The UK’s Department for Transport has launched a pilot initiative offering driving instructors bespoke training to ensure the safety of cyclists.

The scheme will receive £500,000 funding to provide training to driving instructors so that they can include cycling safety in their lessons for new drivers.

Cycling Minister Jesse Norman launched the pilot scheme offering customised driving instructor training.

The latest move follows a clampdown on motorists who drive too close to cyclists, which can lead to accidents and puts people off cycling.

“We shouldn’t only concentrate on catching and punishing drivers when they make a mistake, but try to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to drive safely alongside cyclists in all conditions.”

If a driver is caught overtaking less than 1.5m from a cyclist, they are issued with a fine of up to £100 and three penalty points.

Norman said: “The benefits of cycling and walking are enormous. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health. For businesses, it means increased productivity and increased footfall in shops, and for society as a whole, it means lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places.

“But we will only achieve our ambitious aims if people feel safe when they walk and cycle. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

“We shouldn’t only concentrate on catching and punishing drivers when they make a mistake, but try to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to drive safely alongside cyclists in all conditions.

Bikeability will run the driving instructor training over the next year. Training materials will be provided to police forces to educate them about the needs of safety for cyclists.

The measures form part of the Department for Transport’s plans to invest more than £7m as part of its first response to the Cycle Safety review.