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Islington to lorry drivers: on your bikes

Safety training for truckers to include urban cycling

IIslington Council has announced that all lorry drivers working for the council or on building sites in the borough will have to take a cycling course to help make them aware of the needs of vulnerable road users, including cyclists.

The bike training will be part of a Safe Urban Driving training course which all drivers will have to take if they work directly for the council or its contractors. In addition, the council will use its planning powers to encourage independent developers to send their drivers on the course or an equivalent.

The decision comes just days after transport minister Robert Goodwill told the Commons Transport Select Committee that it would be a good idea for truck drievsr to spend some time on a bike

According to the Islington Tribune, the council will insist that any developer of a large project - more than 10 flats - has its drivers trained as part of granting planning permission.

Transport chief Councillor Andy Hull announced the policy at Thursday night’s council meeting. In a statement he said: “The safety of cyclists on Islington’s roads is a matter of life and death which the council takes extremely seriously.

“Through this new package of measures, we are pulling the different levers at our disposal to make the borough a safer place, not only for people on bikes but for pedestrians and drivers too.

“We can never eliminate all risk on our roads, but by acting on our fleet, procurement and planning policies we are doing what we can to minimise it.”

He told the Tribune that around 30 percent of all road crashes in Islington involve cyclists, but the six percent of roads under the control of Transport for London account for 47 percent of crashes.

“The council is, therefore, lobbying for road safety improvements on TfL’s roads, and in particular safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.

That means improving major gyratory and one-way systems in the borough including the Archway gyratory where Dr Clive Richards was killed by an HGV in August.

Training lorry drivers he said, was “something we can do now”.

The London Cycling Campaign welcomed the move. The LCC’s Tom Bogdonavich said: “We’re very much in favour of this. Anything that councils can do to make the roads safer for cyclists is to be welcomed.

“It’s an excellent step forward, but it is only one step. Ideally we’d like to see lorries redesigned so they do not have blind spots, by lowering the windscreens to knee height, such as you see in coaches or some rubbish trucks. And, separately, we’d like to see an improvement in infrastructure – including in Islington – to make cycling safe.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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