Lorry and bus drivers working for a London council are to be sent on training sessions in cycling road safety.
More than half of all fatal cycling accidents on the English capital's roads involve good vehicles.
Now drivers of bin lorries, school buses and other HGVs at Lambeth Council will undergo classroom and practical on-road cycle training to highlight the dangers posed to cyclists caught up in lorries’ blind spots.
Lambeth is believed to be the first council in London to give this kind of training to its staff.
Starting from November, the classroom sessions will see drivers taught how to anticipate how cyclists will behave on the road and minimise the danger of them being killed or injured.
The drivers will then get onto bikes, to give them greater understanding about cycling and a chance to see what it feels like to be a cyclist on a road with other traffic, including large vehicles like the ones they drive.
In addition to the training, signs will be installed on the back of Lambeth’s vehicles to warn cyclists of the dangers of cycling inside a lorry or bus.
The council has also been running HGV awareness sessions for cyclists, where they can climb into the cabs of lorries to see how drivers’ views are restricted.
The initiatives have been developed in partnership with the council’s environmental contractor, Veolia Environmental Services, and Cycle Training UK. The move coincides with National Road Safety Week, which begins on Monday.
Councillor Sally Prentice, Lambeth Council's cabinet member for environment, said: “London has the potential to be a world class cycling city. More and more people are taking it up and figures show that although twice as many people are cycling now in the borough than 10 years ago, the number of those being injured in collisions has not risen.
“However, half of all fatalities involve heavy goods vehicles. While there have been no incidents involving cyclists and vehicles driven by Lambeth staff in recent years, we are making sure our drivers get specific training that makes them more aware of the dangers their can lorries pose.
“We hope that other organisations that employ HGV drivers follow our lead on this and run similar training schemes so we can make London a safer place for cyclists. The council is happy to work with companies to promote these initiatives.”
In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, nine of the 19 cyclists who died on London’s roads were involved in a collision with a goods vehicle.
Cycling in Lambeth is getting safer. Despite the number of those cycling in the borough almost doubling since 2000, the number of those killed or seriously injured on Lambeth’s roads has remained at around 36 since 1994. In 2006, the figure dropped to 27. Five cyclists have been killed on Lambeth’s roads in the past five years.