Edinburgh council puts lorry drivers on bikes to learn cyclists' perspective

Pilot scheme of classroom-based and practical training developed in partnership with Cycling Scotland

by Simon_MacMichael   May 8, 2014  

Edinburgh lorry driver cycle training (picture credit City of Edinburgh Council)

City of Edinburgh Council is giving its lorry drivers the chance to learn how cyclists experience traffic by swapping their trucks for bicycles. The initiative, run in partnership with Cycling Scotland, has been welcomed by a couple who have campaigned for cycle safety after their son was killed in a collision with a lorry.

Currently operating as a pilot scheme, drivers undertake practical and theory-based sessions, aimed at giving them a greater understanding of the dangers cyclists face each day, with lorries involved in a disproportionate number of serious injuries and fatalities of bike riders.

The initial wave of training was aimed at van and lorry drivers working for the council’s transport department and who work in areas such as road maintenance.

Classroom-based training focused on the issues faced by vulnerable road users including pedestrians and cyclists, how to share the road safely with them, how to prepare for trips and about the safety features on vehicles.

Cycling Scotland delivered the practical aspect, which included bike safety checks as well as basic on-the-road training including negotiating junctions and traffic, aimed at helping drivers understand the cyclists’ perspective and thereby reduce the number of collisions.

The council’s transport convener, Lesley Hinds, said: “The Council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest 7% of our transport budget into developing cycling infrastructure throughout the city.

“But if we are to encourage cycling among our citizens we must ensure that they are given a safe and accessible environment in which to do it. By raising awareness of this with our drivers we are leading the way to creating an equal relationship between drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users alike.”

Cycling Scotland’s chief executive, Ian Aitken, added: “Fostering mutual respect is paramount for the safety of all road users and the initial Driver Awareness training for HGVs is a great example of an initiative designed to do just that.

“By putting lorry drivers in the position of cyclists, both in theory and in practice, they will become much more aware of cyclists while out on the road.

“Cycling Scotland welcomes City of Edinburgh Council’s initiative, and is pleased to be delivering the practical element of this training.

“We hope that other local authorities and organisations responsible for the operation of large goods vehicles in Scotland will follow suit.’’

There are hopes that the course will now be incorporated within the training that all of the council’s large goods vehicle drivers have to undergo, and it may also be rolled out to the private sector.

Ian McNicoll, who has campaigned for cycle safety with his wife Lynne after their son Andrew, aged 43, was killed in a collision with a lorry while riding to work in January 2012, welcomed news of the pilot scheme.

He said: “We welcome the introduction of driver awareness training, it’s incredibly important. It’s essential that HGV drivers are given appropriate training and know the risks that cyclists take on the roads.

“While the majority of HGV drivers are good drivers, the number of incidents involving HGVs and cyclists continues to be very high. We’re pleased that the Council is taking this into account with the initiative, and look forward to seeing how the course progresses.”

17 user comments

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Excellent initiative

If we could just get someone from up there to knock TFL's door and talk to them about their bus drivers

posted by Huw Watkins [54 posts]
8th May 2014 - 13:49

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Go one better, make Bike-Ability level 3 and CBT a prerequisite for all new drivers and anyone who drivers in a professional capacity unless they are physically handicapped and couldn't ride.

posted by Initialised [117 posts]
8th May 2014 - 13:51

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Huw Watkins wrote:
Excellent initiative

If we could just get someone from up there to knock TFL's door and talk to them about their bus drivers

And a mandatory part of getting a black cab licence.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [144 posts]
8th May 2014 - 13:51

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Make them do their "cyclist's perspective" riding in morning and afternoon rush-hours. make them do it again in winter in rush hour, when it is dark.

posted by severs1966 [76 posts]
8th May 2014 - 14:30

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Brilliant idea, well done Embra Cooncil!!!! Its all about Education Education, Education.

Das's picture

posted by Das [40 posts]
8th May 2014 - 14:33

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jasecd wrote:
Huw Watkins wrote:
Excellent initiative

If we could just get someone from up there to knock TFL's door and talk to them about their bus drivers

And a mandatory part of getting a black cab licence.

ANY cab's (specially addison lee), not just black cab

posted by wlizhi [3 posts]
8th May 2014 - 15:23

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This is a superb idea, I hope it is extended to other cities!

posted by kitsunegari [19 posts]
8th May 2014 - 15:35

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Good Idea, but drivers think they are giving enough room. Had one a few weeks ago, quiet road, close pass. Chased him down, and spoke with the drive.

Who thought he had given enough room, to be honest if it was rush hour, I would have excepted the pass, but on a Sunday morning, with enough road to give me a couple go feet of space!

I did ask him how I might have felt, and could we try the whole thing in reverse with me driving the bus!

posted by mlimburn [20 posts]
8th May 2014 - 15:58

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severs1966 wrote:
Make them do their "cyclist's perspective" riding in morning and afternoon rush-hours. make them do it again in winter in rush hour, when it is dark.

