Cycling and road safety, Ballan’s idea: “Send former champions to do road safety education in schools”

“In Italy, driving is dangerous, kids are the future drivers and can raise awareness among parents behind the wheel. My daughter rides a bike, and I’m scared for her”

“In Italy, driving rules are not respected”, the lack of new talent in cycling “depends on various factors, and the fact that Italian roads are dangerous is one of them. I have a daughter who races a bike and is 15 years old , when she wanted to start I was against it because I’ve seen all sorts of things on the streets. Knowing that she’s out on the streets I always consider it a danger.” The former inline cycling world champion Alessandro Balla says this, speaking with Adnkronos during the two days of the Eroica 2023 in Gaiole in Chianti. However, it is objected, in the rest of Europe they go slowly, there is respect for other road users: “In Italy we are used to not respecting the rules – he repeats -, one of which is the use of mobile phones while driving , speed limits are not respected, people are very distracted. There is always a lot of stress and frenzy, running, doing… One of the factors that make Italian roads dangerous.”

“Many things are being done,” he continues, citing the changes to the highway code, for example the obligation to overtake within 1.5 metres. But it must be enforced. When the belt requirement arrived, the fines helped to respect the rule. The meter and a half is not easy to enforce, I see the difficulty there. What needs to be done in reality is culture: today in Italian schools we have no one to teach you how to ride the road, we don’t know the meaning of the signs. It takes at least an hour a week, today’s kids are future motorists and those who can raise their parents’ awareness of driving. Sending former athletes or champions like me and many others to schools to raise awareness could help.” We can do it? “There is hard work to do but yes, we can do it.”