Premier Limited

Cycling rules need to be included in Driving Test say MPs

Posted on Thursday, 07 February 2013 12:15PM by
Cycle safety must be introduced at the heart of the driving test and the national curriculum if the Government wants to get more people to travel by bicycle, motoring chiefs told MPs yesterday.

What a great idea - this is really where it needs to start from, when drivers learn how to drive sensibly and in particular when coming across bikers and in all different circumstances. What to do when there is not any room to sensibly pass a cyclist, when there are more than one biker, what to consider, how has what right of way and so on. The roads need to accommodate all those that can use the roads legally. Parking is another area that is just not easy in cities, towns and villages for cycles, motorbikes and cars alike, not just to park safety and together, but also securely. 

Cars and Bikes


Here is the most up to date news on this important cycle safety development from the Times . . .

The president of the AA joined calls for the driving test to “go a lot further” in educating drivers on giving cyclists extra space on the roads and told the House of Commons inquiry that “road safety awareness” should be taught in schools.

Giving evidence at the inquiry, which was set up in response to the Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, AA president Edmund King said: “We are discussing with the Department for Transport what could be included in the driving test about cyclists. There is currently something in the hazard perception section, but I think it could go a lot further.”

Mr King also recommended that the “independent” section of the driving test, when drivers are asked to drive without direction from the examiner, could take place in areas with high cyclist numbers, to prepare new drivers for encountering them on the roads.

He explained that getting young people on bikes before they learn to drive was an important step in helping them “experience life on the road as a cyclist”, and added: “I think we need more in the national curriculum at an early stage about cycle safety and road awareness,” describing it as a “life-skill”.

Neil Greig, policy director at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said that there had only been a “tiny” take-up by schools of courses to introduce school-children to elements of driving theory and hazard perception.

David Dansky, a cycle trainer from the Association of Bikeability Schemes, told the inquiry that only 250,000 school children received cycle training in the UK last year because many local authorities are failing to match-fund Government grants for cycle training.

The inquiry also heard that 18 per cent of all AA members — about 1.5 million people — cycle regularly, though only a quarter of those had ever received any kind of cycle training.

Cycle_Shelter_Open.jpg

Mr King also criticised poor provisions for cyclists on UK roads, adding that: “There are too many cycle lanes that are piecemeal, that are an afterthought, that lull cyclists into a false sense of security and lull motorists into a false sense of security because they see cyclists in the cycle lane and then it suddenly ends.”

Praise was also made for taxi and haulage companies who had taken steps to train their drivers on how to drive near cyclists. Mr Dansky, a cycle trainer from the Association of Bikeability Schemes, said that the driving of Addison Lee minicabs, often cited as a particular menace by cyclists on London roads, had been seen to improve markedly since their drivers were offered training sessions on a bicycle.

Officials from the Metropolitan Police and the Ministry of Justice were also quizzed by the panel of MPs and peers about the enforcement and sentencing of drivers who endanger and seriously injure or kill cyclists.

Ian Austin, Labour MP for Dudley and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, cited the case of 20-year-old cyclist Tom Ridgway, who died last year in Solihull after being struck by a taxi driver and carried for 90 metres on the bonnet before it collided with a tree. The driver, Ichhapal Bhamra, 54, was convicted of driving without due care and attention and received three points on his licence and a £35 fine, just £5 more than the fine for cyclists who ride on the pavement.

Martin Porter QC, a personal injury lawyer, described the police as “spineless” when dealing with motorists who endanger cyclists, while Martin Gibbs, policy director at British Cycling, added: “It is fair to say the justice system as it operates in this area is broken. We consistently see cases that are either not investigated, not properly prosecuted or result in a sentence that sends completely the wrong message about how we want people to behave on the roads.”

The inquiry also heard that the number of prosecutions for causing death by dangerous driving had “plummeted” since the introduction of the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Martin Jones, deputy director of sentencing at the MoJ, said that sentencing bad drivers was a “very difficult situation” but added that: “The sentences are a matter for the court to decide after listening to the evidence.”

The inquiry also heard that, while there were 16 cyclist deaths in London in 2011, there were zero cyclist deaths in Paris over the same period, possibly due to stricter regulations over HGVs and large lorries entering the city centre.

Speaking to The Times after the evidence session, Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge and chair of the inquiry, said: “I’m delighted by the quality of evidence we have heard”, and added that the inquiry would make recommendations to the Government that are “both aspirational and achievable” when it reports in the spring.

The Times: Introduce Cycle Safety To Driving Test And In Schools, Say Motoring Chiefs

Bike_Loop.jpg

Thanks very much from the Premier Limited British Company