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You are here > Today message boards > Deleted > Compulsory tests for cyclists?

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Compulsory tests for cyclists?

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Message 1 - posted by Today-Editorial-Team (U6615985) , Mar 25, 2007

The government's expanding the scheme which offers training to cyclists.Cyclists often complain motorists made their journeys a nightmare but many motorists say too many cyclists travel without proper equipment.Is it time to make tests for cyclists compulsory or is it up to motorists to take more care?
       

Message 2 - posted by View from the North (U2337741) , Mar 26, 2007

Not MORE tests please! It will be tests for walking on the pavements next!

And of course motorists should take far more care. Too many forget the lethal nature of the machine they drive.

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Message 3 - posted by Bladonm (U7908825) , Mar 26, 2007

Having been a recreational cyclist for more than 40 years I have observed a fall in the courtesy road users afford one another. I am a driver too and am appalled at how little regard is often paid to other road users. A cyclist is seen as a low grade road user by many drivers. Someone who just shouldn't be on "their" roads.

Yes, young cyclist should be helped with cycling proficiency. Back in 1969 I recall the pride with which we took our bikes to school on the day of our proficiency test and the resulting metal badge we were able to display to show our proficiency... how things have changed.

Let's get more people using bikes again. How do we do this... Well, that is the conundrum. I wouldn't fancy taking my heavy laptop on my back on the 13 miles journey I have to work. But, then I haven't tried it yet. Perhaps I shall.

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Message 4 - posted by mrsanna (U7908828) , Mar 26, 2007

I think it's great to make cyclist aware of the highway code and safe ways of moving in traffic. This cycling test should also be compulsory for physically able people taking a driving license. This would make drivers aware of what it is like cycling in a busy town environment and maybe be slightly more understanding.

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Message 5 - posted by MarkGE (U5944245) , Mar 26, 2007

Is it time to make tests for cyclists compulsory or is it up to motorists to take more care?

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I apologise if this places a thought in the narrow minds of a few politicians, but if tests become compulsory there will have to be a licencing system, and registration for cycles so they can be sure the rider is actually licenced. The fact that this will mean they can track even more of our movements will be seen as a very desirable side effect. Perhaps we should do as the government want and never leave our (elfnsafety certified) secure nursing homes from birth to death.

There is room for more consideration from drivers; if a cyclist has an accident, he hurts only himself but when drivers have accidents they tend to hurt everyone but themselves. There is no more room in the country for any more compulsion of any sort.

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Message 6 - posted by mcyrhul (U7908840) , Mar 26, 2007

I cycled in central London and other cities for 15 years before learning to drive a car, and I passed my driving test first time. I think partly because I had had to learn all the potential dangers of busy roads.

Instead of trying to regulate cyclists, why not make learner drivers learn much more about the terrible consequences if they make mistakes? There is still nothing in the driving tests, practical or theoretical, which forces drivers to understand the danger of their vehicles.

In places with more than a critical mass of cyclists - Oxford, Amsterdam - drivers are forced to take far more care and attention on the roads.

Anyone in government checked the accident figures, per cyclist, of those cities? I bet they haven't.

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Message 7 - posted by bathos (U7908896) , Mar 26, 2007

We cyclists are a menace to those poor defenceless car drivers, including those who never drink and drive, who do not use their mobiles while on the wheel, who do not speed, who never go pass a red light... yes, we kill hundreds every year!

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Message 8 - posted by djgreenjean (U7908853) , Mar 26, 2007

I think that it is the motorist who should be tested on how they should behave on the road when they encounter a cyclist.

I base this on my experience as a cyclist of thirty more years.

Most motorists are unaware of how they should react to cyclists on the road. They do not leave sufficient space between them and the bike and park on designated cycle lanes. The 'sail before steam' notion has long since gone. The motorist believes that they are rulers of the road.

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Message 9 - posted by eclipsey (U7908862) , Mar 26, 2007

I live in the Cambridge area (having grown up living in London) and cannot believe the way the cyclists behave on the roads and pavements. Although the majority of cyclises are careful and sensible on the roads, I am regularly insensed by the increasing number who cut up motorists trying to turn at a junction and run red lights and cause motorists to swerve.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't witness dangerous and irresponsible behaviour from a cyclist. Come October and the roads in Cambridge are full of novice cyclists, just arrived at University, all wobbling along the roads - the sight of them sends shivers up my spine !!

I resent the way anyone can get on a bicycle, have no training regarding the highway code, no insurance, can cause a major accident between cars and can just cycle away with no liability.

In an ideal world we would all be on bicycles, they are better for us and better for the environment, but this is not an ideal world and the road has rules for a very good reason. It is about time cyclists were forced to adhere to these rules.

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Message 10 - posted by simple1s (U4600561) , Mar 26, 2007

There are too many problems to make this compulsory (eg huge bureaucratic burden).
What is needed is a change in the level of cycling skill, by structured training of cyclists at school, and a change in the mindset of drivers. The latter could be improved by inclusion of information relating to cycling & other road users in the driving tests.

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Message 11 - posted by wrwills (U7908892) , Mar 26, 2007

Tests will discourage new cyclists, and as was argued on the radio, cycling both feels and is safer as more cyclists take to the roads. Much of the behaviour of cyclists criticised by motorists is a consequence of feeling unsafe. I challenge anyone to commute in London without feeling they are in the midst of a war.

