Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mandatory Education for Drivers?

I read an interesting article yesterday, originally published in the Irish Times. Now you'll have to excuse my ignorance for just a minute, because I have only recently started reading much cycling-related news and I have no idea what's happening on our side of the pond on this issue.

What originally attracted me to the article was its headline "Call for safe interaction with cyclists to be mandatory part of driving courses." Again, I don't know if anyone is trying to push for anything like that here. Maybe they're already teaching it. I do know, however, that I didn't learn anything about cyclists (or pedestrians, for that matter) when I was taking driver's training all those years ago.

There's no doubt I've encountered some rude drivers on the road. I've had a few try to run me off the road on purpose and I've had some who have passed just too close for comfort. Luckily, I have never been injured by a car while on my bike, but my brother has been hit by a car on his bike no fewer than three times. (Of course, this may say something about the way my brother rides his bike.)

The fact of the matter is, though, I think most of the people who cause problems for cyclists on the road are either careless, impatient, not paying attention or just misinformed about whether cyclists belong on the road and not actually out to hurt or scare anyone. Maybe some education when they were first learning to drive would help this. That being said, I also realize that cyclists who don't use common sense can be a big part of the problem (or in some situations the whole problem). (The Irish group in this article also suggests on-road cycling training should be mandatory to school children.)

What do you think?

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I think I remember covering the basics in driver's ed. Be aware, drive defensively around bikes just like you would around cars, etc. I think new drivers have decent driving habits when they're fresh out of driver's ed and develop not-so-good driving habits the more comfortable they get on the road.