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Code of the road cyclists: let's see what it foresees to circulate in safety and without risking fines. The main doubt of cyclists concerns the possibility of proceeding side by side or in groups instead of in single file. Let's start immediately by saying that proceeding occupying the whole street as done by the three girls portrayed in the opening photo of this article is definitely dangerous, unless of course you are on a cycle path! :-)
I speak as an amateur cyclist but also as a car driver with twenty years of driving license: when driving on the roads we must pay the utmost attention to what surrounds us and if possible try to interpret and anticipate the signals that other drivers and occupants of the road send us . When I pedal these senses are particularly acute precisely due to the fact that I am exposed to greater dangers and I rightly believe that few car drivers are also frequent cyclists and pedalers and therefore not everyone has the perception of what it means to be driving a vehicle. and at the same time driving a bicycle on the road. Most of the disputes in this sense arise precisely from this lack of mutual empathy and in extreme cases it becomes rudeness and disrespect.
Code of the road cyclists: what it provides
But let's get to the heart of the matter: the New Highway Code, legislative decree. April 30, 1992 n. 285 through Art. 182. "Circulation of cycles" regulates the rules of conduct for cyclists. We are particularly interested in article number 1:
Cyclists must proceed in a single row in all cases where traffic conditions require it and, in any case, never placed side by side in more than two numbers; when they circulate outside built-up areas they must always proceed in one row, except one of them is less than ten years old and proceeds to the right of the other.
As often happens, our law is often subject to personal and utilitarian interpretations but in this sense it speaks clearly:
- it is not allowed for cyclists to circulate on more than 2 rows side by side
- this possibility is also restricted only in built-up areas precisely because there are particular conditions such as lower speeds, limitations on overtaking, the presence of intersections and various branches in addition to that of other subjects on the road such as pedestrians
- finally, the double row is restricted when pedaling to protect a child under 10
So the Italian highway code when pedaling in a group essentially requires single file with a few exceptions which, however, motorists and cyclists themselves must respect; it must also be said that the law goes hand in hand with common sense and could be further improved as is the case in other countries; in Spain, for example, cyclists are allowed to ride in pairs and when a group is made up of at least 4 cyclists in training, they can be accompanied by cars with the emergency lights on to better signal their presence. As when basically a driver is on the street confronting a young driver or about to get his license. No one would ever dream of having signs of nervousness towards a vehicle with the P well exposed; attention then to the legislation regarding thelights on bicycles such as LEDs and headlights.The most recent safety innovations have led to the birth of integrated lighting and systems bike radar that through the display of the cycle computer are able to offer a side and rear view to the cyclists who lack basic.
Highway code: overtaking of cyclists
Also in Spain, a law was passed that requires motorists to maintain a distance of AT LEAST 1 meter when overtaking cyclists. A similar law was also proposed in Italy with the ddl 2658, immediately called "bicycle rescue decree"Arrived in the Senate in recent days and has now come to the examination of the competent committee. The decree provides that the lateral distance from the cyclist when overtaking by a car must be AT LEAST 1.5 meters! Of course, given the breadth of some of our paths, some questions arise! :-)
The legislative decree 2658 provides for high fines for motorists who do not respect this limit: a penalty from 163 to 651 Euros and the administrative suspension of the driving license (from 30 to 90 days and up to 6 months if the driver is a novice driver).
In some countries, such as Australia, the lateral distance from the cyclist when overtaking required by the highway code depends on the speed of the car: up to 60 km / h it is at least 1 meter.
Behavior of cyclists ideal for the Italian highway code
The principle is that cyclists do not hinder circulation but that they must stimulate the attention of motorists by signaling their presence because, as we often say in jargon, “we cannot disappear from the roadway”.
And precisely because I understand the needs of motorists I try to help them by reporting and facilitating their overtaking through simple common sense rules that I recommend to everyone:
- when I ride freely with little traffic and I hear a vehicle approaching from behind and far away I always try to make a small detour to the right as if to say "I saw you, I hear you coming I recommend overtaking me but with caution without passing me an inch from the elbow and without being sucked into your speed "
- when pedaling in traffic or on narrow roads with many close curves I always try to get signaled, I take my hand off the handlebar to highlight obstacles and if I glimpse from the bend that the road is clear I try to point it to the vehicle behind which still has the view covered as if to say "Go easy, you can pass me because in front of is anybody there"
- I always try to thank when they facilitate my circulation precisely because they recognize that not having arrows and brake lights in some way I have to occupy the road to make crossings, for example
As a car driver, I am also able to distinguish when I am in front of a group intent on occupying the road correctly and those who instead interpret the paths as the gardens of their own home: however, I point out to motorists some details that they are often unable to fully understand:
- the perfect single line in a bike does not exist: the size of the body of each one, the different gaits between cyclists and the close distances between bikes and bicycles mean that small discards are generated but they are completely natural to see the road in front of you and to avoid stones, holes and manholes; furthermore, the right sides of the carriageways are not always intact and often show deep furrows and banks. If the driver shows a bit of empathy, everyone gains
- a single Indian file of 20 bikes, even if very well made and respectful for an overtaking motorist, becomes like overtaking a truck and an articulated car; for some motorists the single file seems almost to exempt them from the normal precautions they have when passing a long vehicle (arrows and overtaking). It almost seems like they don't want to invade the opposite lane as in a normal overtaking but at the same time they want to overtake the whole group of bikes. Unfortunately, in such cases there is no middle ground: you have to understand the length of the group, find the space, signal yourself and take a full-blown overtaking in total safety.
Without entering into controversies that are not good for anyone, it must be said that the highway code for cyclists in other countries it is based on the principle that the bicycle is a means of transport in all respects with equal dignity compared to other vehicles. With the pros and cons in terms of fines and more precisely because many cyclists are unruly and not very respectful of pedestrians, roundabouts, sidewalks and more. To receive in terms of safety and respect, it is also necessary to return and give the terms of discipline and penalties that derive from it; also for that I am in favor ofintroduction of the obligatory helmet as in other countries.
Curated by Tullio Grilli