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Your cycling fallacy is…

Higher standards of driving would make cycling safe

“Higher standards of driving, through training and testing, would allow everyone to share the road safely”

The response

Higher standards of driving, due to improved training and more stringent testing, may help to make cycling a little safer. However, countless attempts have been made for over 80 years to get people to “share the road” safely, with little or no success.

While there will always be an anti-social and aggressive minority who will resist ‘education’, even the best-trained and best-intentioned people can make genuine mistakes when driving – human beings are not perfect, and motor vehicles are potentially dangerous machines.

It is fear of motor traffic itself that overwhelmingly discourages people from cycling, not just bad driving specifically. No amount of driver training will relieve these genuine worries, because the end result still involves someone on a light, low-powered machine trying to share roads which are dominated by high-powered vehicles weighing hundreds of kilograms and travelling much faster.

Even if 100% perfect driving could be achieved, cycling in motor traffic would remain an unpleasant and intimidating experience for most people, as it involves interacting with fast, heavy machines at close range. The most sensible – and proven to be safest – strategy to enable cycling is to limit the number of interactions with motor vehicles, through good design which separates cycling from driving as much as possible.