Ronald Rust of Montgomery County has called on the county police to crackdown on cyclists riding two abreast.
"They basically get in something that looks like the Tour de France peloton and basically take up the right side of the road," said Rust, 59, of Bethesda.
Because of the complaint, officers assigned to the area were asked to watch for violations throughout the summer, spokeswoman Officer Amy Daum said. Riding more than two abreast is punishable by a $90 fine. Neither county nor state police have a record of how many such citations were issued to cyclists last year.
The alternative is to ride in a line, but that has it's own problems
Riding in a compact group is way that cyclists feel safer and can go faster, Cochrane said. Groups of cyclists riding several abreast are easier to pass than a long line of single-file riders.
Cochrane said he doesn't see the difference between one cyclists riding in the road or three of them. Either way, a car will need to carefully pass them on the left when there is no oncoming traffic.
Rust however sees it differently
for Rust, a wider a group makes it more likely that the driver could accidentally sideswipe a bike when passing, or get into a head-on collision with another vehicle.
How exactly is that? If you pass safely, with enough room to your right and enough clear space in the other lane, there shouldn't be any greater risk. One might need to wait longer, but managing the risk is 100% in the driver's control.
"The problem is you can't pass the pack the way it is," Rust said. "Trying to pass the pack is a very dangerous thing."
And there it is. He can't pass them.
Now it's true that riding two and three abreast is illegal, but Rust doesn't really want all of these cyclists riding in a long single file group in the middle of the lane, does he? That will be impossible to pass. I've never liked that law, two bikes riding side by side are no wider than a car, but it is still the law.
There is another solution besides cracking down on compliance with a somewhat law designed to get cyclists out of the way.
MacArthur Boulevard is scheduled to get wider shoulders and an 8-foot-wide shared-use hiker/biker path along a 7.3 mile stretch from Old Angler's Inn in Potomac to the Washington, D.C., border. A 2.6 mile segment from Oberlin Avenue to the Interstate 495 underpass costing $8.7 million should break ground this year.
Rust's letter complaining about a pack of bicyclists "monopolizing an entire lane of the road" on MacArthur Boulevard and surrounding roads and its written response from Montgomery County police Chief J. Thomas Manger have been circulating through the bicycling community.
I don't think I've seen this letter, but yes riding or driving in a lane is the same as monopolizing, in that only you can use the part you're in at that time. That's how roads work.