Amendments to the Highway Code to create a road “hierarchy” to enhance the safety of walkers and cyclists

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Amendments to the Highway Code to create a road “hierarchy” to enhance the safety of walkers and cyclists


Further changes to the highway code will create a “hierarchy of road users” with the aim of enhancing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the updates, which will be included in a new version of the Highway Code released in the fall, as part of a £ 338million scheme to boost cycling and walking.

In an effort to capitalize on the walking and cycling boom during the COVID pandemic, the government will also increase funding for the construction of hundreds of kilometers of new bike lanes, improvements to the national cycling network and the establishment new programs to encourage walking. .

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A new version of the highway code will be published in the fall

The planned changes to the highway code include:

• A hierarchy of road users which ensures that road users who can do the most harm have the greatest responsibility for reducing the danger they may pose to others.
• Reinforced pedestrian priority on sidewalks and at pedestrian crossings
• Advice on safe overtaking distances and speeds and ensuring cyclists have the right of way at junctions when going straight.

It is understood that the ‘Dutch reach’ method of opening vehicle doors will also be included among the changes, as has been proposed by cycling activists to prevent cyclists from being struck by open doors.

This will see vehicle drivers and passengers being asked to use their distant hand to open a door, rather than the hand closest to the door, causing them to pivot and encouraging them to look behind for any oncoming traffic.

Mr Shapps said: “Millions of us have discovered over the past year how biking and walking are great ways to stay in shape, reduce traffic jams on the roads and help to the environment.

“As we rebuild more environmentally after the pandemic, we are determined to continue this trend by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

“This £ 338million package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of biking and walking, empowering more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and our cities cleaner. green. “

Cycling UK, which consulted Mr Shapps’ service on the proposed changes to the highway code, called the updates “long overdue”.

The association’s campaign manager, Duncan Dollimore, told Sky News: “The highway code should seek to reinforce behaviors that reduce the danger we pose to other road users and protect the people who use the road. more risky, so rules that impose greater liability on people driving larger vehicles are long overdue.

“While we are all responsible for our own behavior, a bus driver’s lack of attention carries far greater risks to others than that of a pedestrian, so of course those responsible for larger vehicles should take on greater responsibility.

“I hope these changes herald a shift in attitude where the first question in any conversation about road safety is how to reduce danger, not how people protect themselves from it. “

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The COVID pandemic has caused a boom in walking and cycling

The announcement was also welcomed by the Living Streets charity, which says the proposed changes will “restore the balance” of liability for road users.

Stephen Edwards, acting chief executive of the charity, said: “The traffic laws currently treat children going to school and truck drivers as if they were also responsible for their own safety or for their own safety. that of others.

“These changes will restore that balance.

“Pedestrians are the least dangerous on the road, but they often pay the price.

“Those road users who are likely to cause the most damage should take the greatest responsibility for reducing the danger they pose.

“Whether we also choose to drive or cycle, we are all pedestrians. These proposed revisions will benefit us all.

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