Cycle safety boosted as first 1,000 Crossrail lorry drivers complete road safety awareness training

By Jonathan Baggs

Cycle safety boosted as first 1,000 Crossrail lorry drivers complete road safety awareness training
  • Crossrail course for HGV drivers, developed with cycling and road safety groups, to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians

  • Crossrail working with contractors to ensure lorries are fitted with Fresnel lenses and vehicle side scanning equipment

  • Information for cyclists about Crossrail lorry routes in central London to be made available later this year via the Crossrail website

Ahead of main construction work for new central London stations beginning later this year, the first 1,000 Crossrail lorry drivers have completed an innovative training course which highlights the skills that drivers need to navigate London’s busy roads safely during Crossrail’s construction.

The Crossrail Lorry Driver Induction Training programme has been specifically developed for frequent lorry drivers working on the Crossrail project. Its aim is to ensure that drivers know how to drive carefully near cyclists and other vulnerable road users, particularly in central London. Lorry drivers working regularly on the project must complete the training programme.

The course is an example of best practice in the construction sector and was developed in consultation with cycling and road safety campaign groups. It is supported by the construction industry and over the next few years over 4,000 professional drivers will complete the course.

The one day course, delivered by Havering College in conjunction with Crossrail, is designed to provide attitude and behaviour training to professional lorry drivers of regular Crossrail vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. This includes drivers of concrete mixers, tippers, articulated low loaders and plant hire vehicles. Each course is attended by up to 20 drivers from a range of Crossrail contractors before they start working on a Crossrail worksite. Over 90 per cent of drivers attending the course agreed that the course will make them a safer driver, and has significantly raised their awareness of sharing London's roads with vulnerable road users.

In addition to this training, contractors are required to take additional measures to ensure road safety while working for Crossrail. Crossrail is working with contractors to ensure that HGVs are fitted with safety devices like Fresnel lenses and side scan equipment that allows the driver to see into blind spots. Vehicles must also carry signs to warn cyclists.

Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “The safety of all road users is of paramount importance to us. This is why we introduced lorry driver training ahead of intensive station construction in central London beginning later this year. Crossrail will maximise the use of the capital’s rivers and railways to transport materials, but there will always remain a need for lorries to access our construction sites. We insist that contractors’ vehicles are fitted with safety devices like Fresnel lenses and side scan equipment and that lorries travel on designated local traffic routes agreed with local authorities.”

Cynthia Barlow, Chair of RoadPeace said: “Road crashes are foreseeable, preventable and avoidable. We welcome the work of the Crossrail project in ensuring that drivers and their companies are provided with the training and information they need to operate with vulnerable road users in mind, and establish a comprehensive safety culture throughout the project."

Crossrail will shortly award the first of the main construction contracts for the central London stations with intensive construction getting underway from late 2011. It is critically important that Crossrail’s impact on central London is kept to a minimum. Last year Crossrail changed the tunnelling strategy on the western tunnelled section to build tunnels first and then excavate the stations. This significant change enables excavated material to travel through the new tunnels and emerge at the Royal Oak Portal where freight trains will carry the excavated material to Northfleet in Kent. Over 85% of the transportation of excavated material will now be by rail and water, significantly reducing the level of Crossrail lorry movements through the busy streets of London.

Crossrail lorries are required to travel on designated local routes in central London. These designated routes are approved by the relevant local authority under the Crossrail Act. These designated local routes and their importance is discussed during the training course, and all drivers take two assessments before they are awarded their certificates.

Later this year, Crossrail will provide dedicated information for cyclists on the Crossrail and Transport for London (TfL) websites about Crossrail lorry routes so that cyclists can make informed choices about cycle routes.

Crossrail is working closely with TfL to ensure all contractors working on the project become 'bronze' members of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). The scheme encourages safe and sustainable transport operations and each member undergoes a safety inspection and audit. Working alongside TfL, Crossrail is committed to employing safe transport companies on the project and to date over 100 companies in Crossrail supply chains have signed up to FORS.

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For further information contact Crossrail Press Office on 0203 2299 552 or email pressoffice@crossrail.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

A commitment to lorry driver training, including sharing the road with vulnerable road users, was made in Undertaking 577 in the Crossrail Act.

The induction training course was developed in consultation with cycling and road safety campaign groups including London Cycling Campaign (LCC), Cyclist Touring Club (CTC) and RoadPeace.

For infrequent lorry drivers to Crossrail worksites a comprehensive driver information pack information pack is provided and can be viewed at: /delivering/logisitics/crossrail-lorry-driver-induction-training

The 1,000th lorry driver to attend the induction training course was Ricky Woodcock of O'Donovan (Waste Disposal) Ltd.

The commitment to encourage freight operators to join the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme is a reflection of the Mayor of London’s cycle safety action plan. It sets out a clear aim to promote and encourage wider membership of the scheme to deliver training and messages on cycle safety for all fleet operators in London.

About Crossrail:

Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts. 

When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration across the capital, helping to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre, and cutting journey times across the city. 

Crossrail will deliver substantial economic benefits for all of London and the South East. Latest economic forecasts suggest that Crossrail will add £42bn to the economy. Previous estimates were that Crossrail would deliver up to a £36bn boost to the UK economy.

Up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak of construction in 2013/2015.

Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

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