The New Highway Code

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13 August, 2021

The Government and Department for Transport are in the process of reviewing and updating the Highway Code. The proposals include safe passing distances and speeds to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users. These are usually considered to be pedestrians, cyclist, horse riders, motorcyclists, and users of mobility scooters. Basically, any road user not in a vehicle.

A YouGov survey found only 27% of non-driving UK adults had read the pedestrian rules in the Highway code. More needs to be done to raise everyone's awareness of the code to ensure safety on our roads.

All road users have different requirements and responsibilities. HGV's and vans often cause more damage, but a small car driven at speed can cause just as much harm. It is odd the proposals make a distinction between the size of the vehicle but then there is no mention of electric scooters, or the fact people are often engrossed by looking at their phone or listening to music, so much so that they fail to appreciate other road users. Drivers need to be alert to these factors.

The new code states drivers should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross at junctions. Does this give them a right to step out in front of traffic like they can at a Zebra crossing?

Rule H3 provides some additional protection for cyclists, ensuring they are not cut off and have right of way. Unfortunately, motorcyclists who are just as vulnerable are not referred to. As part of the balance cyclists are recommended to have a bell to warn pedestrians of their approach and wear a helmet. Some may argue that they should be compulsory.

Horse riders are referred to in the new code which will no doubt be welcomed. With a lack of bridleways and off-road tracks in some areas forces riders onto the road at some point it seems logical to have this included within the update.

Rule 72 recommends cyclists should position themselves in the centre of their lane, but this has its own risk especially on country roads with blind bends. Riding at the edge of the road also has risks caused by potholes.

All road users need to be aware of each other. When conflict and collisions occur the most vulnerable usually come off worse. Injuries are not only inconvenient but can be devasting and life changing in some cases.

Here at Forbes Solicitors, we specialise in dealing with injury claims. Our team of experienced solicitors are cyclists, horse riders and drivers and understand the risks and problems that can occur. If you have been injured in a road accident, please get in contact with our team. We act on a no win no fee basis with a reduced success fee of 15% as opposed to many who seek to recover 25%.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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