Cycle training compulsory?

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  • We don't have a thread on this question, which keeps coming up every once in a while (not only in the way discussed below, but also with suggestions to make Bikeability compulsory). Personally, I don't think it's a good idea to make any form of cycle training compulsory, and I'm pretty sure a majority of or most cycle trainers would agree, although it should certainly become much more widely available and more popular.

    It's just been brought to mind by this story:­y-most-cyclists-back-compulsory-cycle-tr­aining

    Not surprisingly, the survey was 'commissioned' by an insurance company. Far be it from me to suggest that insurance companies have some kind of interest in imposing more conditions on people that could, perish the thought, be used to withhold insurance payouts.

    Needless to say, this isn't about cycle training/Bikeability as we know it, either. It's just some kind of 'training', however that might be set up, and reflects current strongly-held prejudice. There's a fair guess that many respondents would have had something like the driving test in mind, as that's by far the best-known example of mode-based proficiency assessment, and in thinking about this, it is necessary to consider the implied parallelism with the driving test.

    The driving test is compulsory, but there are many problems with it, such as the exam-based nature of it (people cramming, being set up to fail, and forgetting content), the resulting sense of entitlement ('you cyclists don't have to do a test'), over-estimation of one's own skills (as warned against by Churchill), the subsequent lack of enforcement and consequent disregard by drivers of road traffic legislation, etc.

    Bob Davis has written on the driving test:­e-driving-test-for-notes-on-its-social-f­unction-at-the-80th-anniversary/

    While, fortunately, road traffic casualties have been declining for the most part, I think he's right to say that not much (if anything) has changed in respect of the driving test.

    Cycle training/Bikeability, of course, works on quite a different model than the driving test; for starters, it is learning outcome-based and not finishable by some kind of exam, doesn't set trainees up to fail, is flexible and non-institutionalised, and so forth.

    Were such efforts to impose a compulsory exam on budding cyclists successful, the most likely candidate for the 'training' wouldn't be cycle training as we know it, but most likely some kind of regression to 'Cycling Proficiency' ('I failed my Cycling Proficiency'), possibly in age-based stages, and undoubtedly infused with the toxic scaremongering of helmets and hi-viz. Do not want.

  • I've previously wondered on the effect of making Bikeability L3 completion a pre-requisite to getting provisional driving licence.

    Would take a few years to filter through (50ish) so probably not have huge impact in our lifetimes but could help future generations maybe.

    Would create a huge demand for cycle training & instructors too i'd guess.

    There'll be a flaw though, there always is.

  • Telling some 6 ft 4 meathead he isn't getting his driving licence because you didn't like the way he cycled through a junction could be one flaw.

  • Just look him straight in the eye, pause a second and say 'you know it, I know it, that was shit.


  • That comment hasn't really taken the debate very far, apologies.

    Cycle training should not be compulsory from the standpoint of making sure every driver reaches a decent technical level when riding a bike. It's not necessary.

    What is necessary is the understanding of what good and bad cycling looks like, how to drive properly (I would add 'around cyclists' but appropriate driving style and technique should be exactly the same regardless of traffic when one finds oneself in a built up area) and reinforcement that there is no hierarchy.

  • I'm really not sure.

    On the one hand it sounds amazing to have a huge amount of work appear but thinking about it more I don't think the current number of instructors would cope. Sudden mass training with providers just putting out anyone to fill the demand could happen and then generally lower standards and weird unexpected stuff follows.

    Have seen 2 ideas for compulsory cycle training/bikeability with either school kids and it being added to the curriculum or adults and being part of driving lessons or tests.

    Of them I prefer the school kids idea but the expectation of all parents everywhere buying bikes for maybe 10hrs of lesson time isn't really going to work, the other solution of all schools having a fleet of bikes and then somehow being able to make space for them is iffy too and the last idea of instructors lugging around 10+ bikes in assorted child sizes doesn't really work either. It's not impossible it's just a logistical nightmare that comes with.

    Looking at how sparse the driving test is I'm not sure how much or what would be included. It's nice to think it would be a full level 1+2 but I'd guess it will be dumbed down or scaled back and that's where the problems are as all the teaching points are layered onto the ones learned before like a deck of cards. I also think after a few years driving instructors and driving schools would expand to provide all that they needed to learner drivers which could raise more quality issues.

  • Or perhaps cycle training providers supply schools with a fleet of bikes transported from school to school where they are needed.

    It's done in Islington. And it does work. No logistical nightmare.

    They run four day courses, then on the Friday, a van goes to the schools that have had training that week and takes these babies to the next week's schools.

    Simple, easy. And the bikes can be quickly adjusted to fit kids of all shapes and sizes.

  • Compulsory anything is problematic...
    I wonder if passing a standardised road cycling training course guaranteeing a significant reduction in car insurance premiums would help in some way?
    It's already recognised in insurance that regular cyclists make for safe drivers; if the passing of a test was seen as an accolade (like all that IAM bollocks) then all the macho right-hand-at-12 o'clock type drivers might start changing their ways...
    Or not.

  • Compulsory anything is problematic...

    Of course, imagine how much better things would be out on the roads if the driving test wasn't compulsory.

  • Instead of self-entitled shitty drivers, this place would just be full of shitty drivers?

  • Instead of self-entitled shitty drivers, this place would just be full of self-entitled shittier drivers?


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Cycle training compulsory?

Posted by Avatar for Oliver Schick @Oliver Schick