Advisory changes to the Highway Code have been implemented nationally to improve safety for people walking, cycling and horse riding. Every road user still has a responsibility to keep themselves and each other safe, and the changes mean being ready to give priority, leave space and be considerate of others.
Irrespective of your method of transport, a new hierarchy of road users has been introduced to ensure those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
The code also recommends a new technique when leaving vehicles, sometimes called the ‘Dutch Reach’. Where people driving or passengers in a vehicle are able to do so, they should open the door using the hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This action will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them. They’re then less likely to cause injury to people cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road and to people walking on the pavement.
Cllr Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: “We would like all road users to be safe. I would therefore urge all residents to familiarise themselves with the new advisory changes to the Highway Code which will improve safety for people walking, cycling and horse riding in the borough.”
The new hierarchy of road users means:
• Giving people crossing and waiting to cross and cyclists (or people cycling) going straight ahead priority when turning in and out of junctions
• Giving plenty of space when passing people cycling and horse riders
• And making sure we’re acting with responsibility and respect to all road users
• You now should give people crossing and waiting to cross and cyclists going straight ahead priority when turning in and out of junctions.
• You now should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
• When driving, you should now pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
• You should now allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road.
• Car users should now open their doors with the hand furthest from the door, to help them look over their shoulder to see cyclists or pedestrians nearby.
• People may cycle in the centre of the lane or two abreast for their own safety, whilst allowing others to overtake when it is safe for them to do so.
The changes can be can be viewed in full at: www.gov.uk/dft/highway-code-changes