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I have just been back from a biking vacation with another fellow cyclist, and we have met a lot of other cyclists: from the most serious ones to those taking the bike once every eon.

When we had to overtake a group of cyclists, our procedure was:

  • check if there was oncoming traffic in the front
  • check if there were cyclists on the back
  • ring the bell to alert about a bike overtaking
  • overtake

The problem we faced pretty often was that, if there were some cyclists pedaling next to each other talking, they would move in line and then, after being overtaken by the first cyclist, would get back side to side while the other one was still overtaking, sometime even zigzagging while doing so.

This is a risk per se, but when we were on a cycle path in the woods it was even more dangerous, as there was not that much space for a different trajectory and we had panniers on both sides.

Therefore my question: how can I clearly communicate how many bikes are overtaking a group of cyclists?

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    I read somewhere that protocol for two double line pace groups would be for the faster to join the front group from behind, and take a rotation through the upwards line, then simply ride out the front. Never seen it though - in a race, most pace groups end up merging and the faster ones break away. NAA cos its hearsay. – Criggie Aug 25 at 5:31
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    'Round here the first person in the passing line announces "5 bikes passing" to the cyclists being passed. – DavidW Aug 25 at 10:13
  • In an ideal world cyclists would obey road laws and look over their shoulder + use hand signals to make sure they are not being overtaken. And at least here in Austria riding side-by-side is only allowed for road bikes during training rides. – Michael Aug 26 at 11:01
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    we always used "passing on your left! 4 back" or "4 more" or however many people there were – Nate W Aug 27 at 18:24

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