To enhance the safety of the increasing number of cyclists on Hackney’s roads, the council’s road safety team is running accredited cycle awareness training courses for its fleet of truck and bus drivers.
Hackney believes it is the first council in the country to do so and that it is also the only council to offer the course free to any freight operator or HGV driver that drives through the borough.
The Safe Urban Driving course, which has both theory and practical cycling elements, is accredited as a Certificate of Professional Competence unit which drivers are required to undergo every year in order to retain their license.
The course is similar in concept to the council’s ‘Exchanging Places’ events, where cyclists get into the cab of an HGV to see the world from the driver’s perspective. In this instance the course allows drivers to gain a better understanding of Hackney’s busy roads from the saddle of a bike.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We are extremely pleased to be the first local authority to roll out this course to all our drivers. The training is a highly enjoyable and informative learning experience, giving the council’s drivers an appreciation of the challenges faced by cyclists.”
The course was developed and accredited in conjunction with Transport for London’s Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) group along with a number of other councils and the training provider Cycle Training UK.
Trevor Parsons, co-ordinator of the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney, said: "This is one of the most inspiring responses yet to the tragedy of pedestrians and cyclists being killed and seriously injured by lorries.
“We are delighted that hundreds of drivers will be getting practical experience of cycling in the coming years, and we hope that this will help to build a culture of mutual understanding and risk reduction on our streets.
“We particularly look forward to this training reaching construction-related haulage firms, whose vehicles are disproportionately involved in serious and fatal collisions.”
For more information contact Lucy Nandris on 020 8356 6594.