Changes to The Highway Code designed to enhance safety for all road-users – particularly those most at risk – are set to come into effect from Saturday, the Government has confirmed.
If approved by Parliament, a hierarchy of road-users will be introduced from 29 January, meaning quicker or heavier modes of travel will have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.
Cyclists will also receive fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.
They’ll also be reminded they can ride two abreast – as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children – but they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, motorists will be encouraged to adopt the so-called ‘Dutch Reach’ (as shown below), opening the door next to them with the opposite hand so they look over their shoulder, meaning they’re less likely to injure passing cyclists and pedestrians.
The THINK! campaign will soon launch a communications drive, backed by more than £500,000 in funding, raising awareness of the changes and ensuring road-users across the country understand their responsibilities.
The campaign will run across radio and social media channels, with further campaign activity to follow later in the summer.
The new updates are advisory, so non-compliance will not result in a fine.
Baroness Vere, roads minister, said: “I’m proud to say we have some of the safest roads in the world, but I’m determined to make them safer still for everyone.
“These updates to The Highway Code will do just that by bringing the rules into the 21st Century, encouraging people to respect and consider the needs of those around them, and ensuring all road-users know the rules of the road.”
Bill Smith, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “Road Safety GB welcomes these changes that are now being laid out in The Highway Code. The use of our roads is a shared responsibility and by putting into practice these changes will endeavour to create a safer road environment for all groups of road users.
“We look forward to supporting the DfT and engaging with other interested parties and the public in general in promoting this crucial safety information.”