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Revamp to Highway Code


07 August 2020

Drivers and  cyclists will have to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a side road or junction under a proposed rule change to the Highway Code. 

The Government has launched a consultation on changes to benefit active travel. it plans to introduce the notion of a hierarchy of road users into the Code, ensuring that those who can do the greatest harm “have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others”. 

The hierarchy will place pedestrians at the top, followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and finally other motorised vehicles. 

“The objective of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users,” the DfT explains. “This doesn't detract from the requirements for everyone to behave responsibly.”

A new rule covers where cyclists should position themselves on the road. It advises cyclists to ride in the centre of the lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic, and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake. 

When overtaking cyclists, car drivers are advised to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres at speeds under 30 mph and two metres at speeds over 30 mph. Drivers of large vehicles should keep two metres away in all conditions. 

The ‘Dutch reach’ for opening vehicle doors is endorsed. “You should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening, e.g. use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side. This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder..”


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