Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Freight Truck Driver CPC Course in Belfast Aims to Cut Cyclist Accidents in Urban Situations

New Belfast Scheme Targeted to Educate HGV Operators
Shipping News Feature

UK – The problems of a transport infrastructure which mixes HGVs with vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists, have been widely aired of late, particularly after numerous accidents and several fatalities in London, with various schemes introduced to aid both sides understand the problems faced by the other. As from this week a new programme – Safe Urban Driving – will be available in Belfast as a Driver CPC accredited course thanks to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

The Safe Urban Driving programme, similar to that already available in London, will be launched on Thursday 6 August from 11am – 12 noon at Writers Square opposite St Anne’s Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast, and was developed by the FTA and Sustrans in partnership with Cycle Training UK (CTUK), and is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Belfast Strategic Partnership. During the one-day course drivers get on bikes to experience the road from a cyclist’s perspective. The course was piloted at the end of June with 10 Belfast City Council drivers and is now being rolled out further and the FTA’s Seamus Leheny emphasised the Association was delighted to be involved in an initiative designed to improve road safety and increase awareness, saying:

“We represent 14,000 members in the UK who operate over 200,000 commercial goods vehicles, which is around half of the UK fleet. Our members take road safety awareness very seriously and are working hard to reduce the fatalities involving lorries on the road. We are pleased to work with Sustrans in developing this training course and are delighted at the uptake to date.”

As part of the course, a leaflet has been produced highlighting safety tips for both drivers and cyclists and Karen Mawhinney, Sustrans Cycle Skills Unit Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland, commented:

“Sustrans is pleased to work with the FTA on a training programme and awareness campaign to ensure both drivers and cyclists can safely share road space. As the number of cyclists increase, we have seen a rise in casualties, particularly involving lorries.”

Photo: Trying to ride in a cycle lane on a wet Shankill Road in the evening rush hour can be a terrifying, and hazardous, experience.