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#1 2010-07-06 10:16:11

Registered: 2009-07-03
Posts: 56

Riding two abreast


Has anyone looked into getting a more formal understanding of when it's appropriate to ride two abreast? I did a grocery run with my wife this morning; we took the rightmost lane of Rundberg on our way in -- which was certainly the right thing to do from a safety perspective, but I'm going back over whether it was legally correct.

551.103(c) reads as follows:

(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

Does this mean that folks riding together are no longer automatically allowed to take any outer lane narrower than 14' on a road with no bike lane, as they would be allowed by 551.103.4(a)(4)(A)? That doesn't seem like a reasonable restriction, as it doesn't do anything at all to ease flow of traffic (if I'm taking a lane, nobody's passing me in it whether or not I'm riding alongside another cyclist).

Now, this was early enough that traffic was able to pass us easily, but HEB's deli apparently doesn't open 'till 8am (hrmph!) so we'll likely be trying to do our shopping a bit later in the future, and perhaps competing with the beginnings of morning rush hour.

Does anyone have insight into whether police and/or judges are likely to enforce the nonimpedence requirement of 551.103(c) even when 551.103(a)(4) exceptions would prevent a single rider from being obliged to stay on the right side of the lane?


#2 2010-07-06 10:36:15

From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 290

Re: Riding two abreast

A UTPD officer enforced the restrictive interpretation of this law in such a situation last year.  The location was Manor Rd. between I-35 and Dean Keeton St.

Two bicyclists were riding abreast in the lane with parallel cars parked adjacent.  The presence of one bike requires a larger vehicle, e.g. a car, to cross over onto the other side of the road, which precludes an oncoming vehicle from approaching safely.  It seems to me that the presence of two bikes doesn't make passing any more restrictive.

My guess is that the UTPD didn't understand the finer points of safe bicycling.  When I've talked with four different officers -- the two UT Bicycle Committee reps 2008-09, Officer Magill (UTPD's supposedly best expert on bicycling safety and law), Chief Dahlstrom -- and none of them respect a bicyclist's right and need to "take a lane".

I invited UTPD Chief Dahlstrom to the Meet the Chief event with Art Acevedo this spring, but I didn't even get a response from him.

UTPD still needs work.  Maybe there is someone from the UT community who would like to take on this mission?  (I graduated last year.)


#3 2010-07-07 09:48:25

Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Riding two abreast


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