Single file or Double with large group of riders

Another first for MIT.  Pulled over by the RCMP who had directed us to ride single file instead of the usual double paceline we usually run with larger groups.

Here is what I found in the Highways Traffic act.  I italized the wording that effects us.

DIVISION IV

BICYCLES, POWER-ASSISTED BICYCLES AND RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT

General rules: bicycles and power-assisted bicycles

145(1)      Except as otherwise provided in subsections (5) and (6), a person operating a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility has the same rights and duties as a person driving a motor vehicle on a highway and shall obey all signs and traffic control devices, and all directions of a peace officer.

Minimum operator age: power-assisted bicycles

145(2)      No person shall operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility unless he or she is 14 years of age or older.

Owner must not allow underage operator

145(3)      The owner of a power-assisted bicycle shall not allow a person under the age of 14 years to operate it.

Helmet required: power-assisted bicycles

145(4)      No person shall ride on or operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility unless he or she is wearing a properly fitted and fastened protective helmet.

Operation next to curb

145(5)      A person operating a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway shall operate it

(a) as closely as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, unless the highway is designated for traffic in one direction and has three or more traffic lanes; or

(b) as closely as practicable to the right- or left-hand edge or curb of the roadway, if the highway is designated for traffic in one direction and has three or more traffic lanes.

Operation in single file

145(6)      No person shall operate a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway beside a moped, mobility vehicle, bicycle or power-assisted bicycle that is operating in the same traffic lane.

Exception to subsections (5) and (6)

145(7)      Subsections (5) and (6) do not apply when the person is

(a) making or attempting to make a turn on the highway; or

(b) overtaking or passing a moped, mobility vehicle, bicycle or power-assisted bicycle.

So now the question is are we breaking the law by riding a double paceline with more than 8 riders?  I think it is much safer to be in one large group than spread out over a quarter mile long single file and every vehicle passing us and potentially forceing us off the road.

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About bigjac

Just a middle-aged man whose blood pressure and cholesterol were out of wack and needed a tuneup, bad. Then I rekindled my love for riding a bike -- just the simple act of turning the cranks. What happened next is I met a lot of neat people who are as nuts as I am. Ride on.

3 thoughts on “Single file or Double with large group of riders

  1. I certainly feel safer when we have the double pace line and a good sized peloton like today (i.e. 2 x 8). However, there is a point to be made that, on a busy highway like the 206, the risk of an incident with oncoming traffic by slowly excelerating vehicles that pass us is greater. One possible way to mitigate this risk would be to break-up into two small pelotons (i.e 2 x 4) and leave reasonable distance between the two goups for passing traffic. Although, I have a feeling that wouldn’t have satisfied the RCMP anyways.

    Congrats to our debating team! I say we vote them spokes persons for all future encounters with law enforcement!

  2. Thanks to the cooler heads that prevailed. Somebody’s adrenalin was running a little high and he was obviously reaching for his tire pump to teach a lesson (oh, right he’s retired now, he doesn’t have to teach anymore!).
    I can’t believe they would hassle bicyclists on a beautiful day out for a ride. So much for (bicycle) Friendly Manitoba!

  3. We can get around the “law” by riding a constantly roatating pace line like we attempted today. This way we would constantly be passing the rider on the left or right as stated in section 145(7)b.
    Whatever, if the RCMP can’t find anything better to do with there time than give us a hard time so be it. I say we have to look out for ourselves.
    Perhaps we need to evaluate each road differently as we are riding.

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