I hate it when this happens:

  1. I'm riding down the bike path and I pass somebody.

  2. I stop at a red light.

  3. They catch up, and instead of stopping behind me they pass me and stop right in front of me.

  4. The light turns green.

  5. Rinse and repeat until I get past a light that catches them.

This is obviously antisocial behavior.

I will sometimes get in front of people at a light, but only if I've been gaining on them.

Is this okay under the circumstances, or is it low class regardless?

  • I agree with you that in my opinion it is not good behaviour for a slower cyclist to get in front of a faster one at the lights. It's not just annoying, but also potentially dangerous if you have to overtake them again in dense traffic. But I'm not aware of any rules, traffic regulations or laws for this situation, so I think your question will not have a definite answer and very much depend on personal opinion and perhaps the culture in different countries. Dec 5, 2015 at 19:53
  • 1
    It is OK, if you are an asshole. Some people are. I'm just surprised that they bothered to stop at red light, the ones I see usually blow through and when I pass them, attempt to draft.
    – ojs
    Dec 5, 2015 at 20:18
  • 4
    More, what would an actionable answer be? "Chill out?", it's not as though you can do anything about it.
    – Móż
    Dec 6, 2015 at 0:21
  • 1
    As cyclists, we don't really talk to other cyclists. Perhaps treating that rider as a person rather than a moving object would defuse the tension you feel. They're probably oblivious.
    – Criggie
    Dec 6, 2015 at 0:43
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    Some cyclists have different ideas about where to stop even in the absence of other cyclists: some stop behind the stop bar, some in front of the stop bar, and some after the crosswalk. I don't know about your precise circumstances but it is possible that it's not about passing you, but that you stop "too far behind" for other cyclists' taste. I'm not commenting on the legality of the various stopping locations.
    – itub
    Jan 29, 2018 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


It clearly is OK sometimes: almost the opposite case to what you describe, i.e. when a faster cyclist has been gaining for a while but finally catches up at the lights, or has been stuck behind unable to pass because of passing cars. I've been in both sides of this situation and will sometimes invite obvious fast cyclists to get away ahead of me.

Without condoning red-light running, some people get away very early at lights. I'd rather they were in front of me than behind, itching to overtake. I've got enough to worry about with the cars.

I've seen cyclists stop so far back in a bike box that there's no safe place behind them (with big vehicles around). Often these are the slow cyclists who don't position themselves clearly on front of cars but sometimes they're fast riders who don't want to unclip and are leaning on something. The sort of riders I'd normally let past. In this case a little discourtesy is less important than avoiding being in the blind spot of a bus turning the corner. That could be considered a general rule.

Any kind of jockeying for position is not OK unless preceded by an agreement to race, to which my response would be "you go ahead".

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