Cyclists driving for change
Keen cyclist Jay Martin has a theory that’s niggled away at her for years that has now been proved true.
A study commissioned by Harbour Sport shows young cyclists make better drivers.
‘‘I’d heard the theory so much I actually thought it had been researched. But when I found out it hadn’t, I asked, ‘how are we going to work that one out’?’’
Martin is Harbour Sport’s active communities manager and employed visiting sports science students from the University of Bath to conduct a nationwide survey of driving instructors.
Dozens of instructors and hundreds of their high school aged students were quizzed. The survey found 88 per cent of instructors felt cycling pupils had a better grasp of the road environment.
Martin, whose husband and 14-yearold son race a tandem road bike together, says having an early exposure to cycling hones the senses.
Cyclists have to be ‘‘high-speed decision-makers’’ with good reflexes and situational awareness, she says.
New Zealand Institute of Driver Educators national vice-president Peter Shephard agrees and says cyclists get a head-start on other learner drivers.
Harbour Sport works with organisations like ACC and Auckland Council to support and facilitate increased cycling in the community.