Ford Says Cyclists Make Drivers Uncomfortable

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The feeling is probably mutual...

According to a new study, most drivers really aren’t that good at dealing with cyclists. Data presented by Ford Australia shows that nearly half of all Australian drivers aren’t at all confident while driving in the vicinity of bicycle riders.

The study, which surveyed nearly 2,000 people, revealed that 49 percent of drivers experience feeling of discomfort and angst while driving anywhere near a cyclist, while a further 18 percent actually admitted that people on bicycles give them road rage, which in turn induces aggressive behavior.

At the same time, a third of all survey respondents claimed that a large part of their attitude towards cyclists on the road was driven by the fact that they weren’t adequately trained to share the road–which is a really bad excuse quite frankly. Excuses or not, Ford Australia has decided to seize the fear and run with it. The company will be teaming up with the Amy Gillett Foundation in order to teach young drivers how to safely and correctly share the road with cyclists as part of its Driving Skills for Life program.

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Earlier this year Ford introduced the ‘Share The Road’ campaign which was designed to promote driver and cyclist harmony in and around Europe’s increasingly congested cities, and aims to enable more people to cycle safely, especially for short journeys, which should be a benefit to everyone. Ford even went so far as to create a virtual reality experience called ‘WheelSwap’ which allowed drivers and cyclists to swap places in order to see how their terrible behavior isn’t just potentially dangerous but also creates more animosity between the two groups.

The program will stop in six different cities around Australia in order to better empower young drivers. The program will contain elements of a standard defensive driving course, along with time in an 'impairment suit' which can mimic the impact of alcohol and other substances. No word on whether the VR experience will be part of the Australian program.

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