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Monday, May 30 2016 @ 08:36 AM UTC

Maryland's Driver Education Is Still a Joke for Bicycling

Biking in MarylandI had an interesting conversation with the League of Illinois Bicyclists about motorist education. They shared their initiatives:

In Illinois and elsewhere, we have a considerable educational gap – for both cyclists and motorists – on how to properly share the road.  Motorists make mistakes or act aggressively towards cyclists. Bicyclists make other mistakes or blatantly ignore laws. The result: too many injuries and deaths, too many people afraid to bike, and anger and resentment on both sides. Public resentment is a big concern and even a potential risk to cyclists’ road rights, since we are in the minority. For example, we have heard many calls for bicyclist licensing, which may help with education, but with negative consequences.

While lessons for swimming – and other skills arguably less practical than bicycling – are routine in a child’s education, most kids and young motorists are not adequately learning about car-bike interactions.  Most teachers, Driver’s Ed instructors, and parents generally lack the knowledge themselves, beyond basic advice like “wear a helmet” and “watch out for cyclists.” Even where expert instruction is available, programs like in-depth training for young cyclists must compete with an overcrowded school curriculum.

Despite being armed with only a relatively superficial level of knowledge, most motorists and current/would-be cyclists do not perceive a need for more training.  Many motorists do not realize    mistakes they make around bikes, even on the overcautious side.   Taking bike safety classes – or even picking up bike safety materials – is not done by enough cyclists.

And their draft questions for the motorist module of our online bike safety quiz challenge, and other safety purposes.

One sample:

Now contrast that with Maryland's driver test question:

Which do you think will do the most to help the safety of cyclists?

On the flip side I shared what we have done with the Drivers' Manual. And they loved it. So here's hoping we can get their bike questions for our drivers' test and they can get our bike section in their driver's manual.

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