for all the replies, certainly some food for thought
Just trying to understand how the ‘new’ rules impact something I’ve been doing safely and considerately for years (well in my eyes)

It’s a sad fact that the recent change has made dealing with cyclists a right pain in the buttocks!
and to give credit where it’s due many members predicted this, tho I did not as I was more concerned about the junction crossing thing!

I used to be a cyclist as I’m sure were many other members, i used to absolutely loath drivers sitting behind me and so I would move over and let them pass, sadly this view does not seem to be shared by those lycra-clad exercise mad road runner types that are often seen either on their own or in club groups!!

kids on bikes and most adults will move out of your way but these enthusiast types are a different animal

moving on a little
i know that the road tax argument rings hollow for many people but I am of the opinion (which I am entitled to have) that motor vehicles should have right of way over push bikes and I feel that not only because I pay road tax but also because of safety reasons AND environmental reasons (lets face it while you dwardle along behind cyclists you are burning fuel and making pollution that wouldn’t have otherwise been made had you preceeded normally)

Sounds like the road belongs to you Thibor. I would suggest that most cyclists are also road tax payers and are actually doing less damage travelling by bike than by car (an opinion i am also entitled to have)…


But you don’t pay road tax to use the roads, you pay it for pollution produced, and by your reasoning anyone who pays more has more rights than someone who has payed less, doesn’t seem very logical to me.


I think you will find it’s called Vehicle Excise Duty, at least by the DVLA.


It is payed on how much pollution a vehicle produces, it doesn’t matter what it’s called.