In the last twelve months, we’ve bought a dual control car for the Driving Academy, and another two cars for our visitors to work on in the Maintenance Centre, but the last thing we bought with wheels attached was a bicycle as a birthday present for the youngest member of the family.
Just out of interest after we’d bought the bike and cheered on the Fastnet Cycle team this weekend, we asked our Facebookers if they’d feel comfortable cycling on West Cork’s roads.
A bike is a fairly crucial piece of equipment here, especially before you pass your driving test, but the short answer was ‘no’. People feel that drivers don’t give enough respect to people on bikes and that’s got to change.
When you’re behind the wheel,
you’ve got to remember what it’s like to be behind the handlebars.
A Practical Theory Test
The Road Safety Authority of Ireland is trying to make that change happen. It wants drivers to show more respect for pedestrians, motorcyclists and people on bikes. That’s why the new driver theory test has a very practical focus on ‘real life’ scenarios. From the very start of your driving career you’re being asked to drive with real concentration and consideration for others.
You need to think:
* Is it really safe to overtake the cyclists in front of me?
* Have I given each bike as much room as I’d give a car?
* Have I checked my mirrors and looked over my shoulder before turning a corner?
* Am I going to be ready if there’s a cyclist around the next bend in the road?
New and experienced drivers need to be asking these questions, and of course cyclists have to be doing their bit to stay safe too.
When you’re cycling you need to:
* Signal your intentions clearly
* Wear high-visibility gear
* Make sure your bike is properly lit
* Be aware of when drivers can and can’t see you
At the Bantry Driving Academy, we don’t want our learners to give up on cycling when they pass their driving tests. Irish roads are getting safer each year, and there are a lot of cyclists out and about at the moment making the most of any sunshine and relishing the challenges posed by West Cork’s roads and trails.
It should be safe for tourists and locals to cycle here as long as everyone takes care and shows respect.
It’s all a matter of learning to use the roads differently and that’s a message we’re always keen to drive home.