Highway code amendments challenge ‘might is right’ mindset on our roads, says Cycling UK

Cycling UK has welcomed the Government’s latest amendments to the Highway Code that were presented to MPs and Lords in Parliament today, 1st December.

The charity, which has campaigned for an update of the Highway Code for the last ten years, said that once these changes are part of the code they should make the roads safer for everyone.

The introduction of a hierarchy of road users recognises in law that those who pose the greatest risk to others have a higher level of responsibility. This means someone cycling will have greater responsibility to look out for people walking, while someone driving would have greater responsibility to look out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse.

Other key amendments in the new Highway Code include clearer guidance for drivers overtaking people cycling to give at least 1.5m, guidance on how drivers and passenger can prevent ‘car-dooring’ cyclists by using the Dutch Reach, and simplification on rules related to non-signalised junctions to prevent “left-hook” collisions.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “These amendments bring not just much needed clarity on key areas of reducing danger on our roads, such as safe overtaking distances of people walking, cycling or horse riding, but also through the new ‘hierarchy of road users’ challenges the current mindset that ‘might is right’ on our roads.

“It enshrines in law the need for those who present the most risk on our roads to look out for those who are the most vulnerable. This can only make the roads safer for everyone.”

The amendments were laid before parliament as a Statutory Instrument. Subject to scrutiny by peers and MPs, they will become law and an official part of the Highway Code in 40 parliamentary days time.

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“Over 16,000 people backed the amendments Cycling UK called for when the government consulted on improving the Highway Code for vulnerable road users in 2020,” added Dollimore. “Today we’re seeing many of these a step closer to becoming a reality, and we commend the Department for Transport for listening and making these important changes.”

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