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Initiative launched by Leicestershire cyclist needs 100,000 people to back it if it is to be debated in House of Commons

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.

It reads:

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.

21 comments

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egb [43 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed. Strangely, I was just making this point with a friend this morning. It's especially poignant being a Bristolian with the news of the couple killed yesterday.

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lolol [194 posts] 3 years ago
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Sign it and share it I say, its got to be a good thing

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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excellent! this just may work, nothing is going to happen unless something like this is initiated.

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nemysys [49 posts] 3 years ago
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Starting to trend on the e-petition web site.

All concerned cyclists / road users should sign this petition as soon as possible...

Even today...!

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fatbeggaronabike [815 posts] 3 years ago
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A big thank you to Mike Higgins for setting this up, have just added my name.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed. Maybe a RT to Twitter would help too?

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notfastenough [3683 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed and sent to the club email list...

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mingmong [259 posts] 3 years ago
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Thank you Mr Higgins.

I have signed.

Anything that raises awareness is a good thing.

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Gepin [59 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed.

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Argos74 [392 posts] 3 years ago
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Up to nearly 12,000 signatures, including mine. Mr Higgins, I take my beanie off to you, and will spread the word.

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Tjuice [194 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone got close enough links to Cav or Wiggo to get a very high profile RT on twitter?

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Mostyn [396 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed and the wife also signed the petition.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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That's my x put down and word out.

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BearstedCC [80 posts] 3 years ago
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Well Done and Thank you 'Higgo'

I am number 13010

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Andrew Fraser [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Aren't drivers under training currently obliged to learn the Highway Code?

This already deals with cyclists and other road users - including how to overtake cyclists:

https://www.gov.uk/road-users-requiring-extra-care-204-to-225/motorcycli...

If that's failing, then might there not be something else the petition ought to address?

In fact, greater awareness on the part of all road users of the content of this article might be more helpful:

http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists/

I'm sure it appeared in road.cc towards the end of last year.

I have a feeling that the petition, well-intentioned though it may be is just another distraction.

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toothache90 [39 posts] 3 years ago
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whilst there is a small mention in the Highway code for motorcyclists and cyclists. The petition is asking to debate for the test (probably theory)to include additional awareness tests for cyclists.

Although i do remember in the video awareness tests to include a cyclist in one of the test and another crossing at a pelican.

Yet what more can be done to make drivers aware of cyclists? We see public notice campaigns on tv, buses, bill boards to "Think Bike" (mostly motorcyclists) so why not do the same hard hitting tv campaigns for cyclists?
What really needs to be addressed is the disparate sentencing when a cyclist is killed by a motorist, that is the worst kind of campaign for the safety of cyclists.

What's the odds that the judge will give the killer of the tandem couple a lesser sentence bc he gave himself up? Yet the CPS guidelines on "Death caused by dangerous driving" clearly would put it at a LEVEL 1 (the most serious) and that's including the mitigating factors that the driver failed to stop when police informed him, driving without a license, insurance, plus multiple deaths automatically puts it in a LEVEL 1. Who knows what other factors i.e. driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, previous driving convictions...

I hope the CPS really do push for the law to be applied to the fullest. 8 years in prison but times that by 2 for the 2 people he killed so 16 years. Then we should see the right kind of message and campaign done by the Justice system for cyclists.

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SPAM Naval [139 posts] 3 years ago
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signed.now well over 13000 signatures

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charliegirl2008 [6 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed. Let's hope it works. With the number of cyclists using the roads these days I'm surprised awareness isn't already included.

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Tour Le Tour [87 posts] 3 years ago
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Signed. It certainly isn't the complete solution, but I believe every time someone is asked about a topic and has to answer, it will increase awareness.

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preebissessur [1 post] 3 years ago
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Signed. This is a good start but I also think that general attitude is to blame and there maybe a bigger societal issue here.
All driving tests (and lessons) include general awareness of other drivers but there are still too many drivers who behave like they are the only ones on the road after they have passed. In many cases it feels like students are taught to pass the test rather than learning to drive responsibly with all other road users in mind.

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Bill Badger [1 post] 3 years ago
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I am a member of the Plymouth Cycling Campaign and recently we engaged with local driving instructors who sought more information on the dangers faced by cyclists in order that they could include some of the issues in their tuition. As a result we arranged cycle training for a small group of driving instructors both in a local car park and on some nearby quiet roads. Everyone thought the exercise most beneficial and one driving instructor invited the cycling instructor to 'sit in' on a few driving tuition periods. I endeavoured to roll out the initiative in Devon and Cornwall but with no success. SUSTRANS did show some interest and may mention it at Rangers days. I recommend anyone with the time to try the same with driving instructors in the vicinity.
Through the Plymouth City Council we have had a small car sticker made urging everyone to 'Please give Cyclists Space'. Devon County Council have a similar scheme.
Finally I am researching the admissibility of cycle head cam evidence at court. The Association of Chief Police Officer's have a view but, apparently, no legal guidance for cyclists on this issue. The Metropolitan Police appear to have a unit that deals with such matters in their area but don't share with other Force's. Early days but I will update this site in due course.
I have signed the petition.