A dangerous new cycling trend could risk safety of all road users

Jeremy Kyle says cyclists 'should be fined' for breaking codes

The new trend of “half-wheeling” is causing a stir in the cycling community with it becoming more popular this year after going viral on social media. This is when a cyclist chooses to ride half a wheel’s length in front of another cyclist, forcing them to work harder and cycle faster to keep up.

While this is a common technique in cycling road races, it is also a popular tactic for cyclists on the morning commute.

Being in this proximity on the roads has been described as “extremely reckless” as it could easily cause a pile-up if the person at the front of the pack is involved in an accident.

Last January, the Government unveiled a raft of new Highway Code rules to give all road users key guidance on how to remain safe.

This included fresh guidance to allow cyclists to drive in the centre of the lane on quieter roads, in slow-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions.

This is now being encouraged as this allows cyclists to make themselves as clear as possible to other road users.

Cyclists were also reminded that they can ride to abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children.

However, they were told they must be aware of drivers behind them, and allow them to overtake as long as it is safe to do so.

Lena Farnell, from Cycle SOS, said: “If a fellow cyclist does attempt half-wheeling, calmly yet firmly ask them to stop. 

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“Don’t rise to the challenge and attempt to outdo them or cut in front of them as this can lead to further danger and even result in an accident.

“If another member of your cycling group is being directly impacted by this behaviour, slow down your pace and fall back to allow room for them to create some distance.”

Half-wheeling is not a new concept, with the term seeing a 21 percent global increase in interest based on Google searches in the last year alone.

Social media apps like TikTok have helped make half-wheeling more popular, with many now questioning whether it is acceptable etiquette.

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In the event that people are injured because of someone half-wheeling, they may be entitled to compensation.

Lena Farnell advised cyclists to half a clear line of communication, especially when riding in a group to ensure everyone is safe throughout the journey.

The Highway Code changes introduced last year also involved the creation of a new “hierarchy of road users”.

This ensured that quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

Cyclists and pedestrians were deemed to be the most at risk on the roads, with additional measures being taken to protect them.

This included the implementation of the “Dutch Reach”. This should be done when drivers and passengers are exiting their cars.

When leaving, they should use their opposite hand to open the door, turning their body in the process and giving them a better view out of the rear and side windows.

By having a better view of oncoming traffic, they can ensure that any pedestrians and cyclists near them are not at risk of being hit by the car door.

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