Research carried out by driving school RED, reveals that 75 per cent of its 600 instructors believe the driving test should include a cycle awareness element.
Ian McIntosh, CEO at RED Driving School, said: “Latest statistics show that cyclist casualties have increased by 10 per cent, with a 13 per cent rise in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (DfT Q1 stats). Although we are all aware of the importance of road safety, things need to change if our roads are going to become safer.
“With more people taking to their bikes it’s likely that road accidents could increase. Now, more than ever, we need to crack down on careless, dangerous driving, focusing on education and training to improve road safety.
“Although inclusion of cycling and motorcycling awareness in the UK driving test would be a step in the right direction, a change in perception and emphasis on education is what’s really needed. Current and future road users need to be taught how to use the road safely, to minimise accidents and serious incidents. If attitudes are to change, road safety education needs to start from a very young age.
“Instructors are regular road users and responsible for the development of new drivers’ skills. Their recommendations and opinions should feature highly in education around road use and testing processes, whether related to cyclists or other vehicle users.”
Martin Gibbs, British Cycling’s policy and legal affairs director, welcomed RED’s call to action: “British Cycling is keen to see a culture of mutual respect on the roads so welcomes the call by RED’s driving instructors for more cyclist awareness in the driving test. This is a key action in our Road Safety Manifesto and something our members, the majority of whom are both drivers and cyclists, strongly support.
“We want to see learner drivers educated to see cyclists as legitimate road users who have a right to be treated with respect and consideration. We are also calling for drivers to learn safe overtaking manoeuvres.”
88 per cent of those surveyed also stated they'd like to see more cycle training from a young age.
McIntosh added: “The Government should reintroduce cycling proficiency in schools or at least facilitate partnerships between schools and The National Standards for Cycle Training, which was established as a unified cycle training programme to promote road safety.
“Driving tuition is one area in particular where RED can make a real difference. The inclusion of cycling awareness will teach learner drivers to be aware of cyclists and how to react in a number of situations, making them safer, more responsible drivers. ”