25 out of 33 councils in London committed to cyclist-awareness training for their lorry drivers

Cyclist awareness training for lorry drivers

Thanks to our campaigns, cyclist-awareness training for lorry drivers has gone mainstream, with 25 councils out of 33 in Greater London committing to provide on-bike training for their lorry drivers.

This compares with just one council in 2010, just three years ago.

Just a few years ago, when we went into meetings with decision-makers proposing that lorry drivers should experience riding on a bicycle to improve the safety of cyclists in London we were treated with polite incredulity.

However, 10,000 Londoners signed our petition in 2010 calling for councils to adopt cyclist-awareness training across Greater London.

Not long afterwards, Transport for London decided to make it compulsory for any company bidding for their substantial haulage contracts.

This type of training is essential because lorries make up 5% of motor traffic in London, but are involved in over half the cycling deaths.

Cyclist-awareness training, which includes drivers riding bicycles on the road for a day, has a crucial role in reducing danger to cyclists.

Back in 2010, Lambeth Council was the only borough that offered this type of potentially life-saving training.

Now there are only eight councils that have NOT yet committed to providing it – Barking, Brent, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon, Redbridge, Sutton and Wandsworth – making 25 that accept it’s a vital part of their road danger reduction programme.

Most councils employ private haulage contractors - companies like SITA, veolia - which means that cyclist-awareness training is becoming part of the safety culture within these firms, as well as permeating the public sector.

We at the London Cycling Campaign are rightly proud of our success in pushing this issue to the top of the road danger agenda, running two campaigns to improve lorry safety in the last four years:

  1. ‘No More Lethal Lorries’ (2010-11): This campaign called specifically for all councils to adopt cyclist-awareness training for all lorry drivers. 10,000 people signed our petition, and it was instrumental in persuading Transport for London to insist on cyclist-awareness training for all its drivers.
  2. ‘Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling’ (2012-13). This campaign calls for all councils to adopt cyclist-awareness training for all lorry drivers, and to only use the best-equipped equipped lorries. It also calls on these conditions to be built into all future contracts with haulage companies. Nearly 5000 letters have been sent by our supporters to their council leaders calling on them to adopt our Safer Lorries conditions.

Exactly one year after launch, our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign is still bearing fruit, with Kingston Council the latest to ‘go green’ (see our map) committing to only using the best-equipped vehicles and best-trained drivers.

And two other councils, Barnet and Merton, have just committed to taking important steps to improve the safety of their lorry fleets, well on the way to fulfilling our pledge demands.

Kingston Council is the 12th council in Greater London to agree to include all our Safer Lorries conditions into all future contracts with haulage companies and apply them to their own fleet.

These are the councils that have committed to our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling conditions: 

City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Southwark, Waltham Forest.

Barking and Richmond are now the only two councils still in the weakest category in our lorry danger ratings, doing the least to protect people in their borough from lorry danger.

These councils have taken some steps to reduce lorry danger, but haven’t yet fulfilled the conditions of our pledge:

Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Merton, Redbridge, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Westminster.

If your council hasn’t taken our pledge, please use our simple online letter-writing tool to contact your council leader calling on them to take our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge.

We thank the 5000 people who've already taken actions in our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign, because your pressure is vital in making sure this issue stays at the top of the council agenda in your area.

Please read our safety advice so you know how best to protect yourself against lorry danger while cycling in London.