Drivers 'should ride bikes before getting licences'

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 11:16 17/02/2014
Waikato cyclist
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ
Driver education: Getting drivers onto bikes will help them understand cyclists, Waikato cyclist Sean Cosford says.

Relevant offers

If everyone rode a bike on the road they would be more defensive drivers, says a Hamilton cycling enthusiast.

Teacher and cyclist Sean Cosford has had his share of close calls on two wheels and found it made him "highly defensive".

"If people got on a bike for a couple of years on the road before they ever got a licence they would be . . . more defensive drivers, by a country mile."

He is convinced that educating drivers about cycling logic would improve safety, and part of his plan is getting them out on bikes, "the only real way that you are going to understand a cyclist's predicament".

Activities educating Kiwis about cycling are happening throughout New Zealand for Bike Wise Month this February.

The campaign aims to encourage New Zealanders to take up cycling for health and to share safe cycling techniques.

Mr Cosford is talking to a local trucking firm about launching a driver education programme.

His current vision has two parts - a workshop on past accidents and how they could have been avoided, and getting drivers out on bikes.

"It'll certainly hit home to them just what it feels like when you're sitting on a bike and something rushes past . . . doing 100ks and you're doing 30."

Mr Cosford cycles on rural Waikato roads around three times a week, and says the experience has made him "highly defensive".

"It's my responsibility for myself when I'm out riding," he said.

"If we [cyclists] make one mistake, it's going to be us that bears the brunt of it basically. And that means that you have to be highly aware of what's going around you all the time. There's just things that I do when I ride that basically keep me alive."

Among those tools are making eye contact at every intersection, avoiding narrow roads at busy times, and instinctively checking for cars behind him if there is an oncoming vehicle on the road.

He regularly has cars squeeze between him and an oncoming vehicle on narrow roads, and others come too close or approach too fast.

But there are excellent drivers who go around cyclists as if they were a vehicle and wait for oncoming vehicles before passing, he said.

"If everybody did that, cycling would be so much safer out in our rural areas."

For more information on Bike Wise events visit www.bikewise.co.nz or facebook.com/bikewise

 

TIPS FOR CYCLING SAFETY

 

Cyclists:

Don't wear headphones - hearing cars approach could save you

Ad Feedback

Plan routes, eg to avoid narrow roads at busy times

Be aware of cars behind you when there's an oncoming vehicle

Avoid riding into the setting sun for visibility reasons

Make eye contact at intersections to confirm drivers have seen you

 

Drivers on rural roads:

Warn of your approach with a light toot or touch of the air brakes

Allow oncoming vehicles to go by before you pass a cyclist

Move out to allow space when passing

- Waikato Times

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Would a pedestrian and cycleway bridge connecting the Waikato River's east and west banks make Hamilton more appealing?

Yes, it will be a great attraction

Maybe, if it is executed correctly

No, it won't

It is just another pipe dream

Vote Result

Related story: The Tronpier: Bridge of the Future?

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content