Who remembers that little book that you had to read before your driving test, trying to anticipate the questions the very serious-looking driving examiner was going to ask you at the end of the most stressful hour of your life? I vaguely remember the book, but very little that was in it!

Well it is time for a refresh, because the first major changes to the Highway Code are being proposed by the Government for many years, with greater priority given to pedestrians and cyclists. The powers that be are pushing on with their vision of a “golden age” of cycling, whilst trying also to tackle the obesity epidemic by encouraging us all to walk and run more. During the horrors of the Covid pandemic, outdoor exercise has increased hugely – for example, last year the number of miles cycled on British roads rose by nearly 46% to five billion, a larger increase than in all of the previous 20 years put together, according to the Department for Transport. However, these activities bring with them their own dangers.

Some examples of the proposed changes are:

  • To give cyclists priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions
  • A “hierarchy of road users”,  putting more responsibility for road safety (and potentially therefore greater penalties) on more dangerous modes of transport, like cars, van and lorries
  • Guidance on safe distances and speeds for passing cyclists
  • The strengthening of pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road

The Government’s thinking is that those who can potentially to do the most harm should have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to other, less dangerous road users. It is these vulnerable groups that often pay the price for the poor driving of vehicle users and who suffer the more serious injuries as a result.

Of course, the insurers of these “more dangerous” road users may well see this as another excuse to raise premiums to cover this heightened risk – not that they need any excuse! As many of us may well drive, ride and walk, we are likely to be in all of these groups, we may all pay the price to some extent.

The changes to the Highway Code, due to be published in the autumn, will affect England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has its own version of the code.

We can help

If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of an accident on the highway, you can be assured that here at Ringrose Law, we have a team of specialist injury lawyers with a wealth of experience in dealing with road traffic accidents of all types, involving pedestrians, bicycles, motor cycles, motor vehicles and horses.

Contact us if you need assistance with a claim at wecanhelp@ringroselaw.co.uk

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