DR MARILYN JOHNSON JOINS FUTURE SAFE PEDESTRIAN AND HEAVY VEHICLE FORUM

The Amy Gillett Foundation were honoured to be part of the Holcim Future Safe Industry Heavy Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety Forum on Wednesday 24 March.

The virtual event gave organisations a platform to help both members of the industry and the general public gain a greater understanding and create positive change to improve the safe interaction between vulnerable road users and heavy vehicles.

The Forum saw several notable speakers and experts in road safety present, including AGF’s Research and Policy Manager Dr Marilyn Johnson. Dr Jonhson spoke about the Sharing Roads Safely (SRS) vulnerable road user awareness training program developed for heavy vehicle drivers to increase safe interactions with vulnerable road users, including motorbike riders, pedestrians and cyclists.

“Cyclists need others to recognise just how vulnerable you can be on a bike, that space is incredibly important.”

Dr Marilyn Johnson – AGF Research and Policy Manager

SRS stakeholder workshops and working groups commenced in 2016 and 2017 respectively, with Dr Johnson travelling abroad to seek the best international heavy vehicle courses and reporting her findings to these groups on what would work in Victoria.

Initially, there were mixed reviews from stakeholders who supported safety but had reservations about how to successfully adapt international methods to suit local road conditions and drivers. 

Based on international best practice, SRS was largely informed by Safe Urban Driving, the heavy vehicle driver training course developed by Transport for London and the heavy vehicle industry as part of the Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) program. The UK course has been delivered over 100,000 times and demonstrated significant reductions in crashes between heavy vehicles and vulnerable road users.

AGF won the rights to develop the course and continued adapting it for 12 months in consultation with the government, the heavy vehicle industry and vulnerable road user groups for drivers to ensure the Australian course was fit for Australian roads. 

After a successful pilot run in September 2018 that showed that the truck drivers could complete all aspects of the course, AGF has successfully delivered the SRS course since February 2019,  with slight delays in face-to-face modules due to safety requirements regarding COVID protocols.

“The way we frame the SRS course is acknowledging that we all make mistakes on the road, but those mistakes shouldn’t cost people their lives.”

Dr Marilyn Johnson

The course modules are as follows:

  • Module 1 is an online introduction to the Safe System approach to establish the importance of vulnerable road user training and offers information and practical advice for key scenarios.
  • Module 2 is a face-to-face facilitated workshop with an increased focus on vulnerable road user perspectives, sharing roads and vehicle equipment. It also gives participants the chance to talk about their experiences, watch videos from those impacted and facilitated discussions.
  • Module 3 allows participants to experience the road from a cyclists perspective. Professional cycling coaches lead the drivers on a bike ride along a designated route that has been safety audited to maximise drivers’ experience and mitigate risks.

Since the course launched, there have been over 1,200 deliveries of module 1, over 200 deliveries of module 2 and almost 100 deliveries of module 3. 

The feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive with 90% claiming training was useful, 88% having a better understanding of issues and 87% being more aware of responsibilities.

“Nothing is quite transformative as the drivers being on the bike and being on the road. When they come back from that ride they’re really quite changed and we have a different conversation where it’s about what they’ve experienced as a cyclist”.

Dr Marilyn Johnson

The next step for the SRS training course is using funding from the Federal government to expand the training interstate. Complete SRS demonstration projects are in development for Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Perth.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all our partners and suppliers and acknowledge the support from the Victorian Government, ACT Government, Rail Projects Victoria and the Australian Government.

Visit our Sharing Roads Safely page for more information and help keep everyone safe on our roads

Article by AGF Media

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