Experts Divided On New Highway Code

Tue 1st Feb 2022

It has been the most significant change to the rules of the road in years, but public and expert opinion on the new Highway Code rules looks split down the middle.

The changes, which are intended to change the hierarchy of road users, giving more priority to pedestrians and cyclists, designed to protect those most at risk. But with cyclists now given the opportunity to ride in the centre of the lane and pedestrians given priority at junctions, will the roads actually be any safer?

While there are claims that many don’t actually know the new rules, those that do are making their feelings known on social media. But now experts have weighed in with their own views, which differ across the board.

“My view is that these new rules will put lives at risk rather than make our roads safer,” Howard Cox from FairFuel UK said in The Sun.

“I cycle in a rural area where lanes are narrow and I curse drivers who come too close. If the traffic is slow, a distance of one metre is safe.

“At 60mph, it is not.

“Advising cyclists to go into the middle of the road doesn’t make any sense.

“It will result in road rage and more exhaust emissions as a result of cars sitting behind them in queues of congestion.”
But speaking in the same report, Duncan Dollimore from Cycling UK takes an opposing view, saying: “The new code is common sense and helps clear up confusion.

“If you are driving a big truck, you have more responsibility than a seven-year-old on a pavement.

“It doesn’t say a pedestrian or cyclist has no responsibility. In fact, this places a greater responsibility on cyclists.

“Cyclists have been advised to ride in the middle of the lane in certain circumstances for years on the Government-supported Bikeability scheme, previously Cycle Proficiency.

“It isn’t delaying anybody if I adopt a central lane position when we’re all travelling at the same speed.

“The new code simply lets drivers know about this guidance.”