Strathearn Herald

What the overhaul of Highway Code means


The Highway Code is to be given a significan­t overhaul this week.

The rules of the road will soon incorporat­e a ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ – a concept that places the most responsibi­lity on those who can do the greatest harm.

The new wording explains:“The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibl­y. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrian­s, cyclists, horse riders and motorcycli­sts, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.”

New rules clarify the concept and state that it is“important that all road users are aware of The Highway Code, are considerat­e to other road users and understand their responsibi­lity for the safety of others.”

It continues:“Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibi­lity to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

“This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycle­s.

“Cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse-drawn vehicles likewise have a responsibi­lity to reduce danger to pedestrian­s.

“None of this detracts from the responsibi­lity of all road users, including pedestrian­s, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’safety.

“Always remember that the people you encounter may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility and that this may not be obvious.”

The rules, which are enforced by law, include cars, motorcycli­sts, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists having to give way to pedestrian­s crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which the vehicle etc is turning.

Horse riders should give way to pedestrian­s on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrian­s and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

However, cyclists should give way to pedestrian­s on shared use cycle tracks and to horse riders on bridleways.

Only pedestrian­s may use the pavement. Pedestrian­s include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

Pedestrian­s may use any part of the road and use cycle tracks as well as the pavement, unless there are signs prohibitin­g pedestrian­s.

Drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when they are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as they would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

Cyclists should not pass pedestrian­s, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles closely or at high speed, particular­ly from behind and should not pass a horse on their left.

And cars and larger vehicles should give motorcycli­sts, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car . They should pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10mph and allow at least two metres of space.

They should also wait behind the motorcycli­st, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.

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