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Confusion around Highway Code changes

IAM RoadSmart the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, is warning all road users, to be patient and cautious when it comes to the Highway Code this summer. 

Although changes are going to be put in place, they haven’t yet been put into law. Therefore, all UK road users need to be aware of the current rules that apply. 

IAM RoadSmart are using the Summer of Cycling campaign’s announcement as a prompt to revise the present rules to make sure this summer can be as safe as possible. 

In a recent survey, carried out by the charity, it was revealed that 71% of drivers and motorcyclists believe the new proposal to give pedestrians priority when turning into and out of junctions will cause more conflict, with more than half thinking this will be a significant issue. 

Nearly three quarters think that the new Highway Code should make it compulsory for cyclists to wear a helmet. This contrasts with the proposed Code which stops short of making them compulsory. 

One of the new Code’s most controversial suggestions – that those driving vehicles that can cause the most harm should have the most responsibility to take care – the majority agree that this is the right way forward, but 26% are against it and 19% are unconvinced either way.  

The new Code doesn’t suggest any obligation on cyclists to use cycle lanes or tracks when they are present, and a resounding 80% of IAM RoadSmart’s poll respondents believe this is a mistake. 

However, some of the proposed changes were met with widespread support… 

63% of the survey’s participants agreed that when riding a bike on busy roads, cyclists should allow traffic to overtake them. There is also strong support for every proposal that contains clear guidelines on passing distances. 

Finally, almost 60% agree with the new proposal to include the ‘Dutch Reach’ in the Highway Code. This is a technique which advises motorists leaving their vehicles to do so by using their left hand to operate the door handle, allowing the driver to naturally twist their body, making it easier to look over their shoulder and check for cyclists or other road users approaching. 

IAM RoadSmart has recently published two pieces of advice on their website for road users to brush up on some of the facts, rules and dispel myths. Read both articles here: Part One: Highway Code Confusion (iamroadsmart.com) and Part Two: Highway Code Confusion (iamroadsmart.com)