Could the next step be to make cycle awareness a core part of the practical driver’s test?

Bike organisations praise BSM and AA’s new cycle awareness module

Following this morning’s news that the AA and BSM driving schools will be including a cycling awareness module to all instructors, cycle advocates have widely praised the move. 

The CTC branded it ‘excellent news’, citing the crucial role driving instructors have in shaping future drivers, while Sustrans praised the two driving schools for ‘leading the way in improving road safety’. British Cycling applauded the AA Driving School and BRM for ‘recognising the importance’ of cycle awareness in training drivers.

Here are the quotes in full:

The CTC‘s Roger Geffen said: "This is excellent news. Driving instructors have an important contribution to make in teaching drivers, particularly higher-risk younger drivers, about the risks cyclists face from potholes and other design failings of our roads and junctions, and how to show respect and consideration for their safety. It is also crucial to give instructors the knowledge and resources to undermine some of the perennial myths about the right of cyclists to use the roads.

"However, it would be even better if young people were given advanced cycle training on the use of busier roads, before they start learning to drive. Anecdotal evidence from instructors suggests that regular cyclists are quicker to pick up hazard perception and defensive driving skills. CTC has, in the past, argued that advanced cycle training for teenagers be provided alongside basic skills training for younger children as part of the school curriculum."

Sustrans’ Policy Director Jason Torrance said: “Both the AA Driving School and BSM should be applauded for leading the way in improving road safety.

“The next step is to make cycle awareness a core part of the practical driver’s test, particularly on how to overtake people on bikes safely. By slowing down speeds, improving routes available to cyclists and pedestrians and changing the culture on our roads to one of sharing and mutual respect, we can improve road safety for everyone.”

British Cycling president Brian Cookson OBE added: “I am delighted that two of the UK’s biggest driving schools have committed to include cyclist awareness elements to driver training. Currently, there is no specific cyclist awareness module in the driving test meaning that many new drivers pass without having their ability to pass cyclists safely assessed. British Cycling wants to foster a culture of mutual respect between all road users and we applaud AA Driving School and BSM for recognising the importance of this.

“This move will ensure that thousands more new motorists will be equipped with the skills needed to drive safely around cyclists – and more importantly, could bring us a step closer to getting a cyclist awareness module introduced as a mandatory part of the driving test.”

Liz Clarke MD at cycle training firm BikeRight! commented: "BikeRight! applaud the BSM and AA for this move. Highlighting the vulnerability of cyclists and teaching correct techniques when driving near, or overtaking them is a significant step forward in improving safety and neutralising the often seen and heard arguments between certain drivers and cyclists.

"We agree with others here too regarding advanced cycle training being made widely available to young people in high schools before they reach driving age. In our experience trained cyclists make better drivers."

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