Making cycling mandatory

Making cycling mandatory

Bike Auckland

A radically (sensible) proposal here from the UK’s Guardian: Make getting cycling experience a mandatory part of getting a driver’s license.

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

  • It’s not particularly onerous to add, say, 3-4 hours of practical bike use / training to the license requirements.
  • It  provides a great reality check to those who consider they “know all they need to know” from a few scattered cyclist-related questions in the theory test.
  • Most of all – as CAA found out from helping organise “bus driver/cyclist” workshops – it provides important empathy for a motorist to know what it is like to ride a bike in traffic.

Some would argue that it makes little sense to include it, whatever the safety benefits. After all, we don’t require someone who takes a test in French to also take a few hours of Spanish instruction beforehand, don’t we?

But that really misses the fact that cyclists are an everyday part of our traffic environment. We all know how it feels to walk in traffic. But too many these days don’t know how it feels to cycle in traffic. Making basic cycling knowledge a mandatory part of driving lessons* would be no more unfair to motorists than requring them to learn other safety behaviour.

* Instead of constantly trying to remove the elephant from the room by solely training cyclists.

Heck, the safety benefits in reduced death and injury could mean NZTA could subsidise it 100%, and probably find that it gets some of the best-benefit-cost ratios of their safety programs ever (okay, cycle advocate talking here, but worth a look, eh?).

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