A video of cyclists riding four abreast filmed by broadcaster Jeremy Vine has sparked an angry reaction on social media.
Some of the 6,300 comments on the footage accused the cyclists of “self-entitlement” and “blocking the road”.
Vine, himself a cyclist, filmed the scenario while a passenger in a car behind the group.
As the car slowly approaches the cyclists, he says: “Sunday morning in the country. Absolutely no problem with this at all. This is exactly how cyclists should ride. They’re calming the traffic behind them.”
But commenting on the video on Twitter, former England rugby union captain Will Carling wrote: “I am a cyclist. Simple rule – we are smaller than cars – so be polite, ride single file when holding up cars.”
Ex-London mayoral candidate Laurence Fox wrote that “Mamils” – an acronym for middle-aged men in lycra – should give the same respect to horse riders that they received from the car driver.
He added that he was thrown off a horse in West Sussex after “a bunch Tour de France wannabes zoomed out of the shadows”.
Talk Radio presenter Cristo Foufas commented: “You’re just trolling us now!”
A person with the username @Tryptych070426 posted a reply to Vine which stated: “One doesn’t have to be a bad driver to be offended by your lack of consideration for motorists and the ugly sense of self entitlement it reveals.”
Another Twitter user going by name @cafkin wrote: “Blocking the road will make people take bigger risks and lead to worse accidents.”
But the account for the Roads Police Unit of Surrey Police posted: “No driver should need to get angry in those circumstances. Anyone can pass very easily and safely.
“Drivers and riders have to take each section of road as they find it and adjust accordingly; being safe and courteous.”
Roger Geffen, policy director at charity Cycling UK, told the PA news agency it is a “frequent misconception” that “bunching up is inconsiderate behaviour”, insisting it “makes the group far safer and easier to overtake than a longer thinned out group”.
He added: “It is not much more different to when overtaking a car on a single carriageway or a HGV – the less time spent passing the vehicle, or group of cyclists, the safer, easier and faster it is for everyone.”
The Highway Code states that cyclists “should never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”.
This is advice rather than a legal requirement.
The Department for Transport announced last month that the Code is being updated to include a hierarchy of road users so those who “can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others”.
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