#ShareTheRoadUK campaign under fire for call to make cyclists undertake compulsory training and testing

Ingenie insurance company campaign backed by Gary Lineker and - initially - BikeRadar heavily criticised by cyclists

by Simon_MacMichael   August 22, 2012  

ShareTheRoadUK infographic

An open letter from motor insurance company Ingenie to Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening that called for all cyclists to be required to “undergo compulsory training and testing before they take to the road” has attracted strong criticism from cyclists on social media channels including Twitter.

The letter to Ms Greening formed part of a campaign from Ingenie called #ShareTheRoadUK launched yesterday, accompanied by the infographic pictured above and with heavy promotion on Twitter, including by footballer turned TV presenter Gary Lineker as well as the endorsement, subsequently withdrawn, of cycling website BikeRadar.

Ingenie provides insurance to young motorists who often have trouble securing motor insurance or are charged high premiums, using telematics – also referred to as ‘black box’ technology – to allow it to assess risk on an individual driver basis.

Gary Lineker, brand ambassador to Ingenie as well as an investor in the in the business, had claimed on Twitter, where he has more than 1 million followers, that those cyclists criticising the company’s view were  "only the uncompromising extremist ones."

While Lineker has covered a range of sports in his TV role, cycling isn't one of those, although he did chair last week's launch by Mayor of London Boris Johnson of the RideLondon Olympic legacy event, which the BBC will be broadcasting.

BikeRadar also came under criticism from its users as well as the wider cycling community after initially endorsing the insurance company’s campaign, subsequently pulling the story this afternoon and replacing it with an explanation of its actions, the course of events well summarised in this article on BikeBiz.

Many cyclists’ attitude to the #ShareTheRoadUK campaign were summed up in a tweet from Twitter user John_the_Monkey which said: “CAMPAIGN NEWS: "Share the Cake". In which I eat all the cakes, and if you don't like it, offer you cake training, talk of my cake awareness.”

In its open letter to Ms Greening, Ingenie said:

“ingenie® provides car insurance for 17-25 year olds, many of whom are priced out of the market. We use our black box technology developed with Williams F1 Team to help young drivers improve their driving skills.

“In discussion with our driving community we were struck by the lack of understanding and respect between motorists and cyclists. So we teamed up with RoadSafe, our road safety partner to gain further insight into cycling behaviour.

“We recognise the government’s commitment to making cycling safer and support the cycle safety initiatives to date. We do believe however, that cycle safety education needs to target both cyclists and motorists, and should encourage the sharing of road experiences. In light of this we thought it helpful to share the results of our research with you.

“We issued a survey to 2,000 respondents with some fascinating results. We found that young people were the least knowledgeable about road cycling regulations and the most likely to cycle without taking safety precautions.

“We also found that 65% of cyclists hold a driving licence and so we’re campaigning for a more collaborative approach; we don’t think cyclists and motorists should be viewed as opposing groups.

“We are proposing the following:

  • Mandatory cycle safety should be included in the national curriculum for both primary and secondary schools to help promote co-operation and tolerance between the motorists and cyclists of the future.
  • Mandatory cycle safety elements should be included in the driving theory and practical test.
  • Compulsory training and testing for cyclists before they take to the road.

“Our research shows that people who consider themselves to be both cyclists and motorists are consistently better informed when it comes to cycle safety. They are also more aware of cyclists when driving and tend to cycle more safely. This shows that having an understanding of what it is like to be a cyclist and a motorist could make a difference to cycle safety in the UK.

“We hope that you consider our approach and support our proposals for a shared and safer future on our roads.”

The letter was signed by Ingenie’s chief executive, Richard King, Adrian Walsh, director of Road Safe, and Lineker, described as “Ingenie investor and ambassador.”

26 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Quote:
* Mandatory cycle safety should be included in the national curriculum for both primary and secondary schools to help promote co-operation and tolerance between the motorists and cyclists of the future.
* Mandatory cycle safety elements should be included in the driving theory and practical test.
* Compulsory training and testing for cyclists before they take to the road.

