HGV drivers from Northern Ireland’s largest waste management company, RiverRidge Recycling, took to their bikes in Belfast as part of the Safe Urban Driving course, aimed at improving safety for all road users.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has developed a new scheme in conjunction with Cycle Training UK (CTUL), Sustrans, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Belfast Strategic Partnership, which took place on Tuesday 27th September 2016, to help HGV drivers gain first-hand experience of the challenges faced by cyclists.
Stephen Thompson, Group Transport Manager at RiverRidge Recycling comments, “We were delighted to take part in the Safe Urban Driving programme. RiverRidge Recycling is dedicated to improving our driver’s skills and their alertness of vulnerable road users.”
With four sites in Belfast, Coleraine, Derry-Londonderry and Portadown, the group coordinates a fleet of 60 vehicles to serve a diverse customer base across both the private and public sectors of Northern Ireland.
Stephen continues, “Our fleet covers most of Northern Ireland and we acknowledge that we have a part to play in making our roads safer for all operators. This initiative allowed us to take to the busy roads on a bike, to help us appreciate the feeling of riding through a congested city centre.
“It is important that our fleet is able to be driven with cyclists and pedestrians in mind and this programme really helps affirm the issues faced by today’s city cyclists and how much space they require. We are currently looking at installing more cameras in our vehicles to provide more visibility to the driver in relation to vulnerable road users and pedestrians.”
The accredited course is split into two parts, one half of the day involved theory training in a classroom with an FTA coach and the other half of the day involved cycling to gain a cyclists’ perspective of riding on and sharing busy urban roads with commercial vehicles alongside two Sustrans trainers.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said, “The feedback from local HGV operators on this road safety initiative has been extremely positive, and we were delighted to be running the scheme in Belfast again this year. It is vital that as an industry we play our part in improving road safety, especially in Belfast city centre and our other urban areas.
“It is great to have RiverRidge Recycling’s support. It is important for business to understand the issues faced by both professional drivers and vulnerable road users, the course helps to promote good driving behaviour and safety tips. The more awareness drivers receive, the safer the roads are for cyclists. We all have to learn to share the road.”