Dear Mahatma: Can bicyclists ride in a pack and block the entire right lane of a two-lane road? I refer not to an organized event but to a group just out riding. I have experienced this on Kanis Road, and it appears to be dangerous to all traffic, including the bicyclists. -- Bob
Dear Bob: Little Rock is an extremely cool city, in part because it has a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. His name is John Landosky. We pitched this to him, and he responded in detail. He speaks only for the city of Little Rock, so we will toss in something from another source.
City ordinance, Landosky says, allows bicyclists to ride two abreast, but only two, in a street's travel lanes.
Bicyclists are also required by city ordinance to ride as near to the right-hand side of the road as is practicable, or as Landosky says, safely. And there are circumstances where a bicyclist is safer in the middle of the lane or even toward the left. Consider also the width of Kanis Road -- 10-foot travel lanes -- and the nature of the road, which has a double yellow line. There's not enough room for a vehicle to stay in the lane, give a bicyclist a three-foot berth as required by state law, and safely pass.
Such a circumstance can be stressful, Landosky says, because drivers want to go faster than bicyclists. But they have a responsibility to wait for an opportunity to safely pass. (Here at the Traffic Desk, we have been asked this question before regarding a bicyclist and a double yellow. Law enforcement has told us: What part of double yellow don't you understand?)
The other source is Sherwood District Judge Milas H. "Butch" Hale, into whom we recently bumped. Judge Hale happens to a bicyclist in addition to being a judge.
He quotes Arkansas Code Annotated 27-49-111, which gives to a bicyclist all the rights and duties of a vehicle driver, and which has been noted in this space only a bazillion times. He also quotes from Bicycle Safety in Arkansas, a publication of the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
Says the guide: "You and a companion may ride side by side on the road, but only if you don't impede other traffic. Ride single file if traffic doesn't have enough room to pass you safely."
Hale says that while that statement isn't a law, it's great advice for bicyclists who want to have a nice, long riding career.
On a personal note, the last time we rode a bicycle was in the previous century. But we did peruse the safety guide and found it detailed and informative. It's easy to find online. We also see it's copyrighted 2013, and while we're not normally in the business of telling others what to do, has the time come for an update?
Vanity plate seen in Conway: LUV2WLK
Metro on 08/03/2019