The benefits of the uptake of cycling are incontrovertible and are already well rehearsed, including social, health and environmental factors. As the 2012 Olympics hove into view the likely successes of British Cycling will result in another generation starting cycling. This, combined with all of the enterprises currently running in the Cycling Demonstration Towns and the adoption of the tax efficient Business Bikes scheme has led to the greatest increase in cycling since the War. However, as traffic levels rise, the importance of cycle training cannot be impeached.
Bikeability is a wholly different concept from the old cycling proficiency test. The latter was about the equivalent of Bikeability’s first level. The second and third levels provide skills that boost confidence and instill road craft and so overcome many of the apprehensions and dangers that either deter the prospective cyclists or lead them into harms way.
But more important still are the benefits of educating the motorists of the future about sharing the highways with cyclists. The cost of injury accidents in human, social and economic terms cannot be overestimated. Cycling England’s tuition is instrumental in teaching tomorrow’s drivers the importance of anticipation and awareness of a large and growing group of vunerable road users.
Most accidents involving cyclists and motorized vehicles would be avoided if the drivers in question had been prepared to extend their journey time by as little as a minute. A trained cyclist turned driver is more likely to do that once he or she takes to the road in a car.
The reduction in accident casualties is the true value of this investment in training and one which will be recouped many fold over as the new millennium develops.