Cycling lessons for Edinburgh HGV drivers

Edinburgh Council follow Islington in prescribing cycling training to help lorry drivers to "empathise with cyclists"

by Elliot Johnston   December 18, 2013  

Edinburgh Castle by Klaus Hermsen.jpg

 

A pilot scheme to educate lorry drivers about the dangers their vehicles pose to cyclists has been announced by City of Edinburgh Edinburgh, and will begin in the New Year.

Employees of the local authority will take part in a scheme to give drivers of HGVs a basic education in cycling technique and cycling proficiency in an attempt to teach them how to share the road safely with cyclists.

The Scotsman reports that a pilot will begin in the New Year with the roads team, which performs maintenance and repairs. The council intends to roll the scheme out to a larger fleet of vehicles, including all refuse and recycling lorries in 2015 if the tests prove to be successful.

City of Edinburgh Council’s deputy transport leader, Councillor Jim Orr, highlighted that HGVs account for a high proportion of road deaths in the city and introduced the council’s plans for the scheme.

He said: “There were two cycling fatalities in Edinburgh due to lorries in 2011 and 2012, each one a tragedy, and these accounted for half of all cycling fatalities, even though lorries are a relatively small proportion of traffic."

He said the pilot scheme "would include practical on-street cycle training for drivers. The aim would be to encourage lorry drivers to empathise with cyclists as vulnerable road users, and understand how to share the road with them. If the pilot scheme is successful, it is our intention that it will be rolled out across the whole fleet by the end of 2015. If so, we will be the first local authority in Scotland to have such standards.”

The council’s announcement comes after the London Borough of Islington released plans for its Safe Urban Driving training course last week for the council’s employees as well as its contractors.

Those plans were announced after six cyclists lost their lives in London during November, with large vehicles involved in all of those incidents. 

In a statement, Edinburgh cycle safety campaigners Lynne and Ian McNicoll, whose son Andrew died when he was struck by a lorry while cycling to work in January 2012, said they supported the council's initiative.

The couple, who set up the Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust, which is now represented on the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Cycling said: “This new proposal for a pilot on-street cycle training scheme for drivers of the council’s fleet builds on these earlier initiatives and is most welcome.”

Director of policy at road safety charity IAM, Neil Greig, welcomed the initiative but said that some cyclists also needed to understand the driver's perspective. 

He told The Scotsman: “Anything that cultivates the atmosphere of sharing the road has to be welcomed, but lorry drivers are not always the main problem. They tend to have undergone extra tuition and have extra licensing requirements.

“Often it’s cyclists and car drivers who don’t realise how little a lorry driver can see. So while it’s good that this initiative is being introduced, we also need to see cyclists up in the cab with lorry drivers.”

Mr Greig concluded by citing the Metropolitan Police’s Exchanging Places scheme in London which won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

He said. “The Metropolitan Police in London has just won a safety award for placing a big lorry in central London and inviting cyclists in to show how limited their views can be.

“If Police Scotland and Edinburgh could do something similar that would do a great deal for road safety. It could highlight the dangers of how little visibility those driving large vehicles may have of cyclists.”

 

It's not only councils that are dishing out advice to HGV operators. Major motor vehicle insurance broker Zurich Global Corporate recently released their guidlines titled: Risk Insight - Sharing The Road With Cyclists. The guide focuses on giving examples of hazards that bike riders may encounter that may not be immediately obvious to drivers.

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

How about extending that scheme to all motorists? It doesn't need to be an expensive course. How about a small leaflet sent to every household with a few bits of information, like "yes, you really have to share the road with cyclists", "there's an actual living person on the bicycle in front of you" and "no, it really doesn't matter if you have to go 20 mph instead of 30 mph for 10 seconds". Maybe a version with text for people with at least half a brain, and a version with pictures for the other 50% of motorists.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [288 posts]
18th December 2013 - 14:11

19 Likes

ALL drivers should have cycle training. It should be part of every class of training, so car drivers ride before they get behind the wheel, and it gets repeated for every add-on you do.

Restrict the driving licence to 5 years and retest everyone to ensure drivers remain safe, rather than just 'get lucky' once.

posted by teaboy [179 posts]
18th December 2013 - 15:50

14 Likes

Why don't they design lorrys to give the driver greater visiblity? Bring their cab down closer to the level of other road users.

posted by bauchlebastart [85 posts]
19th December 2013 - 9:11

6 Likes

bauchlebastart wrote:
Why don't they design lorrys to give the driver greater visiblity? Bring their cab down closer to the level of other road users.
Because a lower cab severely reduces visibility on the open road, and it's essential to be able to see further than the car in front. If we left a gap of two hundred metres, more cars would see that gap as an opportunity to overtake, causing more deaths involving "head on" collisions.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
19th December 2013 - 10:04

7 Likes

Neil753 wrote:
bauchlebastart wrote:
Why don't they design lorrys to give the driver greater visiblity? Bring their cab down closer to the level of other road users.
Because a lower cab severely reduces visibility on the open road, and it's essential to be able to see further than the car in front. If we left a gap of two hundred metres, more cars would see that gap as an opportunity to overtake, causing more deaths involving "head on" collisions.

Good explaination, thanks

posted by bauchlebastart [85 posts]
19th December 2013 - 14:33

7 Likes