May 28, 2013

New Plans to Highlight Cyclist Care for Learner Drivers

Two of the UK’s most popular driving schools have revealed plans to teach cyclist awareness to its pupils.

Both the AA Driving School and the British School of Motoring have announced their decision to introduce a module to their lessons to encourage their students how to correctly avoid accidents with cyclists.

Amongst the key points of this new initiative are worksheets highlighting key facts and statistics about cyclists on UK roads, aimed to promote the consideration motorists show cyclists on a daily basis.

The main aim of the move is to reduce the amount of accidents involving drivers and cyclists. Last year the number of cyclists killed on British roads was at its highest in five years, with 122 killed in 2012- 14 of which were in London alone.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, has spoken of the new plans, saying: “I am personally committed to breaking down the ‘two-tribes’ attitude displayed between some drivers and cyclists. I am convinced that this initiative will change attitudes and save lives.”

Mark Peacock, the head of BSM, added to this with: “It can be intimidating and confusing for learners the first few times they come across a cyclist. Understanding why cyclists behave in certain ways, such as avoiding potholes or how they are affected in strong winds, is key to being safe around them.”

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond welcomed the initiative, saying Anything that improves the safety of cyclists is to be welcomed, and it is great to see driving schools taking the initiative to build on what is already in the driving syllabus.”

One of the main issues highlighted by those in charge is the tribal attitude tantamount to rivalry in terms of the relationship between drivers and cyclists, which the move intends to eliminate. To this end, Scottish government agency Transport Scotland launches its “mutual respect” campaign later to this year, to encourage positive relationships between users of both transport forms.

The CEO of Cycling Scotland (a charity funded by Transport Scotland) Ian Aitken has said of the plans: “Research carried out for our campaign revealed that many drivers are simply unsure of the correct way to pass cyclists.”

The problems highlighted here seem to be much more prominent north of the border. The number of cyclists injured or killed in Scotland has risen in recent years, with recent figures suggesting that the average number of victims was 143 per annum between 2004-2008, with this number rising to 156 on average between 2007-2011.

Scotland has been a pro-cycling nation for some time, even launching a government-backed Action Plan for cyclists three years ago, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that 10% of journeys will be undertaken on a bicycle by the year 2020.

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