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The New Highway Code: changes to protect vulnerable road users
There have been some important changes in the new Highway Code with effect from 29th January although I suspect a lot of people may not know about them.
An important theme is to give better protection to vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the things that drivers will have to do include:
- Give way to people crossing or waiting to cross at a junction.
- Allow at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keep to a low speed when passing pedestrians in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement).
- Leave at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
- Wait behind them and not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.
- Give priority to cyclists on roundabouts and not attempt to overtake cyclists in their lane who may move across their path as they travel around the roundabout .
- Take extra care when entering a roundabout to make sure they don’t cut across cyclists.
- Drivers and passengers in a vehicle should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, they should use their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This manoeuvre (known as the Dutch Reach) makes them turn their head to look back over their shoulder, making it less likely for them to hit cyclists or motorcyclists passing by.
As a cyclist I’m certainly very glad to see these changes, which should make my journeys safer as long as people know about them and take notice.
As a solicitor I also know only too well the catastrophic brain and spinal injuries that cyclists and pedestrians can suffer through drivers not giving them enough room, so hopefully these changes will help reduce the number of these devastating injuries.
Jeremy Smith is a Senior Solicitor in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about a the Highway Code updates or a cycling injury or indeed any other aspect of personal injury and wish to speak to Jeremy or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Jeremy directly.