With all the truck drivers involved rushing home or running late for finishing a long shift, texting their mates whilst breaking the speed limit, rolling their near-side tyres as close as they possibly can to the white line of a cycle-path and give them an actual real life taste of what it's really like.

posted by farrell [1405 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:19

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Err, "pilot"? There have been schemes running to train up HGV drivers as part of their Certificate of Professional Competence which have a module with them on bikes for a couple of years now.

Contact an agency like Cycle Training UK in London who training like this for HGV drivers, also bus drivers and possibly others. LB Lambeth do it for their van drivers.

posted by ChairRDRF [121 posts]
8th May 2014 - 17:04

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“The Council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest 7% of our transport budget into developing cycling infrastructure throughout the city."

Hang on a minute. 7% of the budget for 'a primary mode of transport'. Surely that should read more like 47% if the stated intention is to be beleived? What will they do with the other 93%? Spend it on secondary forms of transport? Perhaps I'm being unfair and this quote is out of context but it looks rather like another case of failing to put money and mouths in the same place.

Besides that, it's good to see this sort of scheme and I hope it progresses to form part of mandatory training for all drivers.

posted by Matt eaton [395 posts]
8th May 2014 - 17:17

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Matt eaton wrote:
“The Council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest 7% of our transport budget into developing cycling infrastructure throughout the city."

Hang on a minute. 7% of the budget for 'a primary mode of transport'. Surely that should read more like 47% if the stated intention is to be beleived? What will they do with the other 93%? Spend it on secondary forms of transport? Perhaps I'm being unfair and this quote is out of context but it looks rather like another case of failing to put money and mouths in the same place.

Besides that, it's good to see this sort of scheme and I hope it progresses to form part of mandatory training for all drivers.

Bear in mind they're still paying for that ludicrous tram system, and that cycling infrastructure is generally the least expensive (i.e. paint). And that the roads around Edinburgh are atrocious.

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [167 posts]
8th May 2014 - 18:48

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I wouldn't put it past some elf n safety bod to kibosh this because it's too dangerous, what with tram tracks and heavy vehicles.....

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [530 posts]
8th May 2014 - 18:59

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Neil has nothing to say about this for once? I hope it makes a difference, but more lorry drivers thinking we should get out of their way for our own safety would be missing the point.
Perhaps their employers can encourage more Bike to Work Scheme applications, that might actually change things.


Leviathan of Riderstate

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posted by bikeboy76 [1252 posts]
8th May 2014 - 19:15

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wlizhi wrote:
jasecd wrote:
Huw Watkins wrote:
Excellent initiative

If we could just get someone from up there to knock TFL's door and talk to them about their bus drivers

And a mandatory part of getting a black cab licence.

ANY cab's (specially addison lee), not just black cab

Agreed. Personally I have found the black cabs the worst offenders but there's definitely room for improvement with the rest.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [144 posts]
9th May 2014 - 8:37

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Goldfever4 wrote:
Matt eaton wrote:
“The Council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest 7% of our transport budget into developing cycling infrastructure throughout the city."

Hang on a minute. 7% of the budget for 'a primary mode of transport'. Surely that should read more like 47% if the stated intention is to be beleived? What will they do with the other 93%? Spend it on secondary forms of transport? Perhaps I'm being unfair and this quote is out of context but it looks rather like another case of failing to put money and mouths in the same place.

Besides that, it's good to see this sort of scheme and I hope it progresses to form part of mandatory training for all drivers.

Bear in mind they're still paying for that ludicrous tram system, and that cycling infrastructure is generally the least expensive (i.e. paint). And that the roads around Edinburgh are atrocious.

It's a good concept and has been used elsewhere to good effect. Some London bus drivers have to do cycle training and some of the more responsible haulage companies do it too. I agree, cycle training should be compulsory for all vehicle drivers (apart from the physically disabled) as well as the CBT. I'd make that retrospective too.

As an aside, Embra used to have the best bus system in the UK back in the good old days. The tram system has cost a fortune, caused enormous disruption and only covers a fraction of its original route. Someone clever would've thought to re-use all the old suburban train routes that are currently glass strewn mixed use cycle/pedestrian routes but little used due to the risk of mugging.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2194 posts]
9th May 2014 - 8:40

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Goldfever4 wrote:
Matt eaton wrote:
“The Council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest 7% of our transport budget into developing cycling infrastructure throughout the city."

Hang on a minute. 7% of the budget for 'a primary mode of transport'. Surely that should read more like 47% if the stated intention is to be beleived? What will they do with the other 93%? Spend it on secondary forms of transport? Perhaps I'm being unfair and this quote is out of context but it looks rather like another case of failing to put money and mouths in the same place.

Besides that, it's good to see this sort of scheme and I hope it progresses to form part of mandatory training for all drivers.

Bear in mind they're still paying for that ludicrous tram system, and that cycling infrastructure is generally the least expensive (i.e. paint). And that the roads around Edinburgh are atrocious.

Paint IS NOT infrastructure!!!

posted by teaboy [152 posts]
9th May 2014 - 10:20

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