The first two proposals aren't actually bad ones. The third, OTOH...

Andy

posted by ratherbeintobago [32 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 18:59

5 Likes

It seems an awful lot of companies want to jump on the cycling safety bandwagon.

My children had cycle training in Year 6 and the second proposal is fine. The third, well, you might as well have compulsory training for everyone to learn how to be a pedestrian, (actually - that wouldn't be a bad idea - maybe I should write that every pedestrain should have a helmet, training and maybe a registration number on the back of their coat).

posted by Alan Tullett [1465 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 19:26

5 Likes

I think the first two ideas sound reasonable to me

Following the Olympics there is much talk on sporting activities. Cycling is the only sport that can be easily incorporated into a regular life. Encouraging more children to cycle to school would be an excellent idea, and some form of cycle training may be useful in that context

Likewise I am all for compulsory cycle training for would-be motorists. In fact could not Ingenie start the ball rolling by offering cycle training to all its clients? It might be a cheaper option than offering them F1 technology Smile

The latter idea is just way to complicated to be feasible and is a non starter.

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 19:40

7 Likes

I've been cycling for nearly 40 years. So far, touch wood, I've never had a collision with another vehicle and I count myself extremely lucky. I hold a full clean driving licence and I also did my Cycling Proficiency Badge at the age of 7. I no longer have the badge. Absolutely gutted about that.

I have to say that I find holding a driving licence extremely useful because it helps you to understand how motorists drive. They are absolutely desperate to save just 2 seconds and to get home 2 seconds earlier so that they can get home and plonk themselves down on the sofa in front of Eastenders. They drive as if it is the end of the world if they get home 2 minutes late. I, however, have realised that whether I cycle like a madman or cycle gently in my neighbourhood (central London), the time difference is negligible.

When are motorists going to realise that the price of a life (or serious injury) could be just 2 minutes? It really isn't worth it. The TV programme can wait.

BTW, would I be required to undergo extra training? It is the motorists who require the training, not us. They are the one's driving 2 tons lumps of metal. If I cycle badly, 99% of the time it is me that will get injured, not another road user.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 20:35

4 Likes

From a quick web search "ingenie, the car insurance brand for drivers aged 17 to 25" ie the above is a dirty tricks marketing campaign the last thing ingenie want is young people riding bikes. Why is the UK the only European country that treats cyclists as second class citizens? I'm 60 and in the past I never felt as if I had to defend myself for being a cyclist.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 20:44

5 Likes

I like suggestion 1 and 2

I also like 3, as long as it was implemented as part of the school safety system. To feck with testing EVERYONE now.

Start as you mean to go on and implement 1 and 3 in school's and then 2 into the driving test.

Also check out their cycling tips Wink

http://www.ingenie.com/blog/2012/08/sharetheroaduk-tips-for-cyclists

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9038 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 20:46

4 Likes

Personally I wouldn't have a problem if their three suggestions were implemented in the way GKam suggests - 1 and 3 as part of the school curriculum and 2 as part of the driving test.

The idea of testing cyclists now before they are allowed on the road is a nonsense though, drivers have to pass a test to prove they aren't a danger to others. Some other road users may find cyclists a nuisance and an irritatant, but the facts suggest bad cyclists are very rarely a danger to anyone other than themselves.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 21:38

8 Likes

At least they didn't mention road tax.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

Sanderville's picture

posted by Sanderville [229 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 22:01

6 Likes

I agree with all comments - especially LondonPlayer's about the dreadful impatience of motorists. It sounds fogeyish but I think public information films on this issue could make a difference. The government has shut that Dept now and it's policy of not advising on common sense issues over the past 20 years has just given the green light to expand the sense of self entitlement to the point where a cyclist can be killed by a car and the driver feel that it was the cyclists fault for trying the use the road whilst they were in a hurry. Madness.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 23:14

