Highway Code consultation
29th July 2020
Among the active travel announcements yesterday was a consultation on changes to the Highway Code to protect vulnerable road users. It is open until midnight on 27th October 2020. You can respond online, using the Respond online link on the DfT's consultation page or email HighwayCodeReview2020@dft.gov.uk.
The three main changes are:
- a Hierarchy of Road Users, so those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility
- clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements
- safe passing distances when overtaking cyclists or horse riders
There's a summary of the proposals.
Summary of proposals
A (really quite long) summary may save you reading the whole consultation document.
The new text here will introduce three new rules, H1-H3. They are:
- rule H1 makes clear that, notwithstanding the new Hierarchy of Road Users, all road users should know the Highway Code and be considerate to others
- rule H2 makes clear that at side roads, drivers turning into or out of them should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross
- rule H3 is aimed at 'left hooks'. When they are turning into or out of a junction or changing lane, drivers shouldn't cut across a cyclist's path
Rules for pedestrians
Rule 8 will advise pedestrians that when they are crossing or waiting to cross a side road or junction, other traffic should give way.
Rules for cyclists
The rules will confirm that people on bikes don't have to use bike lanes and Advanced Stop Zones. They will ask cyclists to take care when using shared paths, and recommend dinging a bell.
There's a change to Rule 66, which used to say 'never ride more than two abreast'. The new version will say cyclists should 'ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast.'
There's a specific mention of riding a door's width (0.5m) away from parked cars, and advice to proceed with caution if filtering to the left of a large vehicle.
Rules 72 & 73 will have some recommended situations for riding in primary position (the centre of your lane). They include:
- on quiet streets
- at the approach to junctions or road narrowings
- at junctions with no special cycle facilities
This is reinforced in Rule 213 for drivers:
'On narrow sections of road, at road junctions and in slower-moving traffic, cyclists may sometimes ride in the centre of the lane, rather than towards the side of the road. Allow them to do so for their own safety, to ensure they can see and be seen. Cyclists are also advised to ride at least a door's width or 0.5m from parked cars for their own safety.'
Rules for drivers
Some of the main points include:
- if you're turning across a cycle lane, give way to cyclists and wait for a safe gap in the flow
- bear in mind that cyclists are not obliged to use cycle lanes or cycle tracks
- in slow-moving traffic, let pedestrians and cyclists cross in front of you
Using the road
Rule 163 will say that cyclists may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on the right or left.
It will specify a minimum passing distance that motorists should leave when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists or horse riders:
- 1.5m at speeds under 30mph
- 2.0m at speeds over 30mph
- 2.0m in all conditions for drivers of large vehicles
- 2.0m from pedestrians walking in the road
Drivers are also advised to wait to overtake if it isn't safe, and not to overtake on the approach to crossings.
Road users requiring extra care
This includes slowing down to 15mph for a horse and rider.
Waiting and parking
There will be provision for the 'Dutch reach' when opening a car door, and a mention of charging cables for electric cars to prevent them becoming a trip hazard.
The Consulation document
If the summary isn't enough for you, there's a 67-page consulation document.