Drivers Become Two-Wheel Aware

Cycle users next to lorry

Bus, truck and van Drivers from the West Midlands have been undergoing some unusual training this Spring - they've been cycling round Birmingham City Centre as part of a new initiative from Centro and local cycle trainers BikeRight!. The 'Safe Urban Driving' course gives these professional drivers a taste of what it's like to be a vulnerable road user in a busy urban environment, giving them better awareness and more respect for people cycling in cities - and in some cases, inspiring a few lorry drivers to get their bikes out of the shed!

The course teaches the drivers about why they should expect to see people cycling in the centre of a lane, how cyclists 'filter' through congested traffic and choose when to use a cycle lane, and when they should be ignored - all in line with the National Standard for Cycle Training as issued by the Department for Transportation. BikeRight!'s instructors then give them a first-hand experience of this by taking them through Birmingham City Centre, filtering into Holloway Head roundabout, through the NCN Route 5, and finishing around Paradise Circus - the same experience commuters on bikes have on a daily basis.

The political will for this training comes from a disproportionate number fatalities of cyclists and pedestrians which involve large vehicles - 53% of deaths of cyclists involve a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, which only represent 3% of on-road traffic.

But what do the drivers think? When asked about the most useful part of the course, they said:

  • "Going out and putting myself in a bike user's shoes. Seeing how road users treat you"
  • "Instruction on use of primary road position and the reasons for adopting it"
  • "Learning the reasons why bike riders position themselves for certain manoeuvres on the road"

The courses are available and on-going for professional drivers, contributing 7hrs towards the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DriverCPC) from BikeRight! - check out for more information!

Sam Cooke, BikeRight!