In what may be a considered a change of focus, dare I say a recognition of cyclist safety (take note Mr Matt Brown of the RAC WA, the cyclist’s representative on the Council) the incoming chairman of the Western Australian Road Safety Council, Professor Murray Lampard has suggested that…
we look at starting early with primary school kids in regards to pedestrian safety and bicycle safety and of course as they go into the more senior years we can really put a big effort into modifying their potential driver behaviour,” Professor Lampard said.we look at starting early with primary school kids in regards to pedestrian safety and bicycle safety and of course as they go into the more senior years we can really put a big effort into modifying their potential driver behaviour
Source: Daniel Emerson, The West Australian, October 23, 2012.
Some of us may be old enough to remember road rules education including getting on our bikes and riding around the basketball courts when we went to school. We very much need to bring back pedestrian safety and bicycle safety courses into our schools as Professor Lampard suggests.
However while such a move is going to have long term positive outcomes including hopefully encouraging parents, to let their children actually ride and walk to school, we need to deal with the short to medium term too. Pedestrians and more so cyclists, that growing number of cyclists, need to be protected on our roads today. I suggest we need to take the hard short to medium term decisions now. We have an election coming up in 2013, a real opportunity for all the parties to stand up for the community, to really value human life over the “freedom of the car” mentality that exits today. I suggest that we need to introduce now:
- Regular driver license retesting, say every five years. How long has it since you got your licence? How long since you reviewed the Road Traffic Code?
- Introduce a requirement to ride a bicycle on the road as part of the process of getting a drivers license so new drivers at least get an understanding of the perspective of a cyclist as they share the public road space. I would suggest a minimum number of hours riding is required as well as specific number hours under the supervision of a “driving” instructor;
- Enhance the testing aspects of getting a driver licence to include a far greater focus on pedestrians and cyclists and their safety;
- If a driver looses their license for a period of six months or more, they should have to complete the full gambit of testing and being a p-plated driver again before getting a new licence;
- and finally we need to introduce vulnerable user legislation. We currently have this in terms of cyclist-pedestrian interactions on shared paths yet one can drive a two ton motorised vehicle and little to no responsibility to vulnerable users; safe passing laws is one example of where the current road code fails to protect cyclists.