BBC News

Bus drivers trained to reduce risks to cyclists

media captionA camera attached to a bike shows how one cyclist had a close encounter with a Translink bus

Bus drivers in Northern Ireland are to be given special training to reduce the risks to cyclists who use bus lanes.

A campaign called Travelling in Harmony aims to help the drivers and cyclists better understand each other's needs.

The road accident figures tell a worrying story for road users on two wheels.

While the overall number of serious injuries on Northern Ireland roads is falling, the number of injuries to cyclists has risen sharply.

The figures for last year show overall injuries were down 28% on a four-year average while serious injuries to cyclists jumped by 96%.

Cycling is enjoying an explosion in popularity and is a significant and growing road safety issue.

The new campaign, launched by the roads minister Danny Kennedy, aims to improve the understanding between bus drivers and cyclists, who often have to share the same piece of road.

Bus company Translink and the cycling organisation Sustrans are both supporting the campaign.

Two thousand Translink bus drivers will complete a special training module highlighting best practice in sharing the road with cyclists.

"The campaign is about raising safety awareness by giving both cyclists and bus drivers a better understanding of using the road from each other's perspectives," said Translink's chief executive, Catherine Mason.