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The Highway Code is changing – how might you be affected?

By 19th August 2021No Comments

New changes to the Highway Code, which include a ‘hierarchy’ of road users, have been announced and are set to be published this Autumn. But what do the new rules say and how might they affect you or your organisation?

The changes are part of the Government’s plan to boost active travel by making cycling and walking safer and easier, which in turn will help the environment, keep people fit and ease congestion.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment.

“As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

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

What are the new rules?

The three main proposed changes to the Highway Code are:

  • The introduction of a hierarchy of road users ensures that road users “who can do the greatest harm” will have the “greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others”.
  • Clarification of the existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements, and that “drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road”.
  • Establishing guidance on “safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders”, as well as ensuring they have “priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead”.

The new rules will give pedestrians priority at zebra crossings and junctions, and aim to raise awareness about the dangers of speeding.

Concerns have been raised that the changes could lead to conflict between road users. The government has said that the wording of the changes will be reviewed to take these factors into account in the next edition of the highway code.

Staying aware of changing road rules and guidelines is a responsibility shared by all road users, and is essential for organisations who want to keep their people safe, protect assets and ensure legal compliance.

IAM RoadSmart can help. Contact us and find out how.

Charlie Reynolds

Author Charlie Reynolds

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