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In Spain, once the first cyclist in a group enters an intersection or traffic circle, the rest of the group has the right of way to follow.

Los ciclistas cuando circulan en grupo gozan de prioridad –todos ellos, del primero al último– en las glorietas, al igual que en el resto de las intersecciones, cuando el primero de los ciclistas ya haya entrado en ella.
      — Article from Spain’s Dirección General de Tráfico

Translation:

Cyclists, when traveling in a group, have the right-of-way—all of them, from first to last—at roundabouts, as in all other intersections, when the first cyclist has already entered it.

I'm guessing it doesn’t apply if the first guy entered illegally.  And I think if anyone but the first three ignored a light changing, they would be foolish.  But that’s not my question.

What other jurisdictions, if any, have a rule like this?

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  • Is there a citation to Spanish road rules that supports this being a law ? A brief search shows a lot of facebook links nothing to the Directorate-General for Traffic (Spanish: Dirección General de Tráfico)
    – Criggie
    Jul 9 at 19:46
  • 1
    No citation to the official laws, but it did come from DGT, distinguished laws from recommendations, and included what the fines were for violations. I added the link and improved on Google's mediocre translation.
    – WGroleau
    Jul 9 at 20:17
  • 2
    I have a feeling there's something in German traffic regulations but only for groups of a certain size (and there may be other criteria that apply). Someone here will know about that I'm sure
    – Chris H
    Jul 9 at 20:17
  • 2
    @Criggie Google heavily prefers English results for English-speaking users (and logged-out users in English-speaking locations based on IP address). Results from mixed-language international sites are still usually above even official sites from authorities that don't match the user's language. That's true even if you don't search in English.
    – Chris H
    Jul 9 at 20:21
  • 1
    And the site "BOE" for searching Spanish law is not easy to use!
    – WGroleau
    Jul 9 at 22:28

4 Answers 4

10

Austria (AT) - StVO §68, section 2

Radfahrer in Gruppen ab zehn Personen ist das Queren einer Kreuzung im Verband durch den übrigen Fahrzeugverkehr zu erlauben. Dabei sind beim Einfahren in die Kreuzung die für Radfahrer geltenden Vorrangregeln zu beachten; der voran fahrende Radfahrer hat im Kreuzungsbereich den übrigen Fahrzeuglenkern das Ende der Gruppe durch Handzeichen zu signalisieren und erforderlichenfalls vom Fahrrad abzusteigen. Der erste und letzte Radfahrer der Gruppe haben dabei eine reflektierende Warnweste zu tragen.

I'm German-speaking native but I was lazy and just put this through Google Translate, so I hope you don't mind the inaccurate translation.

Cyclists in groups of ten or more should be allowed to cross an intersection as a group through other vehicle traffic. When entering the intersection, the priority rules applicable to cyclists must be observed; the cyclist in front must use hand signals to signal the end of the group to the other drivers in the crossing area and, if necessary, get off the bicycle. The first and last cyclists in the group must wear a reflective safety vest.

I once rode in a group of road cyclists on a multi-day guided tour. Our guides practically rode into the crossing/intersection or roundabout, stopped, gently blocked off crossing traffic, waved us by and then caught up with the group - at least that's how it is applied in real-world-traffic. However, there are official (mandatory?) courses for (touristic) bike guides, so I assume that's the way to do it. Surprisingly, large groups are often perceived friendlier than (legally) riding on busy roads on your own - I didn't know that §68 is part of the traffic rules.

To answer the other question, I think you have to obey the rules so that you can legally pass as a full closed group ("the priority rules applicable to cyclists must be observed"), you sure can't force others to stop for a group if you ignore red lights or did not comply with regulations in any other way.

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  • 1
    How is the leading cyclists supposed to signal the end of the group which is likely to be a considerable distance behind him? And what kind of signal is he supposed to use?
    – Michael
    Jul 11 at 13:23
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    @Michael I don't know the signal (Maybe pointing at the last member of the group?) but if the group is very large, the other part of the sentence likely applies: the leading cyclist must get off and wait until the group passes.
    – kapex
    Jul 11 at 14:12
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    @Michael In my group ride scenario, the leader stopped in the intersection/roundabout, kind of blocked off crossing traffic, waved us through, final thumbs up to the patient motorists and then caught up with the group - and repeat ...
    – DoNuT
    Jul 11 at 14:17
9

Not entirely similar to the Spanish situation, but the Belgians have special rules for groups consisting of 15 or more cyclists, as written in Article 43 of the Roadcode (Wegcode).

