/ Motoring

Should drivers be made to get their cycling proficiency?

Bicycle on blue background

Cycle safety is rarely out of the news, but what can be done to improve it? One idea is to make cycling proficiency a compulsory part of the driving licence – a good move or just another hurdle for drivers?

On my commute this morning I noticed a gent having his statement taken by police while examining his car. Next to him was a cyclist holding up their half-mangled bike and being attended to for cuts and bruises. It’s sadly a regular sighting on our roads today.

Our debate on cycle helmets touched many of you as we received more than 200 comments arguing both for and against the compulsory use of cycle helmets. Helmets are one option but other suggestions include improving road layouts and cycle systems.

Funding for cycle safety

The Department for Transport announced it was investing £15m into cycling safety in June of this year. Funding is a positive move, but some feel there’s still a ‘them and us’ attitude between cyclists and drivers.

An interesting idea I stumbled upon could help break these attitudes down. The Guardian’s Tom Richards asked if cycling proficiency should be a compulsory part of the driving licence. Now, for those of you thinking cycling around plastic cones in a school playground is a bit basic, it can actually cover much more realistic scenarios and is now delivered by qualified instructors rather than volunteers.

The latest cycling proficiency tests, branded Bikeability, encompasses three levels, ranging from learning how to control your bike to using complex junctions and road features. Admittedly these tests are still aimed at teenagers but there are opportunities for adults to complete advanced skills courses.

Taking us back to our childhood

Much like the HGV licence requires drivers to acquire a full driving licence for a car first, partly to help understand other road users, the advanced cycle skills course could be beneficial to motor vehicle drivers to fully understand how bike users think and act on the road. Interestingly though, the cycling proficiency test isn’t even compulsory for cyclists, so perhaps introducing that should be the first step…

Should cycling tests be a mandatory part of your driving licence and would this improve cycle safety? Or perhaps cyclists should be made to take their driving licence before being allowed on their bikes?

Should drivers have to get their cycling proficiency?

It should be encouraged, but not compulsory (41%, 102 Votes)

Yes - it should be compulsory (32%, 79 Votes)

No - it's just another hurdle for drivers (27%, 67 Votes)

Total Voters: 254

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Comments
Guest
Ian Hargreaves says:
3 January 2013

“Having put ‘bicycle number plates’ through Google, it now appears (somewhat surprisingly) that Mayor Boris rather supports this idea.” Most cyclist support the idea of it, it’s just not workable.

“Some of today’s comments feel emotional and ‘messianic’ thus for me they are not worth debating as the authors are fighting for what they consider to be their ‘rights’ and mostly will not entertain any other view or concerns in a cool and rational manner.”

You avoiding parts of the discussion?

Guest
BikeNut says:
8 December 2013

Ian,

Are you still doing bike courier service? I’ve just taken a temp job, here in Manchester, that allows me to work a few hours per week, when I want to, and doesn’t interfere with my main job. They’re paying me £15 p/hour. They need one more person, and I thought you might be interested. If so, give me your gmail address and they will contact you.

Mathieu

Guest
Ianhargreaves says:
8 December 2013

Yes, definitely interested. I’m studying part-time, and need a part-time job.

[Sorry Ian, we don’t allow personal contact details on Which? Convo. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Ianhargreaves says:
8 December 2013

J.D.? Do you have any interim details? Where? What radius?

This is a bike messenger job, I presume?

Cheers.

Guest
BikeNut says:
8 December 2013

J.D. handles hiring. It is GMX corporate office. They handle courier services for several businesses in the Manchester area. Mostly banks. They have my contact info on file, and when they need a pick-up/delivery that is near me, they usually let me know a day before what they need. I just go there anytime before 6 p.m. the next day to pick it up. It has never required me to travel more than about 10k from my flat. Usually 2 or 3 times per week. They figure my time at about 1 hour for 5k of travel, LOL. So, it works out pretty good for me. They mail my check each Friday. So far it’s been about £75 p/week for about 3 or 4 hours of biking. Not getting rich, but it helps.
I have to be honest. They have a referral program. So, if they do hire you, and you stay on for at least a month, they’ll give me £25. They do the same for everyone. You and I had talked on a biking post a while back and I thought you might be interested.

Guest

Sweet, cheers for this dude. This will be a god-send while I’m at uni.

Ian

Guest
Ian Hargreaves says:
9 December 2013

Hi Mate, any luck passing my details on?

Guest
BikeNut says:
10 December 2013

I did pass along your e-mail. Have they not contacted you? If not, I can call them tomorrow to check.

Cheers.

Guest
BikeNut says:
10 December 2013

I did pass along your e-mail. Have they not contacted you? If not, I can call them tomorrow to ensure they received.

Cheers.

Guest
BikeNut says:
11 December 2013

Ian, they sent you an e-mail. They told me that if you don’t see it, you may need to check your spam folder. They have seen that happen with gmail before.

Mathieu

Guest
John G says:
3 January 2013

Ian Hargreaves,

No, not at all.

It is just that some work issues need close attention.

Thanks for asking.