If the spate of fatalities (13) and serious injuries (140) involving motor vehicles at railway level crossings has led to a call for specific driver training by Network Rail, why cannot the driving test also include a cycling test, asks Allan Ramsay of RoadPeace.

Because there were at least 10 times that number of cycling casualties last year.

“Indeed, last spring there was an alarming 19% increase over the corresponding period for the previous year, with the DfT saying that 93% of them were not the cyclists fault,” says Ramsay.

He is calling for driver training specific to cycling safety!  Anyone applying for a provisional licence would first of all take a cycling test – both theory and practical.  

“Plus, every driver caught speeding at more than 30% of the speed limit, or using a hand held mobile phone, or under the influence of drink or drugs, should be banned from driving, and then must take the cycling test to get their licence back.’

Ramsay says that for a nation in the grip of recession, obesity, heart disease and asthma (with 1 in 5 families affected, Britain has one of the worst asthma problems in the world)  then anything less is surely a ‘no-brainer’.

He also suggests that 30mph speed limits be imposed on all Sustrans cycle routes. He says  the 60mph limit on narrow roads is totally insane.

The CTC, the national cyclists organisation, says:

“Cycling casualties have been increasing in the last few years, in part due to the substantial increases in cycling. CTC believes, however, that in places with higher levels of cycling there is a ‘Safety in Numbers’ effect, so the risks of cycling are lower. Increases in cycling injuries, therefore, may not mean that cycling is getting more dangerous.

“Allan is right that in the majority of cases police ascribe blame mostly to the drivers in crashes with cyclists. That’s why our Stop SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) campaign aims to record these incidents and detect whether or not the police and court system are adequately protecting cyclists.

  • Mike Wake

    So someone who uses their bike on the road shouldn’t be legally obliged to take a cycling test, but a car driver who doesn’t should? How does this make any sense, let alone practical politics?

    Anything that will save lives and make drivers more aware of their responsibilities is to be applauded. But please let’s stick to initiatives that show some signs of having been thought through.

  • Richard Birtwhistle

    I could not agree more with ithis article. I have twice been hit from behind by motorists. In the latest incident on the A20 on 22 Feb. ’10 I was hit from behind by the wing mirror of a Loomis Transit van at a speed approaching 60mph. Lying in hospital the police informed me ( with my wife & son present ). that the driver had accepted liability ,they were to charge him fro driving with out due care & attention. He said that he clearly saw me and described what he saw then said that he though he had given me ” enough room ” but clearly not. But as I was liying on the road in agony covered in blood and mud and had not gathered indapendent witnesses the police are taking the case no further leaving me with out a bike ( his insurance says tale us to court ) and a month later still in pain and unable to do basic things like get out of bed normally and worse than that I am going to have to miss some racing until I can get fit again.
    I believe a basic cycling test should become part of every driving test into the future and eventually we may get the respect we deserve on the roads – I will back any campaign that works for the safety of cyclists.

  • Peter Manley

    A simple but nonethless great idea. However, it will never happen. People come second to cars, that’s the way it is in the western world. Don’t let that put you off – keep up the good work Allan.

  • Arthur FRanks

    It Is about time someone with some clout said this, I have been saying for 30 years that drivers should take a cycling profiency test but do it on a busy road. On a related issue, having been involved with roadworks most of my working life, how about making motorists caught speeding through roadworks do a day in a roadworks and get a taste of their own medicine