The London Cycling Campaign has awarded Lambeth the ‘Best Workplace Cycling Initiative’ for its awareness campaign for cyclists and drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), in partnership with its waste management contractor Veolia Environmental Services.
The pioneering project gives cyclists the opportunity to sit in the cab of a lorry to find out about the blind spots in the lorry driver’s view, and provides practical cycle training for lorry drivers working for the council so that they can experience what it feels like to cycle on the road next to large vehicles.
Cyclists also learn from cycle trainers how to position themselves safely when riding near to a large vehicle and never to ride on the left hand side of an HGV. The project aims to tackle the danger that large vehicles pose to cyclists and to reduce the chance of cyclists being injured or killed in a collision with an HGV. Sadly, three cyclists were killed in Lambeth in 2008 as a result of a collision with a left-turning lorry.
The council has been working in partnership with Veolia over the past year to train all of the drivers of the council’s refuse vehicles and school buses on the cyclist awareness programme, the first council in London to so.
The drivers participate in a classroom discussion session where they think about what they would like cyclists to do in order to be safer on the roads, and then about what they can do to make things safer for cyclists. The training continues with a practical group cycling lesson which takes place off road, followed by a second cycle training session on the road. So far dozens of drivers have been trained and 330 Lambeth cyclists have attended the HGV awareness sessions.
The council is now rolling out the scheme to all other drivers of HGVs working for the council and plans to extend the scheme to businesses based in Lambeth.
Cllr Nigel Haselden, deputy cabinet member for sustainability on Lambeth Council, said: 'We are determined to do all we can to make Lambeth's roads as safe as they can be for cyclists. London has the potential to be a world class cycling city and councils and companies have a responsibility to do all they can to make cycling safer and therefore more attractive.
'We are delighted to win this award and hope that other organisations follow our lead on this and run similar training schemes.”
Robert Seear, Veolia's senior contracts manager in Lambeth, said: 'We are very pleased that this important initiative of which we are proud to be a partner has been recognised with this award. Many of our HGV drivers are bicycle riders too so they are only too aware of the potential dangers from both perspectives, but for all concerned it has been a thoroughly worthwhile scheme and one which we hope will continue to prosper to help keep our streets as safe as possible for all road users.
Lambeth Council actively encourages safe cycling through a range of initiatives: Lambeth offers one-to-one subsidised cycle confidence training sessions for anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough, to give people the skills and confidence to cycle safely on London’s roads. Hundreds of adults and children take part in these sessions every year. To book a one to one lesson telephone 020 7231 6005 or visit www.cycletraining.co.uk.
Cllr Sally Prentice, cabinet member for environment, said: “Cycling is a great way to keep fit and do you bit for the environment but it’s important that people cycle safely and in a way that is considerate to other road users, including pedestrians. That’s why we recommend people enrol on one of our specially subsidised cycle confidence training courses, so they can learn vital road skills to keep them safe. Some cyclists don’t realise that they can be invisible to lorry drivers so the message we want to get across is that it is never safe to cycle on the inside of lorry or bus.”
Winter Wheelin’ sessions have been held for the past two years during autumn to help cyclists carry on cycling safely as the evenings get darker. Cyclists have been able to pick up free reflectors, advice is given on reflective clothing, and cyclists can get their brakes, gears and tyres checked over by bike expert Dr Bike.