The title describes the bright idea I had this morning while walking to the library. What better way to educate motorists on the hazards of bicycle riding and commuting than to make them pedal a mile (or many more) in our shoes during their driver’s education process? Perhaps, just perhaps requiring this experience would open the average citizen’s eyes to the dangers that cyclists face every day from obstacles and heartless/mindless drivers. Secondarily, it might coax more people to become bicycle commuters, riders, and advocates, while also promoting good health, physical fitness, and exercise.
Here is Michigan, every new driver must first learn how to fill their car up with gasoline at a service station. This may seem trite, but it is practical. The League of Michigan Bicyclists has been strongly advocating for enhanced education of bicycle safety. I think we should take it a step further and incorporate into the driver’s education process a required minimum number of hours spent riding a bike in the community. This should preferably include riding during the rush hour and in varied situations (urban, suburban and rural). At the very least, the requirement would provide the student driver with valuable insights on how to properly and safely ride their bike in varying situations.
If some states, provinces, or countries already require a bike riding aspect as part of their driver’s education curriculum, I would appreciate being notified. Bike New York offers free clinics for younger bicyclists (see photo below).
Remember that education builds awareness and understanding, both of which can certainly improve safety for all of us.