The law makes a distinction between groups of 15-50 and 51-150 cyclists and for this specific question it's only important to know that for the smaller group it's optional to have at least two "road captains" (wegkapiteins) and for the larger group it's mandatory. Article 43bis.3.3. 1° describes what regulations a road captain should follow:

De wegkapiteins waken over het goed verloop van de tocht. Deze wegkapiteins moeten ten minste 21 jaar oud zijn en zij moeten om de linkerarm een band dragen met, horizontaal, de nationale kleuren en, in zwarte letters op de gele strook, het woord "wegkapitein".

Roughly translated:

The road captains ensure that the tour runs smoothly. The road captains must be at least 21 years of age and they must wear a band on their left arm with, horizontally, the national tricolor, and in black letters on the yellow strip the word "wegkapitein"

I found an image of such an armband below (both for the Flemish, as Wallonian road captains):

enter image description here enter image description here

If there are road captains present, Article 43bis.3.3. 2° states:

Op de kruispunten waar het verkeer niet geregeld wordt door verkeerslichten, mag ten minste één van de wegkapiteins het verkeer in de dwarswegen stilleggen op de wijze bepaald in artikel 41.3.2., terwijl de groep met inbegrip van de twee begeleidende voertuigen oversteekt.

Roughly translated:

On intersections where traffic is not controlled by traffic lights, one or more road captains are allowed to stop crossing traffic as stipulated in article 41.3.2, while the group including the assistance vehicles crosses the road.

And finally, Article 41.3.2 describes how the road captains should halt crossing traffic:

Om het verkeer stil te leggen, moeten die militairen, signaalgevers, wegkapiteins, groepsleiders, werfopzichters, begeleiders en verkeerscoördinators gebruik maken van een schijf waarop het verkeersbord C3 afgebeeld is en waarvan de karakteristieken bepaald worden door de Minister van Verkeerswezen.

Roughly translated:

To halt the traffic, military staff, signaling staff, road captains, group leaders, site supervisors, attendants and traffic coordinators must use a disc that displays traffic sign C3 on it of which the characteristics are determined by the Minister of Transport.

And traffic sign C3 is:

enter image description here

And finally, the Belgian police clarifies (last paragraph) that the road captains can only interfere at intersection which are not controlled by a traffic light. All cyclists in a group must adhere to the road code in other situations, so they can't neglect a red traffic light, they don't have right of way (as a group) at a crossing point for cyclists and everyone needs to stop and give way at a pedestrian crossing.

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  • WOW. (I presume the French version allows a different word on the armband… :-)
    – WGroleau
    Jul 10 at 13:28
  • @WGroleau Indeed, in French it's "Capitaine de route", now the road codedoesn't say which text is applicable for crossborder events :p
    – Renaud
    Jul 10 at 14:42
7

In Sweden, cycling in a group is more or less illegal (but not enforced), and each cyclist is treated as an individual vehicle with regards to right of way etc. The law specifically states that the operator of any vehicle is required to maintain such a distance to the vehicle in front of it that they may stop safely in case the leading vehicle stops. That's not possible when cycling in a group.

Relevant law regarding distance between vehicles:

Trafikförordningen, 3rd chapter, 2nd paragraph:

Avståndet till ett framförvarande fordon skall anpassas så att det inte finns risk för påkörning om det saktar in eller stannar. Avståndet skall också anpassas så att andra trafikanters omkörning underlättas.

The distance to a vehicle in front shall be such that there is no risk for collision if it slows down or stops. The distance shall also be such that other vehicles can safely overtake.

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  • This answer would be improved if it cited relevant laws akin to other answers. Jul 12 at 11:17
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    @ToivoSäwén the situation described isn't really mentioned in any particular law. Things like yield rules are always applied per each vehicle individually; there is no concept in Swedish traffic rules of a "group" of vehicles. Jul 12 at 21:25
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🇩🇪 Germany, StVO § 27 on "Verbände" (closed groups)

It has clear lower bound on the number of participants, and delegates the responsibility for the whole group to those in the front:

§ 27 Closed groups

(1) Traffic rules and regulations that apply uniformly shall apply mutatis mutandis to closed groups. More than 15 cyclists may form a closed group. They may then ride in rows of two next to each other on the roadway. Children and youth groups on foot must use the sidewalks as far as possible.

[...]

(5) Whoever leads a convoy shall ensure that the regulations applicable to closed groups are followed.

Not written out explicitly: the whole group is considered like a single vehicle. If the front of the group passed a traffic light at green, the remaining cyclists must follow, as long as they are part of one uninterrupted group.

However, this rule does not scale indefinitely. Paragraph (2) mandates that long convoys leave spaces at "reasonable intervals", so that the individual groups can reasonably participate in the general traffic.

At some point in group size, it stops being a closed group and becomes more like a Critical mass-style activity, with their distinct legal considerations.

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