Highway Code Cycling sign

British Highway Code Alterations: The Hierarchy Of Road Users

New Highway Code Laws alterations have been put in place to protect cyclists. Cycling and walking are proven to be fantastic methods for keeping fit, easing congestion on the roads, and doing your bit for the environment as many people have discovered during the last year or so with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns affecting everyone in different ways. It seems the latest government pledge, which is accompanied by another huge injection of cash to supplement the operation, is keen on long-term sustainability and not just a fad.

Commitment to Change

The UK’s fresh approach can be likened to that in The Netherlands where there is an entire culture of cycling that dominates public roads in and around towns and cities. Communities there naturally cycle as the primary mode of transport because of the convenience and relative freedom expressed to them by Dutch laws and road regulations. There is no doubt that we have a long way to go before reaching anything close to that sort of standard but aiming high and learning from a successful operation like the one in place in Holland can only be a good thing for safety and travel improvement in the UK.

An Attitude Adjustment

Last year, the number of miles cycled on British roads grew by nearly 46% and reached a total of five billion people. This was a bigger increase than in all of the previous 20 years combined which shows the scale of the topic. As we absorb this different approach from those in power, it is apparent that the government is keen to bounce back from the pandemic with a greener flavour and regenerate society with environmentally friendly projects such as this. The determination and enthusiasm to keep this trend strong by making active travel easier and safer for everyone can be infectious and change perspectives and negative attitudes around the country.

The New Laws Themselves in the Highway Code

Fresh changes to the Highway Code will give pedestrians greater priority over cars at junctions and crossings, in a bid to increase safety the transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced. Full details of the agreement will be published at an unconfirmed time during the autumn. They will come into play for those in England, Wales and Scotland only as Northern Ireland regulates their own adaptation of the code.

Motorists only have to give way when pedestrians step onto a crossing under the current rules but these will be adapted significantly to enforce the right of way upon a person beginning to cross the road, crossing or not. The new code will also prioritize cyclists when travelling straight ahead at junctions. They will now have the right of way over cars as an added form of protection and an attempt to encourage more cyclists onto the roads.

A Golden Age Of Cycling 

The sizable investment of around £338 million will be the foundation to launch and fund the proposed ‘golden age of cycling’. It is ambitious yet achievable and relatively realistic given the role models we have in Britain. The current Olympic Games in Tokyo could well produce new global stars if more success is achieved in the velodrome like it was in 2012 and 2016 with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy to the fore.

Those two have spearheaded a generation of young successful cyclists who have become role models for millions around the country. Their legacy has shown that cycling is cool and that the team has inspired so many to give the sport a go as well as a substantial increase in using a bike to get to work or instead of driving around socially.

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