Ed asked: I ride with a large group here in central Fl. On one of our rides we typically have 20-30 riders. What we have been doing is to require our lead rider to come as close to a complete stop as they can safely.
Does each rider following close to the lead riders also have to stop, or can the rest of the group proceed through as a group if the intersection is clear?
I realize you are referring to a stop sign, as opposed to a red light, I say that because I have also heard the argument that the back half of a group can run a red light when the front half has proceeded under yellow or green. Many times stopped motorists will even wave the remaining riders through when the cyclists’ light is red.
What you describe is a common practice at stop signs, and in many situations may even make traffic flow more efficient. Drivers behind a cycling group may be slowed in passing through the intersection if each cyclist stops in turn, particularly if they are in a line. For that reason proceeding as a group is encouraged by the Florida Bicycle Association.
All statutes do not take into consideration the safest and most efficient practices for cyclists. However, as pointed on in the article, it is unlawful for any cyclist to proceed through a stop sign or a red light without stopping.
A cycling group is not a defined entity in the statutes and cyclists traveling in a group do not have any special privileges. Being in a group does not relieve us of the duties of a driver of a vehicle. Each cyclist is operating a vehicle and has the same rights and duties as other drivers.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter
The wording of the statute about stop signs is clear. Every driver shall stop.
s. 316.123 – Vehicle Entering Stop or Yield Intersection
(2)(a) …. every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
Regarding cyclists in a group, also see this post: