With strong backing for Highway Code revisions to reduce road danger to walkers and cyclists, the government now plans to introduce the measures in Parliament in the winter.
According to the Department for Transport all of its proposed changes to the Highway Code received majority support in the consultation carried out in 2020. Key proposed changes include:
• Establishing a hierarchy of road users – giving greater responsibility to those using larger vehicles
• Turning vehicles advised to give way to walkers and cyclists proceeding straight on – useful guidance especially where cycle tracks cross minor roads
• Vehicles stopping at zebra crossings and junctions when a pedestrian is waiting to cross.
• Guidance on the minimum distances when passing a cyclist.
• Advice to open car doors with the left hand to encourage a backward look and preventing ‘dooring ‘ collisions.
Despite significant majority support for all the proposed measures, the government says some wordings may change anyway in response to criticism. Thus, rather than specify two ‘close passing’ distances for cars at different speeds they may opt for just one (2m) to save confusion.
LCC along with other cycling organisations like Cycling UK lobbied for changes to the Highway Code for many years and we welcome the progress that’s been made. Pedestrian organisations also support the changes, Stephen Edwards, interim chief executive of Living Streets said: “Road users who have potential to cause the greatest harm should take the greatest share of responsibility to reduce the danger they pose.”
The changes also have the backing of motoring representatives. RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes said: “These proposals should make cycling and walking safer, and this is to be welcomed. A concerted effort must now be made to communicate the changes to drivers because as we know, many do not read the Highway Code for long periods after passing their test.”
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