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Poor cycling etiquette and the consequences that affect us all.

Not specific to the TOLH context but there is an apparent lack of awareness on the part of auto drivers and motorcyclists in general that:

(1) Cyclists have a right to be on the road;

(2) The law specifically permits cyclists to ride two abreast so long as they do not unreasonably obstruct the flow of traffic; it does NOT require that cyclists ride in single file at all times.

(3) A cyclist overtaking another slower cyclist does have the right to pass when safety allows;

(4) The law does not require cyclists to ride to the right of the white painted "fog line"; the "fog line" is not even mentioned in laws or regulations applicable to cyclists.

(5) Cyclists may take as much of the lane as necessary (in their sole judgment) for safety when pavement conditions, parked cars, etc., so require;

(6) The law DOES require that cars pass no closer than three fee to a cyclist, but does permit the passing of cyclists to the left of a double yellow center line when safe; this would seemingly exclude passing on sharp curves or hillcrests as we all know happens far too often.

Three times recently (once while climbing past Infinity Hall during the TOLH) while passing other cyclists and taking no more of the lane than was necessary, I have had drivers pull alongside--obviously not being obstructed in any way--to chide me in various uncivilized terms for doing so. On the one occasion when I attempted to engage the driver, who was on a motorcycle, in a discussion of the law, he sped off (reaching a speed well in excess of the posted limit!) before I could complete my first sentence.

I wish the law also provided penalties for drivers who blare their horns, shout unintelligible obscenities, and otherwise harass cyclists. Maybe my dreams. Echoing Randy's comments and some others, it would be nice if we lived in a kinder, gentler and more considerate world.

p.s. Doug -- You beat me to it; I was writing while you were posting.

Having the right to do something doesn't necessarily mean one needs to always exercise that right.

It should be enough that the organizers of a ride like the Tour have asked riders to stay in single file so as to preserve good relations with the municipalities we travel through. Obstinately riding 4 and 5 abreast and refusing to pull over for motor vehicle traffic whether or not one feels they have the right to do so serves to reinforce motorists' poor opinion of bicyclists, puts at risk our ability to continue to produce the Tour, and puts at risk our ability to raise funds for our very worthy beneficiary.

In reply to mnpdc

True, but then riding more than two abreast is not permitted by law in any event, nor is unreasonably obstructing motor traffic. So bad on those who do. And the rest of us should not be shy about telling them so. And even when riding single file, there will always be a need to pass, or to get off the front of a pace line after a pull.

A suggestion for next year: How about more staggering of the starts: 7:00 for 100's, 7:30 for 75's, 7:45 for 55's, and 8:00 for others. This would, I should think, help alleviate some of the logjam heading out of town just after the 8:00 start, and might reduce the number of complaints.

p.s. Just for the record, I rode the TOLH 75 solo, moving left only to pass. And I left no trash on the route, nor did I see anyone else do so.

In reply to mnpdc

There are sections of roads where it's not safe for motorists to pass cyclists even when cyclists are riding single file. Even when cyclists are riding single file, motorists need to be patient and pass when it's safe to pass. Motorists often underestimate the distance required to pass a group of a dozen or more cyclists riding single file.

I believe that if the Tour was a staggered start ride, that the groups of cyclists would be smaller and more dispersed on the roads, making it safer, easier and less inconvenient for motorists to pass the cyclists.

Actually staggered starts, or specifying a cut-off time for departures depending on the different routes are things we're weighing. Any other advice is gladly accepted!

And thanks to everyone for their support of the Tour.

We'll be back August 6, 2017!

Folks I have no doubt that any one of the offending riders from last Sunday could also vigorously recite and opine on the CT road laws as they apply to cyclists, and they probably wouldn't have a flipping clue or care of the controversies that their actions have caused. It's amazing to me how this same old discussion ALWAYS degrades to a pissing contest on who has a better interpretation of the rules of the road.

Time to get off our high saddles here and pay attention to what each and every one of us is doing on the road.

Pay attention to how our actions can be perceived by the armored division of bike haters out there.

Pay attention to the effect our actions can have on ourselves and those around us, or consider the next cyclist that the motorist you just angered will encounter.

We have all been on the learning curve (a few of us a little longer than others). We have all made bonehead moves on the road, intentional or not. It's time to stop acting like entitled children and be more self aware. If someone points out a bonehead move on your part, don't justify it, own it and correct your behavior. As several people have pointed out, you may think you are in the right but that is a cold comfort if they are pulling you out of somebody's front grill.

John said it best. If you want to be respected on the road then show respect. Plain and simple.

In reply to pcunningham

Pat & John both nailed it!

Pay attention to the person you see when you look in the mirror.

In reply to TomWing

> Pat & John both nailed it! > > Pay attention to the person you see when you look in the mirror.

I wholeheartedly agree....Pat and John DID nail it !

Part of the problem of large groups at the ToLH may be reduced by not having a mass start of all riders, and say that 100 mile riders should start between 7 o'clock and 7:30, 75 between 7:30 and 8:00, etc, or staging riders and letting 20 or so start every 5 minutes to let things spread out more. Having a mass start only encourages some of the large packs and racing mentality. Even if riders are generally trying to ride in a legal and responsible manner, drivers are going to perceive large packs as riding 4 or 5 abreast and taking over the road.

In reply to Brent

That is certainly true for the first few miles but the riders tend to spread out pretty quickly after that. I have participated in this ride from the front of group, from a SAG van and this year several minutes behind the 7AM start. From all of those perspectives I have found that things tend to spread way out by the time you hit the climbs on 341. This is well before the Warren stretch where the complaints originated. The problem is that smaller groups still bunch up well into the ride. I have witnessed this dozens of times over the years. It used to be particularly bad on Rt 7 out of Kent, one of the reasons I was happy we were able to re-route through Brick Schoolhouse Rd, the option that is now closed to us.

I agree that the mass start should go away as the groups have grown in size from the early days of the Tour. I think the committee should discuss a register and go option. I also think riders should respect the requests of the Tour committee to obey the law and ride single file when the road is narrow. If people continue to ignore that this ride will cease to exist and the people who the Center for Cancer Care helps with the funds raised will be the ones who lose.