Should cycling proficiency be compulsory for drivers?
An online Guardian Bike Blog argues for making a cycling proficiency test a mandatory condition for obtaining a driving licence.
Following the death of a cyclist outside the Olympic stadium last week, and Bradley Wigggins’ response to the tragedy, cycling safety is once again high on the news agenda.
However, the Guardian Bike Blog argues that while we’d all love better cycling infrastructure, there is neither the money nor the political will to make our streets safer for cyclists.
Furthermore, continues the blog, for all the positive talk about increasing the bike awareness component of the driving test, there is a limit to how much you can tell someone to be aware of their position on the road, and a limit to the effect that theoretical knowledge can have.
So, it questions, why not make cycle proficiency a mandatory condition for getting a driving licence?
The blog says that “every driver should have firsthand experience of what it's like to ride a bike in the traffic.... Drivers need to know how smaller vehicles and their more vulnerable users behave on the road, and the only real way to understand how cyclists act is to have a go at being one.”
Citing a recent survey which revealed that 46% of respondents said they would switch to cycling for short journeys if roads were safer, the blog argues that another benefit would be that many more people would get a chance to see how convenient and safe cycling is.
Introducing a measure which is guaranteed both to get more people on bikes and make sure drivers understand cycling is a no-brainer, concludes the blog. “It would be relatively cheap, have a big impact and would improve cyclist safety without infrastructure investment.”
Click here to read the full Bike Blog.