Highway Code rule change that will give cyclists priority over drivers could create ‘confusion and dangerous situations’ as only a third of motorists are aware of it, the AA warns
- From January 29, motorists to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions
- Drivers and cyclists will have to give way if a pedestrian is waiting to cross a road
- But an AA survey of 13,500 drivers found only a third knew about the changes
Highway Code changes giving cyclists priority over drivers could create ‘confusion and dangerous situations’ because only a third of motorists know about it, the AA has warned.
The overhaul, coming into force on January 29 subject to parliamentary approval, means motorists will have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions.
It will create a new hierarchy of responsibility based on the vulnerability of road-users, with motorists assuming greater responsibility for reducing the danger posed to pedestrians and cyclists.
Cyclists will also have to act to reduce the danger posed to pedestrians.
Under the old code, pedestrians only had right of way at a junction if they were already on the road.
This MailOnline graphic shows how the Highway Code will change early next year in relation to drivers and cyclists
The overhaul, coming into force on January 29 subject to parliamentary approval, means motorists will have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions
But under the revamped code, drivers and cyclists will have to give way if a pedestrian is waiting to cross a road they are turning into.
Cars indicating to turn left or right will also have to give way to cyclists coming from behind and going straight on, only turning once they have passed.
But an AA survey of 13,500 drivers found only a third knew about the changes.
Similarly, only a fifth were aware that the Code will advise of scenarios where cyclists ‘may sometimes ride in the centre of the lane, rather than towards the side of the road’ and that ‘it can be safer for groups of cyclists to ride two abreast in these situations’.
The AA is calling for an education campaign targeted at all road users to be initiated, rather than waiting for the rules to be adopted.
Edmund King, President of the AA, said: ‘With such fundamental changes to the Highway Code taking place to make our roads safer, we need to ensure road users understand the new rules ahead of time.
‘Getting the message out now would help avoid dangerous situations and remove any confusion on the roads before the new rules are adopted.’
The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said: ‘A concerted effort must now be made to communicate the changes to drivers because as we know, many do not read the Highway Code for long periods after passing their test.
‘Ultimately, the aim should be to ensure that everyone using the roads understands the new rules, because any confusion is likely to lead to avoidable collisions.’
The changes have been laid before parliament as a statutory instrument, meaning if no MPs object within 28 sitting days – which expires on January 29 – they will come into force.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: ‘The proposed upcoming changes to The Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and were widely reported when they were announced earlier this year.’
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