Drivers say that cyclists shouldn’t have priority on roads

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According to a new survey, the changes made to the Highway Code earlier this year are unpopular with many motorists. The changes, which were introduced in January, put a greater focus on road users most at risk including pedestrians and cyclists.

In doing so, a “hierarchy of road users” was created, ensuring that larger methods of transport had the greatest responsibility to reduce the risks they pose.

Almost 80 percent of motorists disagree with the change that allows cyclists to pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on the right or left, including at the approach to junctions. 

Cyclists are advised they should proceed with caution, especially when deciding whether it is “safe” to pass lorries or other large vehicles. 

Venson Automotive Solutions, who conducted the survey, has raised concerns about the number of road users who have revealed they don’t have everyone’s safety in mind.

In the Highway Code update, cyclists received fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.

They were also reminded that they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children.

However, they must be aware of other motorists behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.

Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions commented on the data, saying: “The Highway Code changes have been in place a while now but there was a lot of information for drivers to take onboard. 

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“As we enter Road Safety Week it’s a timely reminder to all motorists to brush up on these changes, as well as existing rules.

“It is important to remember that we are all vulnerable on the roads.  

“When out of the car, all drivers are pedestrians themselves, and might ride a bike or horse too.  

“Whether you agree with the Highway Code or not, we should all remember that it is aimed at protecting all road users and it is our shared responsibility as road users to understand road rules with the aim of reducing serious and fatal injuries.”

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Pedestrian safety was also reviewed, including changes requesting drivers to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which the driver is turning. 

A majority of motorists (66 percent) surveyed by Venson did not support this Highway Code change.

In addition, drivers now have to give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

Whilst the Highway Code itself is not a legal document and the rules outlined in it are not official road laws, a number of the points outlined in the code are backed up by official traffic laws, meaning drivers can be fined, prosecuted or disqualified if they ignore them. 

So even if motorists disagree with the changes, it is important to be aware of and adhere to them.

As part of the new changes, motorists were also encouraged to adopt the so-called “Dutch Reach” to boost safety.

Drivers should open their door with their left hand and the front passenger should open the door with their right hand.

In doing so, this forces the driver to turn their body towards the back of the car to see if there are any cyclists, pedestrians or vehicles.

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