Changes to Highway Code give 'common-sense clarity'
- Credit: Press Association Images
As you may know, some pretty significant changes to the Highway Code have come into force recently and I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss them, particularly in light of some mixed media reports over the past few weeks.
Road safety is one of four central pillars to my police and crime plan for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. As part of this commitment, I am also chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership – which aims to half all serious collisions in Devon and Cornwall by 2030 – as well as the national APCC lead for roads policing and safety.
So, as someone with ‘skin in the game’, I welcome the recent changes to the Highway Code which provide some really clear guidance where once the rules were a bit woolly.
The most notable amendment is the introduction of a new hierarchy of road users which gives some much-needed, common-sense clarity. In short, those who have the potential to cause the most harm – such as drivers of larger vehicles – now have more responsibility to reduce the threat they pose to more vulnerable road users.
Pedestrians, who are most likely to be injured in the event of a collision, sit at the top of the hierarchy. They are followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists, cars, vans and large passenger or heavy goods vehicles. As a result, the law places more responsibility on drivers to watch out for pedestrians, cyclists or horse riders.
Other major changes to the code include clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians. Aimed at motorists, horse riders and cyclists, the code now states that, at a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which you are turning. Previously, vehicles had priority at a junction.
Vision Zero South West has created a great quiz that helps explain some of the most notable changes. You can find the quiz on their website here https://visionzerosouthwest.co.uk/highway-code-changes-quiz/ or by visiting the Vision Zero South West Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
For details on more of the changes to the Highway Code visit www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code
I’ve been amazed by some of the responses I’ve seen to these changes – both in the national press and on social media. There seems to be a real animosity towards some of the changes, particularly those surrounding cyclists.
I want to take this opportunity to remind people that the roads are there for everyone - we need to share them and respect all other road users.