Cyclist welcomes imminent new Highway Code changes

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY DECEMBER 30 Undated file photo of a a cyclist using a cycle lane alongsid

Changes to the Highway Code are being made in January to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians - Credit: PA

A cycling campaigner has welcomed changes to the Highway Code but says the revisions must be made clear to motorists.

The Highway Code, which contains advice and rules for people on Britain’s roads, is expected to be amended in January to introduce a risk-based hierarchy of road users.

For the first time, the law will require those who can do the greatest harm to others to have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger.

For instance someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

Simon Munk, campaigns manager from the London Cycling Campaign said: "We welcome changes to the Highway Code to reinforce that more vulnerable road users get priority and to clarify rules about giving way at turns.

"Alongside, the government must communicate these changes clearly to drivers and do more through policing, the courts and driver training."

Provisional figures from the Department for Transport show 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in the year to the end of June.

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Other key amendments to the Highway Code include clearer guidance for drivers to leave a minimum distance of at least 1.5m when overtaking cyclists, and instructing drivers to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross roads at junctions.

There will also be a recommendation for car users to reduce the risk of opening a door into the path of a cyclist by using the hand on the opposite side to the door, as this will often lead to them looking over their shoulder.

Simon added: "Without a public awareness campaign and tougher policing these changes will be ineffective.

"We need these changes and more to ensure aggressive, dangerous and inconsiderate driving is dealt with, enabling far more journeys to be walked or cycled, helping make roads safer and cutting climate emissions as part of delivering 'Climate Safe Streets'."

A DfT spokesman said: “The department has established a working group of key organisations to ensure that messages about the changes are as widespread as possible.

"Our well-established Think! campaign will continue to ensure all road users are aware both when these changes come into effect and beyond.”

Changes to the Highway Code will come into force on January 29 if they are approved by Parliament