Motorcyclists are better motorists than drivers so more people should be encouraged to ride, says the British Association of Chief Police Officers in a report to the UK government.
Rather than deterring riders, as most authorities seem to do, or legislating for learner riders to first hold a car licence for a year (as in Queensland), the joint report with the Motorcycle Industry Association suggests the reverse is true.
“There is a growing body of evidence which shows that if more people started their road careers on a motorcycle, scooter or moped, this would lead to improvements in driver behaviour towards all vulnerable road users,” says an MIA statement released with the report. “‘It is also acknowledged that motorcyclists make better road users when driving cars.”
It’s nothing new. The report cites a Belgian report delivered last year to a London road safety conference which says the more bikes on the road, the safer our roads would be.
The UK police and motorcycle industry document calls for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy, education for all road users, compulsory road user awareness lessons at schools and post-test training for all motorists.
Calls for motorists to ride before they drive have been echoed in Australia by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi who is a member of the Friends of Motorcycling parliamentary group.
He wants all learner drivers to be taught how to handle a motorbike as well — even if they don’t intend to ride one – to teach drivers the perils of the road for bikers and their vulnerability to cars and trucks.
MotoDNA director of coaching Mark McVeigh says it’s a great idea for learner drivers to spend time on a motorbike to improve road-safety awareness.
“The ideal training would be a one-day course which we could put together very quickly with our existing program,” he says.