Proficiency test is still in use

I REFER to William Dixon’s letter (News Post Leader, May 31), in that I can assure readers that Cycling Proficiency lives on.

In fact it has been updated and is marketed under the Bikeability scheme.

There are three levels of training, which are delivered over several days and included is a formal test.

Levels 1 and 2 are available to Northumberland schools and are usually provided for children in Years 5 or 6 through the county road safety officer.

Level 3 is available to older children and adults and covers every conceivable situation on the roads. It is completely up to date and is endorsed by major cycling organisations.

Mr Dixon seems to have a problem with cyclists sharing the road with motorised traffic, but it should be remembered that most roads were used by cyclists for many years before the advent of the motor car.

The fault does, however, lie with planners, who have totally failed to provide for the needs of cycle users.

Many road layouts are indeed dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, which is why many choose to cycle on the footpath.

Although not condoning the indiscriminate and often cavalier manner that cycles are ridden unnecessarily on footpaths by adults, which is technically illegal, I do understand why many would rather break a traffic regulation than end up in hospital or worse a coffin.

As for the ludicrous suggestion that a cyclist should get off and push his machine over a pedestrian crossing, how would a car driver feel if it were proposed that he or she were to get out and walk around a hazard and then get back inside?

Perhaps if we were to adopt the system in Holland where the motorist is presumed at fault in the event of a collision with a cyclist, unless they can prove otherwise, bicycle users may command a level of respect, which is often sadly lacking in the UK, where they appear to be despised by pedestrian and motorist alike.

It is often forgotten that a cycle causes no pollution, creates no noise, causes no congestion or parking issues and keeps the rider fit and healthy.