The London Borough of Hackney is seeing a resurgence in cycling as a method of transport, which is being supported with the introduction of HGV driver training on cyclist awareness.
Hackney Council's Road Safety Team is now running accredited cycle awareness training courses for its fleet of truck and bus dreivers, making it the first local authority in the UK to do so. Hackney also has the only council offering the course free to any freight operator or HGV driver who drives through the borough.
The Safe Urban Driving course has theory and practical cycling elements, with a classroom session where drivers can openly discuss their views on cycling and cyclists. The course has been developed and accredited in conjunction with Transport for London's Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) group, as well as a number of other councils and training provider Cycle Training UK.
The move has won the praise of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). Trevor Parsons, Hackney coordinator for the LCC, said: "This is one of the most inspiring responses yet to the tragedy of pedestrians and cyclists being killed and seriously injured by lorries. We are delighted that hundreds of drivers will be getting practical experience of cycling in the coming years, and we hope that this will help to build a culture of mutual understanding and risk reduction on our streets. We particularly look forward to this training reaching construction-related haulage firms, whose vehicles are disproportionately involved in serious and fatal collisions."
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, added: “We are extremely pleased to be the first local authority to roll out this course to all our drivers. The training is a highly enjoyable and informative learning experience, giving the Council’s drivers an appreciation of the challenges faced by cyclists.”
John Harvey is an LGV driver from The Learning Trust who has already attended the course. He commented: “...the course has made me aware of cyclist road positioning with clear and concise reasons. I now understand the importance of giving more space to cyclists and the need to be more patient.”