All road users should have to do 100 hours on other modes of transport.

By Flip Shelton
Cyclists are killed by cars and trucks, so car and truck drivers who don't ride a bike should pay more on their registration to cover this cost.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said: "No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding." The biggest problem we have on the road is a lack of understanding.

Many drivers don't realise the anxiety they cause by driving too close, or too quickly, or honking. They don't know because they have never been in our cleats, so to speak. That's quite understandable — often it is impossible to imagine a situation if you haven't been there.

And to those people I say, get on a bike and ride the roads for some first-hand experience.

I believe the only way to reduce injury and death on the roads is to make it compulsory to have a minimum number of hours riding on the road on a bike, scooter or motorbike and driving a car, bus and truck. And we should all experience what it is like to be a taxi driver or courier.

Every day there are stories on the radio, TV and newspapers about trucks, taxis, cyclists, couriers, motorbikes, car drivers and pedestrians all doing the wrong thing. We are all pointing the finger at everyone else's mistakes on the roads.

But there are also so many mistaken beliefs being peddled too. One woman on talkback radio last week said cyclists should ride on the Beach Road bike path only, yet those bike paths are for those under 12 years of age and with a speed limit of "walking" pace.

Indeed, those paths are shared with dogs, prams, walkers and runners. Other talkback callers complained about cyclists riding two abreast — yet this is legally allowed.

Experience is the only way we can understand what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. So let's introduce the Law of Understanding, which would mean anyone wanting a licence of any kind has to notch up a minimum of 100 hours riding and driving other forms of transport.

Only then will we be able to reduce accidents and injuries on our roads because only then we will be able to see ourselves as the person we are approaching or overtaking on the road.

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