Simon MacMichael April 18 2017
Changes announced to the driving test last week mean that drivers will have to show they can follow directions from a sat-nav device, among other things – but there will be no requirement for them to undergo cycle awareness training and be specifically examined on the issue.
Campaign groups such as Cycling UK have been lobbying for a number of years for drivers to undergo training and testing to demonstrate they can share the road safely with cyclists – but such proposals do not form part of the revisions announces on Saturday.
The new features, which apply to England, Scotland and Wales, will come into force from 4 December 2017 and are explained in the video above.
Besides demonstrating they can use a sat-nav, candidates will also see the independent driving part of the test doubles from 10 to 20 minutes, there will be changes to reversing manoeuvres examined, including parking in a bay, and they will also have to answer a vehicle safety lesson while driving.
Campaign groups such as the Cycling UK have been lobbying for a number of years for drivers to undergo training and testing to demonstrate they can share the road safely with cyclists.,
However, such proposals do not form part of the revisions announces on Saturday. In its briefing on Driver training, testing and licensing, the charity says:
Many drivers also cycle, but those who don’t may not know what kind of driving behaviour puts cyclists at risk, or makes them feel unsafe. Making cycle awareness integral to the driver training and testing process would help tackle this.
On-road, practical cycle training not only helps drivers understand cyclists’ needs, but is also a good head-start for driving test candidates. For example, it might help them learn more quickly and produce safer drivers.
Transport minister Andrew Jones commented: “Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.
“These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.”
Gareth Llewellyn, chief executive of the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.
“Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.”
He added: “It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.”
While cycle awareness won’t specifically form part of the test, there’s nothing stopping instructors from highlighting the need to watch out for vulnerable road users to their pupils.
Indeed, master driving instructor Blaine Walsh, founder of driving-instructor.tv, has featured on videos produced in partnership with the Bicycle Association explaining issues such as why cyclists sometimes take the primary position.