We should be concentrating on educating drivers and changing driving culture

This wiki page is a draft which many people can edit and which should not be considered to be official Cycling Embassy policy.

Summary of the claim

Rather than campaigning for better infrastructure, we should be campaigning to end dangerous driving by educating drivers and changing the culture around dangerous driving. To do so would easier and/or cheaper and/or more effective than physical changes to our streets, and/or would have more wide ranging benefits.

Example sources


Summary of responses

  1. It is true that more needs to be done to reduce dangerous driving...
  2. ...however, this can not be treated as a substitute for the cycling infrastructure that we campaign for because the main barrier to cycling is not specifically dangerous driving. Fast traffic, busy roads, and big trucks — regardless of the quality of the driving — will never be an attractive environment for cycling. The Cycling Embassy therefore seeks separate space for cycling on the busy roads which carry fast traffic and large vehicles, typically 'A' roads.
  3. This claim may be based on the idea that engineering is difficult and complicated while behaviour and psychology is simple and easy. In fact, the reverse is true.
  4. Research into existing driver education programmes, such as remedial classes for drivers caught speeding or driving dangerously, have yet to show any benefit of such programmes.

In more detail

It is now generally accepted that the danger and discomfort caused by motor traffic is one of the primary Barriers to cycling. Most cyclists have ideas for how to reduce or remove this barrier, but there are differences of opinion regarding which interventions would be most appropriate or effective. Many argue that campaigners and politicians should be focusing on tackling dangerous driving, including inadvertant dangerous driving by motorists who do not know how to behave around cyclists, through better enforcement and education. The form of education suggested varies, but typically includes adding cycling awareness to the driving test, introducing remedial cycling awareness education for motorists found driving dangerously, and running public information campaigns. Some cycling campaigners have started their own public information campaigns, including Three Feet Please and I Pay Road Tax, with the aim of reducing dangerouns driving.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain agrees entirely that more needs to be done to tackle dangerous driving, but maintains skepticism about some specific suggestions for how this should be done. More importantly, we do not think that reducing dangerous driving can be a substitute for our core campaign — the campaign for quality cycling infrastructure. This is because the barrier to cycling posed by motor traffic is much wider and deeper than mere bad driving. Busy roads, fast cars and big trucks are conditions which will never appeal to more than a small minority of potential cyclists, regardless of the behaviour or attitudes of the drivers, which is why on main roads — typically 'A' roads — we advocate the provision of Dutch-style separate cycle tracks.


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