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A spoke in the wheel for government’s ADI cycle training scheme

Readers of this blog will recall that the minister with the brief to cover road safety and cycling, Jesse Norman, announced a £500K project in August that will offer ADIs training to ensure cyclists’ safety is at the forefront of their minds when they teach new drivers. Teaching driver trainers how to teach learners now to handle cyclist.

Bikeability, the organisation which is going to run the scheme, has made its purpose clear: ‘the pilot will test different approaches to improving ADI awareness of cycling in order to prepare learner drivers of car-type vehicles better for sharing the road with cyclists.’

Waste of money or an interesting road safety imitative? Clearly, any investment in ADI training should be welcomed by ADIs. However, I wonder if this is the best use of resources. West Midlands Police was the first force in the country to proactively target ‘close pass ‘drivers who endanger riders. Highway Code rule 163 includes the following advice: ‘Give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.’

Anyone encroaching inside that safe passing distance – widely considered to be a minimum of 1.5 metres – runs the risk of being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

The West Midlands pilot saw police officers saddle up on some of the busiest routes looking out for motorists who put cyclists at-risk. They radio ahead the details of close-pass drivers for in-car colleagues to stop drivers, who are then offered a little spot of roadside educational input on safe overtaking. Repeat offenders, or anyone deemed to have driven dangerously close to a cyclist, can expect to be prosecuted and taken to court. West Midlands Police kindly provided me with details of the numbers of drivers in various age ranges who had been stopped over a one-year period.

I have compared those figures with the ages of those who pass their driving tests over a similar one-year period. You can see the results in the table above.

Around 65 per cent of those passing their driving tests are aged under 25, yet fewer than two per cent of those stopped for riding too close were in that age range. Of those stopped for driving too close, nearly 23 per cent were over 60. That age group makes up about 0.2 per cent of those passing a driving test.

What does this mean? You decide. It’s either:

  • This scheme targeting ADIs is a waste of money because ADIs are doing a fantastic job of teaching new drivers how to deal with vulnerable road users. It’s just a shame that the previous generation going back a few decades didn’t do the same… or that our drivers forget what we teach them as time passes by.

OR

  • The theory test carries enough questions on how drivers should deal with vulnerable road users to ensure they have the correct knowledge base – and that’s why so few novice drivers are featuring in the police lists.

OR

  • Today’s young people are much more aware of others and do not have the built-in inclination, often found in older generations, to bully others because of their race, their colour, their sexuality – or the mode of transport they use (a crushing point for those older readers; the younger generation are perhaps more decent and tolerant than ours).

You decide.

Another interesting figure from West Midlands Police; of those stopped for close passing, 65 per cent were males and 35 percent females.

So here’s my two-pen ‘Orth. I’d suggest this cash is poorly targeted; it’s not the younger learners we need to chat to, and certainly not the younger female drivers, but older (45+) blokes.

Are you listening, Mr Norman? Put Brexit fun and games to one side for a moment and redirect the cash to an over forty fives driver-education scheme.

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Time to change gear

 

Claire, Karen, Carol & John Lepine. Buckingham Palace 1991

My wife Carol and I have decided that, after 35 years of working for the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, the time has come for us to have a change of gear and we plan to retire soon after the association’s National Conference in Nottingham in March.

We hope to see as many MSA GB members there as possible so that we can thank you for the fantastic support we have received over the years.

I will not be standing for the role of President of the European Driving Schools Association (EFA) when my period of office comes to an end in May next year.

After we retire we hope to do some travelling and have a proper look at some of the places we have only been to for flying visits, spend some time in the garden and generally relax.

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Cyclical road safety campaigns

 

An ophthalmologist examining her patient’s eyes

Over the years there have been various campaigns to toughen up road safety standards. Like so many campaigns, however, things tend to be cyclical and come around several times before anything is done.

Here are a handful of examples that immediately spring to mind to prove my point:

Single/Double British Summertime (SDST)

Campaigners say that one of the consequences of the UK’s current time system is that more people are killed and injured on the road because of darker evenings in the autumn and winter than there would be if we used SDST.

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Have you gone away?

 

DVSA have recently sent all ADIs a booklet about the new driving test and they have reported returns, numbered in hundreds apparently, marked gone away.

Not to much of a problem for those ADIs who don’t receive the booklet there is after all masses of information available about the test changes from MSA GB the other NASP members and of course on GOV.UK

However, it is a condition of being on the ADI register that the DVSA are kept informed of an ADIs current address and there is a danger that an ADI might not receive a standards check invitation or other correspondence which could result in their eventual removal from the register.

Letting DVSA know about a change of address is an obligation for all ADIs and they must update thier ADI registration within 7 days if they change thier name or address. This is easy to do online at Manage your approved driving instructor (ADI) registration. If you need help with the web site you can email adireg@dvsa.gov.uk

Of course if all else fails you can write with your change of address to:

Approved Driving Instructor Registrar
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
Nottingham
NG1 6LP

 

 

 

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Could MOT testers be leading the way for Driver Trainers?

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-training
Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-training

New plans have been revealed by the DVSA to improve road safety and give consumers a better service when they take their vehicle for its MOT.

There are currently around 58,000 MOT testers and around 27 million car MOTs are carried out in Great Britain each year.

The vast majority are done to the correct standard, but DVSA data shows that some errors are made and they hope that the new qualification and training process should help to reduce them.

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