Government to press ahead with Highway Code changes

09.10 | 3 December 2021 | | 2 comments

Image: DfT

The Government is going ahead with plans to introduce a hierarchy of road users, as part of a series of updates to The Highway Code aimed at improving road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

The proposals were first announced in July 2020, as part of a review of The Highway Code

The first sought to introduce a hierarchy of road users 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 review also aimed to:

  • clarify existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements and reaffirm that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road
  • establish guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders, and ensure they have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead

A consultation on the changes ran for 12 weeks, generating nearly 21,000 responses from a range of interested parties, including government, public and business.

According to the Government, the majority of respondents were in favour of all three proposals, believing that they would improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

This included 79% who backed the proposed introduction of the hierarchy of road users.

The Government says respondents also welcomed the timing of the changes as more people embrace alternative modes of transport, with cycling and walking on the increase.

On 1 December, the Government confirmed plans to introduce all the proposed changes.

Subject to scrutiny by peers and MPs, they will become law and an official part of The Highway Code in 40 parliamentary days’ time.

In its consultation response, the Government said: “We have carried out a full analysis of all consultation responses received and, given the feedback received, we will be seeking to introduce all the proposed changes.

“We will now look at all the proposed changes afresh to consider what amendments are needed to the proposed wording to take account of the valid comments received.

“In discussion with relevant stakeholders, we will finalise the text and produce a revised version of The Highway Code that will improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.”



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    Echoing what Ruth says below. We need more information about this. When is 40 Parliamentary days’ time? and Will Think/ DfT be running an awareness raising campaign. I’ve seen lots of information shared on twitter etc. but we’d like to run a local / county wide campaign to raise awareness about the changes and need to start planning ASAP. It’s difficult to do that if we don’t get better information in relation to when the changes will be introduced and what national campaigns there might be. Is this something that RSGB directors could look and discuss with DfT / Think on behalf of all individual authorities & partnerships as I imagine that we’re all in the same boat here and needing more information.

    Becky James, Bradford
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    So when will they come into effect? What is 40 parliamentary days’ time?
    AND – does anyone know if the DfT will be running an awareness campaign when the changes come in?

    Ruth Gore, Beverley
    Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

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