UK Agency Developing New Highway Code to Protect Cyclists, Pedestrians

A new Highway Code from England's Department for Transport will help keep cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads, Transport Minister Jesse Norman announced recently. The government’s review follows the release of road casualty figures showing that 101 cyclists died in 2017 in road traffic collisions.

A new Highway Code from England's Department for Transport will help keep cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads, Transport Minister Jesse Norman announced recently. The government will review guidance on how drivers should behave in relation to cyclists and pedestrians as it works to reduce accidents and fatalities. The new Highway Code will highlight how to avoid the dangers of close passing and will encourage drivers to adopt the "‘Dutch reach," a method of opening a car door with the hand farthest from the handle to force drivers to look over their shoulder for passing traffic.

"Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer still for all – and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users," Norman said. "Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality, and town and city planning. But this will only happen if people feel safe on the roads. These measures are part of a steady process of improvement and reform designed to achieve just that."

The review follows the release of road casualty figures showing that 101 cyclists died in 2017 in road traffic collisions.

The government had launched a new UK-wide initiative in June to help the police crack down on close passing, which leads to accidents.

"This is a major victory," said Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets. "When we walk our streets, we should not have to feel endangered by traffic. People walking and cycling do not cause road danger, congestion, or toxic air levels, and yet they're the ones who too often pay the price on our roads. Last year, there was a 5 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities -- this cannot continue. A revision to update the Highway Code is needed to make people walking and cycling feel safer and to encourage more people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel."

"Close overtakes and people opening car doors in front of cyclists are not only dangerous, they also put people off riding a bike. That's why Cycling UK has been campaigning for changes to the Highway Code rules for many years, to make the requirements to give enough space when overtaking a cyclist, wait if you can't, and look before you open your car door crystal clear," said Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK. "We're delighted the government has listened and we hope to contribute to the discussions regarding the amendments required to prioritize the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users."

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