Why we’re raising the alarm about the Highway Code changes

Why we’re raising the alarm about the Highway Code changes

04 Aug 2021 Posted By Josh Reynolds

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that their changes to the Highway Code will come into effect in autumn 2021. However, we’re deeply concerned that the changes are unfair and unsafe, and could put vulnerable road users at additional risk.

The details of how the Highway Code will change can be found here.

Of particular concern is the ‘hierarchy of road users’, which will see road users of larger vehicles, such as lorries and coaches, given extra responsibility for the safety of road users who are potentially at more risk, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett has said that it is ‘inherently unjust’ to make commercial vehicle drivers and other motorists responsible for the safety of others over whom they have no control.

“As far as we can see, there is little, if any, justification for these changes.

“The hierarchy of risk created by the operation of cars, vans, coaches, buses and lorries is already reflected in the additional ongoing training undertaken by lorry and coach drivers,” Richard said.

The other proposal which we most strongly object to is a new rule that gives cyclist a right of way to undertake turning vehicles.

This will require vehicles turning left to give way to cyclists coming from behind. While this is certainly something that all commercial vehicle drivers are trained to do as a matter of course, it simply isn’t always possible to see cyclists in this blind spot. We believe that this proposal must be dropped.

Tom Cotton, our head of policy and infrastructure for England and Wales, said: “The proposal to give cyclists a special rule that gives them a right of way to pass a turning vehicle is dangerous, it simply defies logic to promote a manoeuvre that puts cyclist in the dangerous and vulnerable position on the road.”

We brought these concerns and others directly to DfT in our consultation response, which you can read here.

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