Police have promised to clarify the legal position about cycling safely in groups after a social media post by the PSNI proved controversial earlier this week.
Cyclists in Dungannon and South Tyrone have reacted angrily to advice from police about using the roads safely.
The issue arose after the PSNI published a post on their Facebook page for the local area, reminding cyclists that “it is against the law to cycle at night without a white front light, a red backlight and red reflector at the back”.
The online message goes on to state: “Groups of cyclists should travel in single file, not two or three abreast”, and it is this wording which has been the subject of so much debate among cyclists as well as motorists.
Gerard Farrell, who cycles regularly as part of a group, asked police to clarify their position on the matter.
“A group of cyclists riding 2 abreast take up same space as a vehicle and passing them is just same as passing one vehicle, if we ride in single file that one vehicle you are looking to pass becomes 2 vehicles so which is best option”, asked Mr Farrell.
Billy Jones, however, argued cycling two abreast on a country road with a 60mph limit “causes an obstruction for vehicles who want to overtake”.
Meanwhile, lorry driver Jeff Fitzsimmons said: “As a hgv driver I would like to see more cyclists share the road with hgv. .. We all have the right to safe passage on the highways.”
Police say the post didn’t state that cycling two abreast was illegal but that for safety they should ride single file.
The post will be amended in order to clarify the issue, a PSNI spokeswoman told the TIMES.
“The purpose of the Facebook post was to encourage cyclists to be aware of, and think about their personal safety when cycling on public roads, particularly at night and as we enter the darker winter months”, continued the spokeswoman.
“The post did not state that for cyclists to travel two or three abreast was illegal, just that for safety they should travel in single file. This is stated the Highway Code for narrow or busy roads, as many roads in the Dungannon and South Tyrone area are.
The relevant part of the Highway code can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82.
To save any further confusion the post will be amended and additional comment added to clarify.”