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."
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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.
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