Thursday, 1 December 2011

BBC Radio Berkshire discussion

Radio Berkshire's Andrew Peach Show had a discussion (about 0840) about cycling this morning.  The parents of a child, Stephen Millington, tragically killed while cycling near Basingstoke in 2007, have called for compulsory cycle training for motorists.
As I said to Andrew Peach, I think this is a good idea.  Motorists sometimes get upset with cyclists who do not follow the rules, but in my experience, just as often get upset (even aggressive and violent) with cyclists who are following the rules.  It would help if motorists at least knew what the rules are.
There would be an added bonus that many more adult cyclists would, in practice, then get cycle training without discouraging cycling.(i.e. it is a condition of driving not cycling).
I can see there would be resistance to introducing this but, as a start, it could at least be an option for those who would otherwise receive Fixed Penalty Notices for road traffic offences.  As I noted when I was with the Cycle Task Force of the Metropolitan Police last month, there are many options for police officers to offer cyclists training instead of a ticket, but in marginal cases with motorists they seem to get off with a warning.
So I am with the Millingtons on this.


  1. Cycle training as part of driver training makes a lot of sense; they get to learn why more vulnerable road users do the things they do and just how vulnerable they can be if a motorist is negligent or lacking in proficiency. Plus it makes getting a driving license a little bit more difficult and long winded, which can only be a good thing.

  2. Nice idea but it'll never happen. Some people just can't cycle. They never get the balance thing. I swear it's true. So making it obligatory would be against their human rights. Case closed i'm afraid.

  3. @MiddleAgeCyclist,

    Some people lack the spatial awareness, comprehension of the physics of forces and motion, responsibility and patience required to drive a motor vehicle, and yet we still let them pass their driving tests by 'brute force.' I'm not sure mandatory cycle training (with certain exceptions for the physically disabled etc.) would be in violation of anyone's human rights, after all some types of disability exclude people from driving, but it isn't seen as a human rights issue.

  4. I found the Parents' story heartbreaking to listen to. Something I often say to others is "don't wait for it to happen to you, or someone you know" - too often we take a blasé attitude, or make assumptions.

    Fellow cyclists HAVE to include their families and friends - these people are vehicles to better awareness, education, etc. So too are new cyclists who can state along the lines that they now understand about cycling.

    @MrC - I think we have to remember that learner drivers are asked to do many other things as part of the contract they make with the law and the government when they learn or get their licence. I don't think cycling is a problem for them... what I do fear is that they see it as somehow lesser and a stepping stone rather than the valid transport option it is and the benefits to our health.

  5. @MiddleAgedCyclist - "They never get the balance thing"

    Then offer them the option to 'train' on a tricycle. They will suddenly discover the ability to balance again in order to avoid looking like a right plum.

  6. @paul

    "Then offer them the option to 'train' on a tricycle."

    Brilliant! A simple solution to the balance problem. Good for those with genuine disability and humiliation for those making excuses.

    You should take charge of the campaigning required to bring about the required changes to the law. I'm sure Mr Porter QC can advise.

    I look forward to progress reports. Good luck.