Are so-called ‘petrol heads’ more conscientious drivers? Well, that’s the view of Mark Hodson, one of the two officers who devised West Midland Police’s pioneering Operation Close Pass.
In a Twitter thread posted this morning, Hodson claimed that during his close pass initiative – which led to a 20 percent reduction in the number of cyclists killed or injured on roads patrolled by the force – motorists who could be described as ‘car enthusiasts’ were less likely to commit offences.
Hodson says that these drivers took great pride in their cars and standard of driving, and had experience of being a vulnerable road user in their youth, either on bikes or mopeds, so therefore took more care when driving.
The officer then pointed out that motorists aged over 50 were more likely to commit dangerous overtakes on cyclists, as they hadn’t received any training since their driving test and in most cases had gone decades without being a vulnerable road user.
However, Hodson also claimed that in both instances, offenders represented the “odd one” in a sea of safe and courteous drivers.
“Across the spectrum of drivers you find lots of people who are part of the solution, not the problem,” Hodson wrote.
He also observed that there were similarities between the “odd idiot in a nice car” and the “type of person who rides the 5K bike at the weekend in the same manner (there's one in every club)”.
Incidentally, this idea of a ‘crossover’ in mentality between certain types of obsessive cyclists and drivers was pointed out in an opinion piece written for road.cc by a ‘reformed petrolhead’ in November 2020.
However, while our blogger AJ agreed with Mark that "as with cycling, there's always a subset of drivers who are twats”, he crucially noted that “the difference is that a cyclist rarely kills anyone except themselves with their twattishness."
The reaction to Hodson’s thread was also somewhat divided:
What do you think? Do motorists who take greater pride in their cars drive better? Or is there a correlation between high performance vehicles and dangerous driving?
Also, any ideas on what a ‘mophead’ could be?