The red lights issue raised its head again. One reason cyclists run some red lights is that many of them are from a cyclist's point of view (some motorists might also feel the same), ridiculous. When faced with the choice between slipping quickly across an empty intersection and waiting for the lights to change so they can be engulfed by the noise and fumes of impatient motorists gunning their engines to make it to the next set of lights a few 100 meters away (and push you ever closer to the side of the road as they compete with each other to get across before the 2 lanes change into 1 as the bus lane comes into effect), I submit that it is quite reasonable for a cyclist to feel safer taking the former option.

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Message 12 - posted by legendaryAndreaE (U7908908) , Mar 26, 2007

In my view, as someone who work in Edinburgh its is motorists who need to be educated in how to be considerate to cyclists. Motorists appeat to regard cyclists as unworthy of being on the road and just a nuisance, slowing them down. However, cyclists have every right to be on the road and in fact motorists should be overly considerate to them as it means there is one less car on the road. Cyling reducing congestion, improves air quality and reduces CO2 emissions, easing climate chnage. It also makes people less stressed and more healthy - unless of course they are hit by a car or choke on the fumes produced by a car.
So the only test I can see that is needed is for cyclists and perhaps also for traffic wardens who need to learn to book those cars parked in cycle lanes.

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Message 13 - posted by Bromptonman (U7908878) , Mar 26, 2007

The creation of such a practical test is long overdue, as children, and more importantly parents lack the confidence to cycle on Britain's busier streets today. However, if we really want to make roads safer for vulnerable groups - cyclists, horse riders and people using mobility vehicle, then anyone wishing to drive a car, should also complete the new cycling test. This would then provide all drivers with the necessary perspective of how to use their vehicle, when sharing the road space with others.

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Message 14 - posted by Dai Bath (U2444609) , Mar 26, 2007

Kevin Mayne, who was interviewed on Today, has about as much ability to analyse Cycling matters, as a pig in a poke, along with most other Cycle touring Gang members who are mainly dedicated to cycle killing and death on the A and Trunk roads of these islands, not least of the members of his Cycle touring company,
a pseudo charity, based on commercial cycle touring holidays and a management and officer bureaucracy, with perks for all the boys.

I can see the point of Stern's exagerated comments on the basis that if ALL cyclists were banned from the roads of London, then there would bve no cycling fatalities in London.

The opposite pole, up which Mr Mayne is arguing, is that there should be no cars on the road, so that cyclists do not get injured! (they still would, by falling off)

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Message 15 - posted by joth76 (U7908905) , Mar 26, 2007

Bike riders who jump red lights, ride on pavements, and disobey other traffic rules clearly demonstrate they have little regard for road law. So why will a compulsory test change their behaviour? Such a move would be a burden on cyclists who wish to operate within the law, but have little effect on those who choose to ignore it. The only way it could be made to work is with considerable (near draconian) effort is in policing -- policing which would be much better spent addressing the root problems of errant cyclist behaviour, and the errant drivers that scare cyclists off of roads in the first place.

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Message 16 - posted by williamsdottir (U7908855) , Mar 26, 2007

Road conditions are not suitable for this sort of project.

The government could support projects like Sustrans and finance the development of a national system of cycle tracks, provide cycle tracks around every town giving access to schools and other local facilities.

In parts of Scandinavia I believe town planning begins with the transport needs of local children and other vulnerable members of society, rather than business or car usage as here.

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Message 17, Mar 26, 2007

This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

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Message 18 - posted by chrisbashforth (U7908843) , Mar 26, 2007

A 'test' sounds attractive especially when you see inconsiderate road-usage but it raises a series of questions that will be difficult to resolve:
1) who provides the training? - there's none available in our area for primary kids until year 6 and then its too late. It needs to start at reception class.
2) who enforces the tests - will we have bike-police chasing the kiddies up the high street asking to see their papers and confiscating their bikes!
3) Who administers the paperwork? - will it be another DVLA - there are an awful lot of bikers in the UK
4) who pays for it all?

And if we are trying to promote cycling as family transport, particularly on the school-run, it needs to be much easier to arrange lessons, overcome local traffic dangers, encourage biking-clubs amongst the under-10s, etc. Having tried to do all these things I can tell you its mired in legal issues and bureaucracy.

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Message 19 - posted by majick69 (U7908924) , Mar 26, 2007

Sadly there are inconsiderate cyclists - however accidents caused by cyclists are rare and unlikely to be serious. Whereas an inconsiderate or careless motorist will kill - perhaps we should test all motorists...oh, we do.

In london it's not the roads that are too narrow, it's the thinking. Until we move away from the mindset where the car is king we are unlikely to see an increase in cycling.

We need policy whereby a larger vehicle is held responsible for incident with a smaller until proved otherwise as I believe they have in Norway. Also, more enforcement of the basic rules of driving - like indicating, as well as punishments for cyclists who insist on breaking the law.

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Message 20 - posted by Bromptonman (U7908878) , Mar 26, 2007

The introduction of the congestion charge in London, together with added infrastructure and cycle maps, has increased cycling trips by at least 30%. There are less accidents, traffic moves more freely, reducing delays, and the levels of pollution are falling.

As Kevin said in the report, all responsible cycling organisations, condemn irresposible behaviour. Indeed my own cycling organisation - the 'Cycle Campaign Network', supports the 'Stop At Red' campaign, which encourages cyclists to obey traffic lights.




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