Friday, 9 May 2014

Edinburgh City council lorry drivers take cycling lessons

Cycling stock

Lorry drivers more used to the tall cabs, big engines and six wheels of their daily drives have donned reflective jackets and helmets in a bid to improve awareness of cycling safety among Edinburgh's HGV contingent.

The council lorry drivers took part in a pilot initiative that consists of both theory and practical cycling sessions that aim to encourage drivers to empathise with vulnerable road users.

Cycling Scotland, the country's national organisation for the promotion of cycling safety, organised the practical lessons that see drivers take to the saddle on some of Edinburgh's busiest streets.

Although the rate of casualties among those who cycle to work has steadily decreased over the last decade, recent figures have revealed that a significant number of the incidents are associated with or involve heavy goods vehicles.

Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh City Council's transport convener, told the BBC: "The council is committed to promoting cycling as a primary mode of transport, and as such we have pledged to invest seven per cent 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."

Cycle safety campaigner Ian McNicoll, who has worked with his wife Lynne to raise awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists on the road since losing his son Andrew in a cycling incident with a HGV, welcomed the pilot.

He told Cycling Scotland: "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."

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