Good call on driving tests
We wholeheartedly support the petition launched by cyclist Mike Higgins. He is calling for everybody taking their driving test to be questioned about how they should safely overtake cyclists, and face more questions about cycling safety in the written theory test. His petition has been on the Government's e-petitions website for a week and has already been supported by more than 6,000 people. We are sure it will attract many more and stands a good chance of reaching the figure of 100,000 names needed to trigger a Commons debate.
The issue that he highlights is one of paramount importance. Drivers should slow down and give cyclists a wide berth when passing them. Many do so, but some, and it is a significant proportion, do not. It is extremely hazardous for cyclists when vehicles pass by close and fast. Any slight wobble on the part of the cyclist, or miscalculation by the driver, can have fatal consequences. There is also no room left for the cyclist to avoid a pothole or any other obstruction in the road. And it is a particularly terrifying experience when it is a lorry or bus hurtling past just a few inches away.
Last year's British win in the Tour de France and the success of our cyclists in the London Olympics have helped to boost the popularity of the sport. This is good news in that it will improve health and lead to fewer cars on the roads as more people opt for two wheels. However, for it to really take off and mirror the culture in some other European countries, it does have to become safer. Focusing more attention on this issue in driving tests is an excellent way of helping to achieve that goal.
Tenants in a city council tower block in the St Peter's estate have been told to remove doormats from outside their homes in communal corridors because they are a health and safety hazard. The council says that it has to ensure buildings can be evacuated safety in the event of an emergency and therefore communal areas have to be kept clear of "trip hazards and combustible materials." Leicestershire fire and rescue service agrees and backs the advice issued by the council.
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While we can see that large items such as bicycles and mobility scooters could cause a problem in an evacuation and should not be left in communal corridors, banning doormats does seem to be a bit over the top.