A petition calling for cycle awareness to be made part of the driving test has gained more than 10,000 signatures since it was launched earlier this month, but needs another 90,000 if it is to stand a chance of being debated in the House of Commons.
The petition was posted to the government’s e-petitions website by Mike Higgins from Kibworth, Leicestershire and has received support from high-profile cyclists including former world and Olympic champion Chris Boardman and multiple Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey.
Road Safety - Driving Test and Highway Code
Responsible department: Department for Transport
Whilst the driving theory test has some optional cycling awareness questions, not everyone is tested with these and the practical driving test does not have any particular focus on cyclists. If drivers are not trained to be aware of cyclists and how to drive around them they will retain the lack of awareness after they pass their test. British Cycling supports the motoring organisations which are calling for harder tests and the inclusion of cycle awareness in the test.
British Cycling's manifesto says: changes to the driving test to make cycle awareness a core part of driver training and testing with emphasis on how much space to give cyclists and how to safely overtake cyclists.
We need to make this happen and stop people being needlessly killed on the roads.
Mr Higgins told the Harbrough Mail that his decision to launch the petition was partly influenced by the death of cyclist Adam Bennett in Kibworth last November, whose widow had been in touch with him after she learnt about the initiative to thank him for it.
He said: “To be honest, getting from 9,000 to 10,000 has been slow and I was beginning to wonder if I would get there, but now with 10,000 and an email of support from Becky Bennett, I’m reinvigorated.”
Local councillor Phil King has asked Conservative MP Sir Edward Garnier, who represents Hanborough, to raise the issue with ministers.
“In a short space of time local residents have shown their strong support for such a measure, which in my mind is long overdue,” said the councillor.
“I hope that Edward Garnier can persuade his Government colleagues that these improvements are required, so hopefully dreadful tragedies like the one in Shearsby last year can be prevented.”
You can sign the petition, which remains open until 8 January 2014, here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.