Swindon Wheelers Riding Etiquette

All Riders

• You are responsible for your own safety and all Riders join club rides and activities at their own risk

• If you have a medical condition and come out on a club organised ride it is your responsibility. However, you must inform the ride leader and be mindful of the effects your condition could have on the other riders in the group.

• In case of emergency, it is advisable that you either carry a completed Wheelers club card with emergency contact details and any significant medical issue documented or activate the emergency details section on your mobile.

• We strongly recommend that you download a location App such as “What3Words” in case you need to call for help from the emergency services

• You must ensure that you and your bike are roadworthy

• Be courteous to other road users and follow the Highway code at all times

• Unless you are an experienced rider who is used to group riding, start in a lower group (Nova’s) and work up, if unsure a senior member of the club can advise

• All rides use recognised hand signals to alert the group of possible dangers such as potholes. Please familiarise yourself with these (web link found at the bottom of this guidance).

• Fatigue is a large factor in accidents involving group riding; therefore when signing up for a club ride consider if it is within your capabilities in terms of length, climbs and anticipated group average speed.

• No new rider is ever left behind unless the ride leader is satisfied that someone is coming to pick you up.

• If you find yourself dropping off the back of the main group (i.e. not able to keep up for some reason) let another rider know so this can be conveyed to the ride leader

• If you are leaving the ride before the designated end point you must let the ride leader know, ideally before the ride sets off but before you leave the ride

• Consider joining British Cycling or the Cyclists Touring Club to obtain 3rd party insurance.

• Be predictable: applying the brakes unexpectedly, standing up out of the saddle when it is not necessary or safe to do so and decreasing speed without alerting others can all lead to a crash when riding in a group. (Always accelerate slightly and call “standing” if you are about to stand in your pedals).

• To keep you and those around you safe, be as predictable as possible. If you are going to change direction, speed or position within the group, let those behind you know before making the move.

• For safety reasons you must not allow your wheel to overlap with the wheel in front of you as this could cause wheels to touch leading to an accident. To keep this from happening, always ride directly behind the rider in front of you.

• When riding in two’s a good rule of thumb is to keep your handlebars even with the handlebars of the rider who is beside you

• Ride two abreast where it as safe to do so but always be prepared to single out when necessary. Ride immediately behind the rider in front – do not overlap either forwards or sideways. Never ride more than two abreast

• Unless your ride leader has said otherwise, wait in a safe place for the rest of the group at the top of climbs

• Carry enough tools to get you out of common problems – see list on the Wheelers website

• Tri-bars are not permitted on club rides for safety reasons

• Helmets are compulsory for all rides

• Mudguards are highly recommended in the winter

• A working rear light should be on during ALL club rides. Front and rear lights are compulsory for evening rides.

• By joining in with Club rides you are agreeing to abide by the above and follow the ride leader’s instructions

• If you have an accident whilst out on a club ride in conjunction with the ride lead or deputy, you must complete a club accident form. Doing so helps the club and other riders learn from accidents.

• Finally, the most important rule is to enjoy the ride!!

The Front of the Ride

• On a group ride the ride leader may take the front or sit further back in the group. It is important to take personal responsibility when you are on the front to keep those around you safe. This includes using hand signals when making a turn, alerting others of approaching obstacles and maintaining a consistent speed. You should also always follow local laws and obey traffic signals and street signs.

Junior Riders

• We do not currently have a junior section, there are clubs in the area who do

• 16-18’s can ride unaccompanied with parental consent – email to the membership secretary swindonwheelers1923@gmail.com

• See separate club guidance relating to conduct when around junior riders

Resources for Group Cycling




Relevant Highway Code Rules

The Highway Code was revised on 29 January 2022 to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses.

Hierarchy of road users

The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. It does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.

Cycling in shared spaces

People cycling are asked to:

  • not pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed, particularly from behind
  • slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell)
  • remember that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted
  • not pass a horse on the horse’s left

Position in the road when cycling

The updated code explains that people cycling in groups:

  • should be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups
  • can ride 2 abreast – and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups

People cycling are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so.

Overtaking when cycling

The updated code confirms that people cycling may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on their right or left.

They should proceed with caution as people driving may not be able to see them. This is particularly important:

  • on the approach to junctions
  • when deciding whether it is safe to pass lorries or other large vehicles