MAKE CYCLING PART OF THE DRIVING TEST
Maybe you already ride a bike. Or perhaps you don't, but would like to. Fear of traffic is the main reason more people don't cycle in the UK.
80% of adult cyclists are also drivers, but only 7% of Britain's 36 million drivers ride a bike once a week or more. Few will know how it feels to be compromised by a motor vehicle.
To be a safe driver we often need to think as a cyclist. Yet most young adults, even though they may own a bike, see themselves not as cyclists, but as drivers.
The driving test curriculum embeds this belief by placing physical control before attitude and awareness. Clicking through a Theory and Hazard Perception test, even with Hollywood graphics, fails to prepare novice drivers for the reality of sharing Britain’s roads with cyclists. No wonder there's discord amongst road users where there should be harmony.
We believe that all new drivers, unless exempted by either current Bikeability assessment or disability, should meet minimum standards of cycle awareness by means of a practical cycling test.
This would have several desirable outcomes. Exposure to cycling in traffic would create a generation of drivers better attuned to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. Fewer close calls and collisions, especially those involving high risk age groups, would reduce NHS costs and inspire less confident cyclists, particularly women, to saddle up.
Making cycling part of the driving test would help legitimise cycling as a natural transport choice, thus further broadening its appeal by portraying equivalence amongst all road users.
By merging cycle awareness with driver training, costs shift from taxpayer to user. Assessment would be delivered by existing bodies and any additional tuition and testing costs would continue to be borne by the candidate. There should be no net cost to the exchequer.