Stagecoach develops cycle awareness programme

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Scheme UK’s first in-house programme aims to promote awareness of cyclists in the capital

Stagecoach has worked with Cycle Training UK (CTUK) to develop the UK’s first in-house cycle awareness programme for bus drivers.

The training course, which will be delivered at Stagecoach’s London West Ham training garage, aims to help drivers minimise the risk around sharing the city’s road space with cyclists.

The firm hopes to start delivering the programme this summer.

Stagecoach recently took part in a London-wide training course called ‘Safe Urban Driving’, which is accredited as part of the Driver CPC.

Five Stagecoach London trainers were put through a four-day National Standards cycle instructor’s course at the company’s training centre.

All five participants completed the training successfully to become Provisional Accredited National Standard Cycling Instructors (NSIs).

Jean Mowbray, Head of Marketing, Cycle Training UK, said: “Stagecoach has taken an innovative approach to train driver trainers who are also keen cyclists to deliver the programme.

“Key to this is to encourage drivers to empathise with cyclists. It makes sense and has more impact for the drivers to actually experience cycling on the road themselves, rather than talking around it.

“The Stagecoach trainers now have a unique perspective of the road, as cycling instructors and driver trainers. This can only help to further minimise risk for everyone and we recommend all professional drivers using urban roads follow Stagecoach’s lead.” Stagecoach London has since developed its own CPC cycle awareness training, which can be delivered in-house by its own training instructors. It was piloted under observation from a CTUK instructor. The next stage is to fully accredit the team when they deliver their CPC programme.

Stagecoach London Training Officer Malcolm Critchard said: “We are keen to ensure all of our drivers are cycle aware. We were impressed by the interactive and practical nature of the CTUK programme and the way it communicated concepts directly and clearly to the drivers. We wanted to explore this type of training and have it tailored to our own requirements.”

Trainee driver Richard Brown added: “The cycle training gave me a greater awareness of cyclists’ movements, positioning and habits on the road. Drivers need to empathise with cyclists and be aware of the shared road space.”

Last year, Stagecoach Group announced that its employees had benefited from £1m worth of new bikes in less than a year through the company’s Cycle to Work Scheme.

Almost 1500 of the company’s bus drivers and support staff have taken advantage of the scheme.

Under flexible pay and benefit arrangements the firm provides employees with a bike to use for cycling to and from work. The initiative provides savings on the price of the bikes through bulk discounts and employees also save on tax and national insurance.