Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Once Again in Belfast HGV Truck Drivers Take to the Road on Two Wheels

Understanding the Complexities of Urban Cycling Saves Lives
Shipping News Feature
UK – As was evidenced in London last year there has proved to be nothing more which alerts an urban cyclist to the dangers of flirting with heavy goods traffic than a quick spin in the cab of an HGV. The difficulties faced by a truck driver in checking multiple mirrors with their almost inevitable blind spots rapidly becomes clear to previously unwary riders, illustrating to them the difficulties faced by the men and women in the cab. This however is no one way street, with many truckers ignorant of the hazards faced by the two wheelers.

Last year’s ‘Exchanging Places’ scheme was fully supported by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and it also joined forces with walking and cycling charity Sustrans to create Safe Urban Driving, a best practice training programme to help prevent collisions with vulnerable road users in an urban environment. Now the organisation is encouraging HGV drivers to again take to their bikes in Belfast with two new courses, taking place on 26 April and 3 May, already full, building on the success of last year and continuing to improve road safety between HGVs and cyclists in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said:

“The feedback from local HGV operators on this road safety initiative has been extremely positive, and we are delighted to be running the scheme in Belfast again this year. It is vital that as an industry we play our part in improving road safety, especially in Belfast city centre and our other urban areas, and FTA is delighted with the proactive response from members towards this scheme.”

The Driver CPC accredited course was developed by FTA and Sustrans in partnership with Cycle Training UK (CTUK) and is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Belfast Strategic Partnership and, as part of the course, a leaflet has been produced highlighting safety tips for both drivers and cyclists. Karen Mawhinney, Sustrans Cycling Skills Co-ordinator said:

“We’re really pleased to see the high demand for the Safe Urban Driving course. It’s not that surprising to us as lorry drivers who have already participated have said they enjoyed it and learned a lot. The more awareness training drivers receive, the safer the roads are for cyclists. We all have to learn to share the road.”

Photo: Courtesy of British Cycling.