7 Likes

Looking at the standard of some of the driving I see in town, perhaps they should make drivers sit some sort of test. Oh wait, they do, and look how well that works...

posted by Jonathing [53 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 7:04

7 Likes

PaulVWatts wrote:
From a quick web search "ingenie, the car insurance brand for drivers aged 17 to 25" ie the above is a dirty tricks marketing campaign the last thing ingenie want is young people riding bikes. Why is the UK the only European country that treats cyclists as second class citizens? I'm 60 and in the past I never felt as if I had to defend myself for being a cyclist.

Woah there... Yes, I'm sure this ticks some CSR and brand awareness boxes - they're not a charity after all. But not quite sure how it amounts to "dirty tricks".

They've probably done some sums and worked out that quite a few cyclists have cars - and who amongst us would rather insure our cars with a cycling friendly organisation? Nothing wrong with that.

I sometimes wonder why organisations even bother to stick their head above the parapet on cycling as they seem to get flak from some members of the cycling community whatever they do.

FWIW, I think on paper all are pretty sound proposals, though I wonder about what effect the third would have on the numbers of new cyclists if you had to get tested. Can't imagine it would be great news for retailers.

posted by chris75018 [100 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 7:04

4 Likes

Sanderville wrote:
At least they didn't mention road tax.

That'll be the next step. First they'll need an admin charge for issuing the ID, then once they have everyone's details.... Hello! We need to charge a fee for all the extra policing we have to do. It's for your safety!

posted by Nick T [844 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 7:15

7 Likes

Most kids in junior school already take part in the cycling proficiency test, but, tbh, if it helps improve safety, Im all for it.

posted by PhilWalker [31 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 7:26

6 Likes

Um, if young people can't get car insurance, perhaps they should try riding a bike? Or is that too obvious?

posted by Saint Mark [22 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 7:56

6 Likes

Reading the comments above I find myself in agreement with most of the sentiments expressed.

I also see no one has picked up on the fact that the little black box (of F1 technology)that these people are on about DOES NOT improve young peoples driving, it is a gps recorder which logs trips and the posted limits on each road used along with the vehicles speed, this data is then used to increase the premiums of the SPEEDERS it CANNOT differentiate between good and bad drivers only a trained police traffic officer on the spot can.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 8:05

6 Likes

Also I have just looked again at the poster, I wonder where they got the statistics/percentages from and are they right?

I allways baulk when it comes to the contentious issue of wearing headphones on a bike if you claim it is dangerous then you would have to ban all deaf people from being anywhere near a road let alone having a licence (as they are entitled to) all in car entertainment systems, all car phones (even the FEW that are hands free)

If you have the misfortune of being hit by another road user it makes no difference wether you've got headphones or not it is their driving standards that are at fault. rant over (for now)

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 8:18

5 Likes

The one single thing that would make the biggest change to road safety (for all road users) would be mandatory GPS/video recording on all vehicles. The police should have powers to access the data/recording in the event of an accident or suspected offence (speeding, red light jumping, dangerous driving etc). Failure to produce data should be a serious offence under the RTA. The courts should allow prosecutions based solely on the evidence of the data.

The technology for this already exists today and is available for around £200. With mass market take up (ie fitted on every vehicle at time of manufacture) this would reduce dramatically.

posted by qwerky [150 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 8:27

5 Likes

are they going to test those who are already riding on the roads? what happens if they dont 'pass'? will there be a licence? think this is a bit of a stupid idea tbh i think it should be mandatory for younger kids in school to be shown good cycle safety, however a test. are they stupid it's like changing the drinking age limit to 21 what about those who are 18 and are already drinking? you cant all of a sudden stop them. thought we wanted more people to start cycling this is something that will put them off! i think the biggest thing is common sense and a bit more patience and etiquette from some motorists!

posted by titch75 [14 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 8:35

5 Likes

londonplayer wrote:

.

