The Department for Transport has today 30 July announced that the previously consulted on Highway Code changes will be published in the autumn. The announcement comes as part of a package to increase spending on active travel schemes to encourage walking and cycling.
The updates to the Highway Code include:
- a hierarchy of road users that ensures road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others
- strengthened pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road
- guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead
The Highway Code changes will come before parliament in the autumn, following the recess. The changes would mean that the hierarchy of responsibility would be as follows, with the most responsibility attributed to the vehicles at the bottom of the list:
- Horse riders
- Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles
RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, welcomes the changes. Nick Simmons, RoadPeace CEO, said
“The changes to the Highway Code are very welcome by RoadPeace, as they will encourage those who pose the greatest harm to other road users to recognise this and behave accordingly. A driver of a heavy goods vehicle has a greater responsibility towards other road users than an elderly pedestrian, as they are much more likely to kill and injure others.
As well as preventing crashes, we anticipate the Highway Code changes will make it easier for vulnerable road users seriously injured in crashes to access much needed funds for rehabilitation, and bereaved families to access civil justice. The UK is unusual in that it does not have a presumed liability system, (whereby it is presumed that people walking and cycling, as the more vulnerable, qualify for compensation). Whilst the changes do not equate to presumed liability, we anticipate they will improve civil justice.”
Updated on: 30 July 2021