Updates to the Highway Code on 29th January have introduced a risk-based hierarchy of road users, aimed at giving priority and protection to the most vulnerable, whilst increasing the responsibility of drivers of larger, heavier vehicles in taking care of the more at-risk they’re sharing the road with.
The changes follow a consultation reviewing the safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in 2020.
New guidance for cyclists includes being as visible as possible, riding more prominently in the centre of the road in quiet or slow moving traffic as well as on the approach to junctions or where the road narrows. The guidance also says to ride at least 1.5 feet away from the kerb edge – and further where it is “safe to do so” – when cycling on busier roads.
Drivers will need to be aware of both passing distance and speed when moving past pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders by leaving at least 5 feet of space when overtaking up to 30mph, but more when passing at higher speeds. The update also recommends car users use the hand on the opposite side of the door to reach across when opening. Known as the ‘Dutch reach,’ it encourages drivers to look over their shoulder for cyclists before opening the door.
Cyclists riding in groups are encouraged to ride two abreast, but also to be aware of traffic behind and allowing them to overtake when it’s safe, for example by moving into single file. New rules for roundabouts also give priority to cyclists in addition.
Pedestrians, in turn, have priority when crossing at junctions, where all other road users should give way.
Full Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk
The Government is to fund a £500,000 Think! awareness campaign from this month after a recent poll carried out by the AA revealed a third weren’t aware of the changes, with 4% having “no intention” of looking at the details. More than 13,700 drivers were questioned between January 8 and 18 for the survey. The AA has accused the Government of being “far too silent” on the changes, but the Department for Transport insisted it will ensure “all road users are aware”.