A Driving Instructor's Blog

This story appears on a bicycle-oriented website. I’m sure there is a word to describe what is going on here, but the nearest I can get is “obtuse”:


adj. ob·tus·er, ob·tus·est

a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.

b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity

At the moment, all those taking the side of the cyclist appear incapable of using logic and identifying the root cause of the problems which have resulted in a number of rider fatalities over the last couple of months. In this case, a survey has revealed that…

One in three drivers in a new survey have said that among issues outside their control, cyclists are the biggest risk to road safety…

This, of course, means that pro-cycling people like David Williams, the motoring correspondent of the London Evening Standard, conclude…

…[that] cycle awareness training [should] be made part of the driving test.

It reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon, where in response to his obtuse boss using similar warped logic, Dilbert says:

It looks like you’ve gained weight. Would you like me to exercise to take care of that too?

This is exactly the same. The overall problem is with the cyclists, not the drivers. In fact, this is the article where it is mentioned that cycling participation in London has trebled in the last decade, but Boris Johnson wants to at least double it again. And Williams’ naive response to this is that motorists “…will have a lot more adapting to master.”

Williams calls for cycle awareness to be made a compulsory part of the driving test. How does he think they would do this?

Cyclists are a major road hazard that virtually all learner drivers have to deal with on lessons. They KNOW that they have to give them a wide berth – often, the problem is pulling them back so they don’t end up driving into someone’s garden on the opposite side of the road! They KNOW that hitting a cyclist is bad. And there are so many cyclists out there behaving like morons that they get LOTS of practice dealing with them. No driving instructor will be teaching anything that goes against these principles. Therefore, not one learner going to test is under any sort of dangerous delusion concerning cyclists.

Of course, Williams doesn’t explain how his brilliant idea would actually be assessed on test, and I don’t suppose for a second that he has considered how many tests already involve dealing with cyclists – above and beyond the experience they get on lessons.

It’s amusing that the article also goes into detail about drivers using mobile phones and social media while driving. As you might expect from a pro-cycling website, it makes no mention of the number of cyclists who routinely engage in these things, or that there is no Law covering their behaviour.

Note the earlier comments I made on this subject over a year ago.

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