More than 1,100 HGV drivers in the North West have taken part in a one-day Safe Urban Driving course operated by Manchester and Liverpool-based cycle training firm BikeRight!

The seven-hour course has been devised to raise awareness of vulnerable road users to professional lorry and coach drivers.

It involves the drivers taking to the road on bikes in order to see it from a different perspective, with an aim to inform future driver behaviours while working in an urban environment.

Since its launch at the end of June, around 1,500 lorry and coach drivers have taken part in the scheme. BikeRight! also told FreightintheCity it had just received a booking for 60 HGV drivers from Hanson Cement.

Colin Unsworth, BikeRight! course instructor, said the course offers the opportunity to gain practical experience of cycling on the roads accompanied by BikeRight! qualified instructors. “This helps lorry drivers to define who vulnerable road users are when assessing risk and to raise awareness of cyclists,” he added. "We believe the course saves lives."

Sue Bingham, deputy of Preston-based Bowker Transport, who has already put its drivers through the training, said: "All our vehicles are fully kitted out with close-proximity side scanners, audible left turn, class VI mirrors and rear signage, so all this put together helps our drivers enormously and raises their awareness. We plan to put all our drivers through this course every three years."

The courses are JAUPT-approved and can form part of the Driver CPC periodic training requirements.

Courses taking place in Greater Manchester are fully funded by Transport for Greater Manchester and those in the West Midlands are funded by Centro.

BikeRight! said courses can be arranged anywhere in the UK from its sites in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle.