Lorry drivers learn to share streets with cyclists

Training sessions aim to reduce accidents to cyclists.

HGV drivers at Wolverhampton’s BOC Gas & Gear have been seeing the streets through cyclists’ eyes on a Safe Urban Driving course.

The one-day training sessions, at BOC’s depot in Wolverhampton city centre, include both classroom and practical learning. Drivers are taught about safe road positions, blind spots and national standards for cycle training. The Safe Urban Driving course is FORS (Freight Operators Recognition Scheme) approved and is jointly funded by Centro, the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, and BOC Gas & Gear.

More than 600 drivers from West Midlands haulage, delivery and public transport companies have taken part in driver training since it was introduced in March 2015 through Centro’s Smart Network, Smarter Choices programme. Instructors from BikeRight! deliver the courses, along with a full programme of free cycle training and maintenance classes for adults across the West Midlands.

Councillor Judith Rowley, Chair of the Smart Networks Smarter Choices Board and lead for fair and safe transport on the West Midlands Transport Delivery Committee, said: “We have set ambitious targets for cycling in the West Midlands Cycling Charter and, as we encourage more people to get on their bikes, we must also ensure that safety is a priority. So training is really important – both to improve cyclists’ confidence on the roads and help drivers to understand the needs of cyclists.”

Natalie Hipkins, transport manager, BOC UK & Ireland, said: “The safe urban driving course and cycle awareness training is becoming an important part of BOC’s driver training programme and work in the local community. Our drivers have found the sessions really useful.”

BikeRight! marketing manager Andy Tucker said: “Drivers get to go out on bikes in real traffic situations with qualified cycling instructors. This is what makes the course so effective and gets such positive feedback.”