Effective Motoring Class

OK, I wrote this before DWF wrote the excellent comment regarding the esteemed John Allen’s taking of a motoring “safety” class by a race car driver.

My class idea was much different, however. I was not going to teach one to push one’s car to the limit nor keep oneself on one’s toes. Rather, I was after a class which was analogous to the savvy cycling classes which have the tone that most cycling accidents are the cyclist’s fault, only.

I figured if a motoring class existed, we’d be able to push the blame back on to the one who had the machine most capable of killing: “with great power comes great responsibility”, a cliche that is not repeated enough in the cycling “safety” realm.

Since I never saw anyone else step up to the plate, I thought that I”d posit a new form of class called “Competent Motoring.” (CM)

Basically, it would go beyond the basics of a driver’s ed class and teach a more in depth understanding of the laws and rules of the road for effective motoring.

The premise is that if cycling is so complicated that we need to teach a 24 hour class, since an automobile has about 10x the parts of a bicycle and there are 10x more laws governing motoring, perhaps the class should be 240 hours? 🙂

I think we can do it all in two hours including the on street motoring.

Some of the ideas I have are:

1. Teaching the finer points of the traffic laws that are actually enforced. Also talking about laws that can be enforced, but are usually ignored. This is to create a more realistic view of motoring which is in contrast to driver’s ed classes which teach unrealistic goals which students realize are BS and thus they ignore EVERYTHING that they have learned.

2. Opening a car door with one’s right hand which forces one to look for cyclists.

3. NEVER ride in the gutter. Take the outer part of a curve at all times.

4. NEVER enter a bicycle lane except when one is turning, then look back and carefully enter the lane where the dotted lines are.

5. Look both ways even on a one way street for cycling salmon.

6. Give at least 5 feet of space while passing a cyclist and slow down. Also, never trail a cyclist by less than 12 feet in case the cyclist falls.

7. Overall, treat a cyclist like a slow car NOT a handicapped person. Being overly cautious is just as annoying as not paying any attention at all.

8. If a motorist breaks a traffic law such as running a stop sign or speeding, chase him down and give him a stern lecture.

9. Never tell a cyclist not to ride a bike. How about if every time you drove your car someone ordered you about telling you to ride a bike. You’d be super-annoyed.

10. Never get started immediately after a light turns green. Not all cyclists can make the light. Look first then go.

11. When coming out of a driveway, stop short of the sidewalk. ALWAYS. And look. There could be child running in front of you because he feels safe on the sidewalk.

There’s much more, but you get the idea.

I envision this class signed off by government lawyers, engineers, and so on and the instructors licensed by the government.

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2 Responses to “Effective Motoring Class”

  1. zvileve Says:

    Personally, I find that too many “rules” do not necessarily lead to better driving behavior. In the army, I actually had the occasion to be driven around by a few people who knew (and followed) the rules perfectly, but had absolutely no idea why they were doing any of the required steps! It was surreal – they were going through the motions, but they were not really “seeing the risks” (which normally are rather abstract in this context)!

    Perhaps a more effective way of getting these points across would be to require that driver education classes include components on cycling and walking. That is, teach car drivers how to ride a bike in an urban (and suburban) environment. And I would even add learning how to walk in such an environment as well – since most drivers are not aware of the challenges which pedestrians face.

    Nothing like perceiving the road environment from another perspective in order to promote understanding of why people do the things that they do. If drivers could identify with what other road users are perceiving, then there would be fewer “surprises” (ie why did that cyclist suddenly swerve in front of me? becomes, hmm, I see a pothole over there, and that cyclist is heading straight for it; he/she probably will need to move out of the way somehow….)

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