Truck drivers will be riding round Belfast on bikes as part of a new scheme aimed at improving safety for all road users.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has joined forces with the walking and cycling charity Sustrans to create Safe Urban Driving – a best practice training programme to help prevent collisions with vulnerable road users in an urban environment.

The Driver CPC accredited course has been developed by the FTA and Sustrans in partnership with Cycle Training UK (CTUK) and is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Belfast Strategic Partnership.

During the one-day course drivers get on bikes to experience the road from a cyclist’s perspective. The course was piloted at the end of June with 10 Belfast City Council drivers and is now being rolled out further.

FTA’s Seamus Leheny said the association was delighted to be involved in an initiative designed to improve road safety and increase awareness.

Mr Leheny said:
“We represent 14,000 members in the UK who operate over 200,000 commercial goods vehicles, which is around half of the UK fleet. Our members take road safety awareness very seriously and are working hard to reduce the fatalities involving lorries on the road. We are pleased to work with Sustrans in developing this training course and are delighted at the uptake to date.”

Karen Mawhinney, Sustrans Cycle Skills Unit Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland, said: “Sustrans is pleased to work with the FTA on a training programme and awareness campaign to ensure both drivers and cyclists can safely share road space. As the number of cyclists increase, we have seen a rise in casualties, particularly involving lorries.”

As part of the course, a leaflet has been produced highlighting safety tips for both drivers and cyclists.

The Safe Urban Driving programme will be launched on Thursday 6 August from 11am – 12 noon at Writers Square opposite St Anne’s Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast.

Please contact Anne Madden at Sustrans if you wish to attend – Tel: 028 9043 4569 or 07826 556416