I have to say that I find holding a driving licence extremely useful because it helps you to understand how motorists drive. They are absolutely desperate to save just 2 seconds and to get home 2 seconds earlier so that they can get home and plonk themselves down on the sofa in front of Eastenders. They drive as if it is the end of the world if they get home 2 minutes late. I, however, have realised that whether I cycle like a madman or cycle gently in my neighbourhood (central London), the time difference is negligible.

When are motorists going to realise that the price of a life (or serious injury) could be just 2 minutes? It really isn't worth it. The TV programme can wait.

Have to agree - I ride a motorbike as well and it's amazing watching car drivers from the perspective of a motorcycle. A lot of car drivers will weave from lane to lane to get themselves 2 or 3 vehicles further ahead. And then when they stop at the lights, I slide past 20 cars to get to the front of the queue and without having to try hard or endanger anyone. Those car drivers so desperate to get home that they will weave from lane to lane and cut people up really would reduce their journey times considerably if they switched to bicycles in urban use or motorcycles for longer trip. My journey door to door is 25km from London out to Kent and takes 40-45 minutes by motorbike and rarely less than an hour by car. I know for urban journeys in London cars can rarely match bicycles - my old route through central London was 16km and I even managed that in 37 minutes on a mountainbike at rush hour and without jumping any red lights - I couldn't even beat that on my motorbike, let alone in a car.

I do think one of the reasons car drivers get so exasperated by cyclists on urban roads is that car drivers spend so much time bumper to bumper, inching forward little by little. If they'd actually make the move to get out of the car and onto two wheels, it'd be a revelation for many. And it'd also make the roads a lot less clogged. But too many people are either lazy or scared, or both, and won't try.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 8:39

4 Likes

Compulsory test = bicycle license and therefore a database of bicycle users, how do you fund the testing and establishing maintaining the necessary database? bicycle excise duty no doubt. Once this is achieved it is a simple step to argue that all road users should be insured.

As other suggests the inclusion of 1 & 3 as part of the school curriculum is not a bad idea but how do you include it in the curriculum especially the necessary practical elements. I would perhaps be more in favor of 3 if it was also made compulsory to to have passed the bicycle test and demonstrated safe cycling for 18 month prior to being allowed to apply for a provisional driving license. Although this would hard to achieve so perhaps being required to pass a practical retest after 18 month would be a better approach.

One last thing anyone have any data on insurance claims against motorist by cyclists?

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 9:42

7 Likes

Either road.cc has the link wrong ... or Ingenie have pulled the campaign altogether. Seems to have mysteriously disappeared from their site

posted by simonkenyon [21 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 9:42

3 Likes

simonkenyon wrote:
Either road.cc has the link wrong ... or Ingenie have pulled the campaign altogether. Seems to have mysteriously disappeared from their site

Link was correct... it does seem to have been pulled. Thanks for the spot.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8495 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 10:00

5 Likes

This is obviously quite a clever PR trick to raise awareness of the insurance company. Rattling the cages of cyclists makes the story go viral. Best to ignore.

posted by Scottsparkrider [9 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 10:05

6 Likes

The first two are such good proposals, why they had to spoil it with the third one. Angry

Poor driving is the main danger on the roads either through lack of awareness or just impatience.

posted by thereverent [318 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 11:04

5 Likes

“ingenie® provides car insurance for 17-25 year olds, many of whom are priced out of the market."

Insurance is very expensive for those young drivers as they are a very high risk.
I remember how my friends drove at ages 17-21 (I didn't have a car) and am amazed we all survived.

posted by thereverent [318 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 11:10

5 Likes

qwerky wrote:
The one single thing that would make the biggest change to road safety (for all road users) would be mandatory GPS/video recording on all vehicles.

This kind of techno-totalitarianism is something we should all be standing up against before it's too late.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

Sanderville's picture

posted by Sanderville [229 posts]
25th August 2012 - 12:05

3 Likes