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As part of our route today, we were riding on Brae-side Dandenong Road toward Port Philip Bay here in Melbourne. This particular bit of road is a dual carridgeway but being in the outer-suburbs the speed limit in this particular area was 90 km/h.
In this instance there was no designated bike lane, so we rode on the left lane most of the way. With the speed the vehicles were travelling at, I felt it was best our group travelled two abreast taking up the lane and effectively forcing the drivers to pass us at a wider birth on the right lane. Previous to that, instead of getting in the right lane fully before passing, most had half the vehicle in both lanes during the passing, or simply passing within the same lane. I usually don't have an issue with riding single file on most dual carridgeways, but in this instance with the speed limit being so high, I felt it was justified to ensure our safety.
The other rider felt differently and refused to keep riding two-abreast and we've gotten into a disagreement over the situation. Given our relative inexperience (we're both fairly new riders), what is the acceptable standard? From my understanding it was well within our rights to take up that entire left lane, further more traffic was free-flowing and at a minimum being a Sunday morning. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.
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Some feel that riding single file is better as it causes less disruption to motor vehicles. As its on each of us to be considerate road users I can understand this point of view.
But as you pointed out this does mean that some drivers think that they don't want to come out of their lane and they get a bit close.
Other feel that by doubling up you get the benefit of being a larger obstacle and as a result makes the drivers move into the other lane. This can lead to some interesting levels of aggression from some drivers who see this as a personal attack against them.
Personally if the traffic is light to medium and as a driver I would not be blocked by riders then I would ride 2 up for my own safety. Plus I get to talk to the rider next to me.
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Veni, Vidi, Vespa -- I Came, I Saw, I Rode Home
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Personally, roads above 80km/hr are above my comfort zone for taking a lane and I'd be looking to take a lower speed route if at all possible, or retreating to the breakdown lane.
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trailgumby: Agreed, sharing a 90 km/h with other vehicles is definitely not something I was comfortable doing, however that path was a detour we decided to take, in an area we were relatively unfamiliar with. It started with 3 lanes, with a dedicated bike path - but shortly merged into two lanes with no bike path. As the destination was on a few kms away, we decided to stick with it for that short duration.
This is a google street view of the aforementioned area:
Thanks for the replies thus far guys!
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- The 2nd Womble
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RonK wrote:Only the two of you? I'd be wanting ride single file.
+1 there I'm afraid. Not enough traffic for anyone who decides to have a go to be held accountable, on the err occasion that anyone is accountable.
That being said we always rode two abreast up in an around Townsville, but the roads and drivers were generally a lot more relaxed and the corners were linked up by 1-5km straights most of the time. Confidence does play a large role but driver attitudes have changed as well.
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If there was a breakdown lane then yes I'd use it, but the road was designed by a fool and lacks the option.
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No breakdown lane just equals bad news at 90kmh.
- London Boy
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biker jk wrote:Two lanes then two abreast. Riding single file is asking for a close shave at 90kmh. Much safer to ride two abreast with rear lights.
It's all about 'riding big'. Make yourself an obstacle that motorists have to drive around. It takes some guts to do it on a fast road, but I am sure it is safer that way.
You are also on good legal ground. You are entitled to take the lane on a dual carriageway. That won't help if you do get cleaned up, but if you're that worried by the traffic you simply shouldn't be on that road.
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