Proper bike instruction starts with parents

Schools are no place for instruction in proper cycling

Re: Caution urged in cycling plan (Letters, March 12)

While much of what Robert McInnes has to say about this initiative is apt, and makes sense, I must take mild issue with his suggestion that schools are the place for instruction in proper cycling.

I’ve been a cyclist, myself, for 60 years – always in traffic – and have ridden here for the last 35 of them.

Unfortunately, the schools cannot carry the onus of teaching our children to cycle. First, they have neither time, nor funds, to do so. Further, no insurance company, in today’s litigious climate,

would ever permit them to undertake such instruction in the only milieu that counts – on the streets, in real time, in traffic – as it would be deemed far too risky for anyone to do.

So, who should be doing this work? The only people who can, really, are the parents – assuming that they know how to drive properly themselves. This last, unfortunately, is where things get difficult.

What I see as the standard of driving skill, of attitudes towards other road users, leads me to suspect that most of our drivers have only had the sketchiest notion of what is important in driving, and scant knowledge of what the rules are. It is little wonder that there are many cyclists who do not understand how to drive a bike in traffic.

I also point out that we need drivers (and we do have them – things are far better than they were 20 or 30 years ago) who see cyclists, and recognise them as part of the flow of traffic. It is far easier for me to act

the driver, when I am, as a rule, treated as one by other drivers. For this – I say “thank you” to the drivers of this city.

John A. Laidlaw