Almost half of Australian drivers aren't confident driving next to cyclists, according to a new survey from Ford Australia.
The study of almost 2000 people found 49 per cent of drivers are uncomfortable alongside cyclists, while 18 per cent of respondents admitted to road rage or being actively aggressive toward cyclists.
That was driven, in part at least, by the fact 33 per cent of those surveyed said they weren't adequately trained to share the roads with cyclists.
To try and rectify the problem, Ford is teaming up with the Amy Gillett Foundation to instil the importance of sharing the road safely in learner drivers as part of its Young Driving Skills for Life program.
According to the company, a lack of awareness and generally careless driving are key contributors to cyclist crashes, injuries and fatalities.
“When we choose active transport, we are at our most vulnerable on the roads," said Amy Gillett Foundation CEO, Phoebe Dunn.
"Yet there is little to no content in driver training and licensing programs around Australia on how to share the road safely with cyclists. Drivers are simply not being given the skills they need to safely share the roads.”
“Education and training are vital components of achieving behaviour change and making the roads a safer place for all road users. We are looking forward to working with the team at Ford to do just that, and we commend them for their efforts to include vulnerable road users in new driver training,” she elaborated.
The program will makes six stops around Australia, as its seeks to train young drivers. Elements of standard defensive driving courses, including full ABS stops, will be included in the course, along with time in an 'impairment suit' designed to mimic the impact of alcohol.