Changes To The Highway Code; Recognising Vulnerable Road Users
On 29 January 2022, amendments were made to the Highway Code to seek to improve safety (in particular) for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The changes followed a public consultation ending in October 2020. A hierarchy of road users is now recognised, with pedestrians as the most vulnerable, and with drivers of HGV’s and other large vehicles bearing the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others, recognising that they can cause the greatest harm.
There is no substitute for reading the Highway Code changes; the link is here
Everyone (including cyclists) must now give way at junctions to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross. Cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared use paths and to horse riders on bridleways.
Vehicles should give way to cyclists and horse riders when turning or changing direction and should not cut across them. Drivers should remain behind cyclists etc. at junctions and give plenty of room. Drivers should not overtake cyclists etc. just before turning left.
There is a strong emphasis on “expect the unexpected”, allow plenty of room and go at a suitable/ safe speed. Children and older pedestrians are recognised as being particularly vulnerable and requiring a high degree of care. It is specifically stated that at 40mph a vehicle will probably kill a pedestrian.
There is emphasis on how difficult it can be to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially if alongside, overtaking or filtering. Vehicles should not turn if this would cause a cyclist to stop or swerve.
Very importantly, Rule 212 tells drivers overtaking cyclists etc. to allow at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car.
Rule 213 now allows cyclists to ride 2 abreast on quieter roads and in slower traffic where it enables them to be safer i.e. to see and be seen.
Drivers are now instructed to be alert to cyclists etc. suddenly needing to change direction to avoid potholes, drain covers, to allow plenty of room in case of sudden change of direction.
We are pleased to see these changes. We know from experience over many years of helping and supporting those who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones that lorries, buses, cars, motorcycles, cycles and horses (and pedestrians/ runners, dog walkers) are all capable of killing and injuring, if proper care is not taken. We all have a duty to look out for each other, and we hope that raising awareness will change behaviour and make our roads and paths safer.
Paul Fretwell. Partner & Head of Personal InjuryGeneral, George Ide, News, Personal Injury Blog