How are you getting on with the changes to the Highway Code? 

Torbay Weekly

Motorists were greeted with several new changes to the Highway Code designed to make life safer for pedestrians and cyclists on today’s busy roads.

Are you ready? Here are the changes.

It is important that all road users are aware of the Highway Code and considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others.

Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not.

Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis, and motorcycles.

At a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road on to which, or from which you are turning.

You must give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

Pedestrians have priority when on a zebra crossing, on a parallel crossing or at light-controlled crossings when they have a green signal.

You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road, and you should give way to them.

Do not turn at a junction if in doing so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse-drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve.

You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists, if necessary.

This includes when cyclists are:

  • approaching, passing or moving off from a junction.
  • moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
  • travelling around a roundabout.

Wait for the cyclist to pass the junction before turning.

This also applies if there is a cycle lane or a cycle track and if you are turning right or left on to the junction.

The Dutch reach

In order to cut the number of cyclists hit by car doors swinging open unexpectedly, the Dutch reach is advocated.

This involves the hand furthest from the door to open it.

This prompts a passenger or driver to swivel their bodies and in turn, their heads, to look over their shoulder and be more aware of passing cyclists.

The reason to highlight these changes is because the motorist is going to have to be more aware and more giving towards cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and will be penalised if they fail to do so.

For some of us, it is going to require a conscious effort to change our ways to do this but we know it makes sense as more cyclists use our roads without the advantage of Government and local authority planning to provide lanes for them to travel in safety.

Driving is becoming more onerous so perhaps we will have to accept autonomous vehicles are the best way forward.

In the meantime, keep safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.