Learner drivers to be taught how to take care around cyclists

Written by Ellie

Driving instructors will receive bespoke training in a pilot scheme designed to make learner drivers more aware of cyclists.

The £500,000 scheme will provide training to driving instructors to ensure that the safety of cyclists is at the forefront of their minds when they teach new drivers.

On top of this training, a new UK-wide initiative has been launched to help the police crackdown on the dangerous practice of ‘close passing’, which leads to accidents and discourages people from cycling.

Police forces will be equipped with training materials and support to help make more drivers aware of the need to leave safe distances when overtaking cyclists.

Enormous benefits

“The benefits of cycling and walking are enormous,” said cycling minister Jesse Norman as he launched the scheme at Manchester’s Cycle City Active City conference.

“For people, it means cheaper travel and better health. For businesses, it means increased productivity and increased footfall in shops, and for society as a whole, it means lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places.”

Mr Norman also stressed that drivers need know how to handle cyclists in any given situation.

“We shouldn’t only concentrate on catching and punishing drivers when they make a mistake, but try to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to drive safely alongside cyclists in all conditions,” he added.

Motorists are more considerate now

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said the pilot scheme was “a fantastic first step” towards ensuring that drivers are made aware of and understand both cyclists’ needs and their safety.

Motorists have become more considerate towards cyclists while the number of close-passer reports in the West Midlands have halved, according to PC Mark Hodson from West Midlands Police’s road harm reduction unit.

He added: “The number of cyclists seriously hurt in collisions fall by a fifth – that’s incredible against a backdrop of increasing numbers of people cycling on our roads.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “It’s great to know that motorists are taking greater care around cyclists, but there is still much to be done and hopefully this pilot scheme will raise even more awareness.”

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Photo: marcduf/iStock

Posted on 9th July 2018

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