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Cycling Proficiency Test

Old 12-13-01, 10:41 AM
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stewartp
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Cycling Proficiency Test

Here in the UK there used to be a thing aclled the "Cycling Proficiency Test". It was a govt. sponsored thing in schools & such. You were given training in the highway code, safety, defensive riding etc, and you sat a test and were given a cert.

This seems to have died a death now and is only available in some counties.

A letter in Cycling Weekly points out that though roads are in poor condition and there is more traffic, & inconsiderate drivers, we too often come across cyclist of all ages dressed in black at night, with no lights, no helmet, riding recklessly on pavements or pedestrian precincts.

How about re-introducing the cycling proficiency to help with cyclists' ignorance of traffic law & safety, and how about selling lights with the bike. (sure they can remove them, but there's more chance they'd use them if they were supplied)

Stew
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Old 12-13-01, 02:34 PM
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That all depends what is they actually teach. Lights, helmet, bright clothing etc at night are fine. However, a lot of these classes will teach people one thing and one thing only: Get off the road!. Personally, I think riding on a footpath is more dangerous than riding on the road in literally all conditions (yes, even at night with no light).
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Old 12-13-01, 04:18 PM
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I agree with you there Chris.
We need more bikes on the road. It'll make car drivers more aware of us, and how to drive appropriately, it'll give cyclists more confidence. More cyclists on the road means more people in touch with everything around them in their communities too. On a bike you see the litter, & the holes & the flowers & trees etc, & so you care more about it all. In a car you're just passing thru.

For the record I'm also against compulsory anything - helmets (tho I wear one) - lights ( tho I've got plenty) - bell (no I don't have one of those).

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Old 12-13-01, 06:12 PM
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Originally posted by stewartp
For the record I'm also against compulsory anything - helmets (tho I wear one) - lights ( tho I've got plenty) - bell (no I don't have one of those).

Stew
That makes you pretty mainstream in the cycling community and in this forum.
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Old 12-13-01, 09:50 PM
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I know when I was in Elementary school... oh god.. that was 15 years ago now.. THey did teach about bike safety.. There was no test.. though. But they did have police officers come out and talk to all the children in the school. At that time we did not have to wear helmets or any safety gear (I lived in texas at the time). Which I am glad is not allowed anymore, I even saw a disney movie with my son last weekend and the kids in the movie were wearing helmets atleast, I was glad to see that movies are even showing kids the right things to do.
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Old 12-13-01, 09:56 PM
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Originally posted by Kev
THey did teach about bike safety.. There was no test.. though. But they did have police officers come out and talk to all the children in the school. At that time we did not have to wear helmets or any safety gear (I lived in texas at the time).
I guess the question that has to be asked, though is what specifically did they tell you to do? People seem to have different views on 'bike safety', and for me, cycling in a consistent and predictable manner will be significantly safer than some 'get out of the way' lecture.
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Old 12-13-01, 11:38 PM
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Originally posted by stewartp
Here in the UK there used to be a thing aclled the "Cycling Proficiency Test". It was a govt. sponsored thing in schools & such. You were given training in the highway code, safety, defensive riding etc, and you sat a test and were given a cert.
It's the idea of 'sitting' a test that rings alarm bells for me. Surely for assesing cycling proficiency it would be infinitely better to RIDE the test. There is a large gulf between intellectual knowledge and knowledge that comes from experience. For example, it's all well and good to be able to write down when one should make an emergency stop, but actually doing it in an emergency situation is an entirely different thing.
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Old 12-14-01, 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by Chris L


I guess the question that has to be asked, though is what specifically did they tell you to do? People seem to have different views on 'bike safety', and for me, cycling in a consistent and predictable manner will be significantly safer than some 'get out of the way' lecture.
I agree. For me, the safest rider is an assertive rider. That way motorists and other road users are in no doubt what his/her plans are.

Use the road wisely, move out if the inside is broken up but observe first etc.

I did the proficiency test at Primary school in (gulp) 1971, and remember it was all about road position esp right hand turns , observation etc.

But in those halcyon days, the roads were quieter, people rode to school, you could by a matchbox car and a comic and sweets and still have change out of 2 and 6.

Why am I tearful. sob sob!
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Old 12-14-01, 03:07 AM
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They used to do the cycling proficiency test when I was at primary school. I can't remember why, but I was in the one year they didn't run it. From seeing other people's copies of the stuff, it was all about riding on the roads (it's illegal to ride on the pavements, after all). Stuff like how to signal, where on the road to ride (ie. middle of the road to turn right), stuff to watch out for (like people leaving buses).

I think it was basic but reasonable stuff. Shame if it's gone, really.

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Old 12-14-01, 05:47 PM
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I did the UK Bike Proficiency Test in the early 1970's - I would have been about 12 or 13 at the time, I seem to remember it took place over a couple of days (yipieee !! two mornings out of the classroom)

I seem to remember it was very through, they set up a road system complete with kerbs, traffic lights and roundabouts in the school playground and we had to cycle around the course signalling properly, checking behind us as so on.

I think the only sit down section of the couse was knowledge of rules (such as no cycling on motorways and knowing what the main road signs meant)

A very good course, and 30 years later I still remember it, espically the technique for getting a bike around a roundabaout, which is completly different than for a car.
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