Etiquette – Road

Obviously, the highway code provides much useful information about cycling on the road. But when riding as a member of a group there are other things to be aware of. Some are safety-related and some encourage good relationships with other road-users.

  • Bring a spare tube, tyre levers and a pump / inflator in case of puncture.
  • Carry a mobile phone or money to enable you to get home in case of mechanical failure or emergency.
  • Wear, or carry, appropriate clothing for the likely conditions.
  • Bring food and drink appropriate for the planned ride.
  • Fit mudguards when the weather is wet or the road conditions likely to be muddy. They will protect you, other riders, and café seats from getting too wet and dirty.  You will be asked to ride at the back of the group if you are not using mudguards.
  • Bring lights when the weather conditions or time of day require it. Avoid using a rear light on flashing mode unless you are at the rear of the group.
  • Support and respect the ride leader. Please volunteer if you would like to act as a ride leader on other occasions.
  • Inform the ride leader if you wish to stop or to leave the ride.
  • Learn the standard hand signals and calls used (see below). Pass the information through the group.
  • Know Rule 66 from the Highway Code: “Never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”. The group will need to judge whether the road is sufficiently narrow or busy to necessitate riding single file.
  • When riding two-abreast, avoid ‘half-wheeling’ and ride directly alongside the person next to you.
  • When ‘holding a wheel’ of the rider in front, avoid overlapping your front wheel with their rear wheel as this can lead to accidents. Increase the gap between you and the rider in front when descending, or when conditions are slippery.
  • Avoid sudden movements or harsh braking.
  • If you are comfortable with the pace, take your turn on the front of the group. Stay alert to riders behind you and ease off if gaps start to appear.
  • When the group size is large, break into two or more groups when cars behind are waiting to overtake. Don’t hold up vehicles for a prolonged period of time; instead pull over to allow them to pass safely.
  • If you feel the need to clear your nose, wait until you are at the back of the group or well clear of other riders.
  • Greet other cyclists you meet on the road.
  • Thank motorists who wait for the group. Avoid responding to motorists who display agitation or aggressive behaviour.
  • Helmets must be worn at all times on MCS club rides.
  • Carry your membership card on MCS club rides in case the emergency details are needed.
  • In order to comply with the terms of our insurance, and as a courtesy to other club members, please remember to join the club after a maximum of two rides as a guest.

Hand signals

  • Pointing down to the left (or right), sometimes with a shake of the hand, indicates a hazard such as a pothole.
  • A bent left arm behind the back, while pointing right, indicates the need to pull out to avoid hazards such as parked cars or pedestrians in the road.
  • A horizontal straight arm pointing left (or right) indicates that the cyclist in front is turning left (or right).
  • A straight right arm moving up and down indicates that the cyclist in front is slowing down.

Calls

  • Car back: Car approaching from behind
  • Car front: Car approaching from the front
  • Hole: Pothole (often accompanied by the hand signal)
  • Gravel: Loose stones in the road
  • Clear: Tells riders behind that it is safe to pull out at a junction (but always look yourself)
  • Easy: Reduce the pace to allow other riders to catch up

Other useful information