While more money is being invested in cycling facilities, what many cycle campaigners have been crying out for is better driver training.

That has taken a step forward today with the announcement that two of the UK’s biggest driving schools – AA Driving School and BSM – will teach cycle safety to all learner drivers. The two organisations have launched a new training programme to ensure a standardised approach to safe driving around cyclists.

All driving instructors from both schools will take a module – which has been created with input from cyclists – to teach drivers how to drive safely around bike riders. Pupils will also be given a worksheet which sets out the facts about cyclists on the roads and encourages learners to think about the consideration they should show cyclists.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “I am personally committed to breaking down the ‘Two Tribes’ attitude displayed between some drivers and cyclists. Often we are the same people… I am convinced that this initiative will change attitudes and save lives.”

Mark Peacock, head of BSM, said: “Successfully teaching a learner to drive safely around cyclists means instilling a good attitude, as well as the necessary practical driving skills.

“It can be intimidating and confusing for learners the first few times they come across a cyclist.

Understanding why cyclists behave in certain ways, such as avoiding potholes or how they are affected in strong winds, is key to being safe around them.”

AA Driving School and BSM, as part of AA Driving Services, make up the largest provider of new driver training in the country.

  • Jackie Willis

    Totally agree with RJ! I cannot believe that the AA/BSM are admitting this has NOT been part of their training programme! Hardly a lesson goes by without some kind of training about cyclists, including recognising the potential for a cyclist to appear, for example around a left-hand bend, especially on a narrow road. There have also been many times in my experience when we have had to discuss cyclist lack of visibility, i.e. not all cyclists help themselves to be seen on the road! This alerts the learner driver to become cautious in fading light and actively look for cyclists. Frankly, I could go on and on about the topics we discuss in our driving lessons concerning sharing road space with cyclists!

  • gg/gg

    AT LAST !!!!!
    I always thought that a new driver should be put on a bike and sent out on the roads to experience what happens

  • RJ

    Good quality driving instructors have ALWAYS taught learner drivers how to deal safely with cyclists. Many of us actively go hunting for cyclists in order to give our drivers practical and theoretical training in the subject.

    Either the AA/BSM schools are admitting there are serious shortcomings in their instructor capabilities which need urgent remedial action, or it’s a cheap cynical publicity stunt.