600 Cambridge HGV drivers take attitude-changing, Safe Urban Driving course

More than 600 lorry drivers have been on the cyclist awareness course, Safe Urban Driving in Cambridge, with both theoretical and practical testing.
The Safe Urban Driving course, first developed by Transport for London, shows HGV drivers how to interact with cyclists – and the course directors say drivers’ attitudes are changed.

“Many of the drivers haven’t been on bikes in 20 or 30 years,” said Kieron McNab, head of training at Outspoken, the company delivering practical testing.
They tended to ‘vent’ when they first arrived at sessions, he told Cambridge News.

He said: “It’s very easy for people to focus on the negative side of a particular vehicle. As a driver it would be easy to focus on the cyclists going through red lights. From a cyclist’s perspective you tend to focus on the cars cutting you off. That’s just human nature, and it does inform the [HGV] drivers’ perspective.

“The initial response from the drivers is really really good, educating them and giving them a bit of knowledge. I think they turn up thinking we are going to lecture them about how wonderful cyclists are. It’s just about consulting and understanding,” he said.

The course lasts seven hours and can be used as part of the 35 hours of compulsory annual training for HGV drivers.

When the Cambridge training course was launched, Cambridge University announced that drivers entering its sites would have had to do this or a similar course to be allowed in.

The theory component is delivered at Outspoken’s new office in Cambridge’s Cowley Road, by partners Fleet Source and Cycle Confident.

Mr McNab said: “It’s the nature of people sharing the space on the roads, obviously infrastructure would be great, segregated infrastructure would be awesome, but the cost implications are massive.

“The education about how people can help each other share those spaces on the roads is really important.”

(Credit Sarah Barth, Road CC)

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