Teaching people to cycle

We are mostly taught to ride our bikes in a park by our farther. He pushes us along and we learn to ride in a straight line. As we cycle more we get more confidence.

How do we learn to ride on the road? We can go to bikeability courses or other cycle training run by local councils or qualified individuals. But will adults go to these course, will people actively seek out education on how to use the roads safely?

I suspect most won’t, why do they need to be told how to cycle. It’s a fairly easy task to ride a bicycle but doing so in an environment full of faster moving, harder and sometimes recklessly driving vehicles is much harder.
Understanding traffic flow, the mindset of most drivers and common dangers can give you the vital foresight to position your self in a safe and sometimes controlling position.

Getting lessons can provide people with the confidence and knowledge to cycle on the roads safely but are there other ways we can teach people to cycle safely?

I’ve tried giving the odd tip to people on the roads, “Cars indicating left will often turn at the turning, so don’t undertake them” but people don’t take well to being told what to do. Even if it is with the best intentions. So it often results in being sworn at.

The Mayor of London and his team boast about how much cycle training they have provided, don’t get me wrong, I think it is great! But something needs to be done to educate the cyclists that don’t think they need training. I see people cycling in the gutter and lane splitting on multilane roads daily. These are the Silly Cyclists we need to educate, as one day their style of riding may result in them getting injured.

7 thoughts on “Teaching people to cycle

  1. How about a series of videos illustrating the common errors those on bikes make? You could give it a witty name like “Bloody Awful Bicyclists” 😉

    I think refresher courses or something like the hazard perception test that motorists have could be useful but at the end of the day there isn’t much replacement for experience so without getting out and riding it’s difficult to build up the roadsense you need to tackle busy roads!

  2. I’m starting to think ALL road users should be trained and tested before being allowed to use main routes. I think motor vehicle drivers should be re-tested every five years, and I think cyclists using major routes should be required to pass a Bikeability style competence test, plus a theory test about signs, markings, highway code, etc

  3. I’m wondering if epiphets such as ‘silly cyclists’ or similar is actually that helpful. Not everyone who cycles frequents cycling fora or watches Youtube videos with the subsequent post mortems. Speaking for myself this has largely been the source of my own learning, but I don’t think I’m alone. I would go so far as to say that a lot of the common cycling errors I see, such as gutter hugging happen due to a lack of knowledge. Riding further out is at the very least, counter intuitive. Obviously RLJ artists and footway hoppers are a different kettle of fish. Most of the driving transgressions I witness daily are down to impatience, selfishness and a lack of empathy for other road users.

    Perhaps it is time to revive some of the public information films I remember from my dim and distant youth.

  4. Gaz, I am being serious here, I feel like if you made a real nice video series about how to ride in traffic and promoted it here, on you tube and other places you would do alot of good. Share your expierience in a positive way. I know people can see all the things you talk about in various places already but that does not mean you shouldnt give it a go. From watching yours and others like cycling mikey you have a wealth of expertise that some, who do not think they need training, might just watch “secretly” and learn something.
    Get a freind to help you video it and you “present” it. Show real examples of how not to ride and then show real examples how to ride well.
    I used to work for a corporate video company so would be happy to come and do some filming with you. Let me know what you think. 🙂

    1. I’m already working on a similar idea.
      I’m drawing some storyboards up and then I just need some better lighting conditions for filming. So probably some after april next year I should have something.

  5. I lived in Canada for a while and you can only drive for 3 months on a UK licence before you need to take a Canadian driving test. Despite the Canadian driving test being easier than the UK test (in my opinion) it did my driving a power of good – having to go back to basics and examine how you behave on the road is very valuable whether you are on a bike or in a car and I think everybody would benefit from a re-test once in awhile


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