For our newest project Bike Mill are branching out into a slightly different part of the cycling world – road safety. As we spend so much time encouraging people to get out on bikes, we also wanted to do our bit to try and make Leeds’ roads safer for everyone.
This project will engage with drivers using a restorative approach – working with them to understand the impact of their driving on vulnerable road users, especially cyclists.
The core of the project will be offering professional drivers the opportunity to attend a training programme, comprising a cycle safety seminar and on-road cycle training. This could act as useful professional development for driving instructors, van or taxi drivers.
Another aspect will be organising a number of ‘restorative conferences’, in which people involved in vehicle-cycle collisions will be invited to meet, be heard, and discuss the impact of the incident.
Restorative practice is becoming increasingly recognised as an effective way to approach justice. Rather than simply punishing the responsible party, this approach personalises incidences of crime or conflict, by providing victims and those responsible the opportunity to meet, share their perspective and explore joint solutions. You can read more about it here.
Above all this project aims to build empathy and improve relationships between cyclists, drivers and other road users, ultimately leading to more responsible attitudes and behaviour from drivers.