Changes to the Highway Code are set to be introduced this autumn for England, Scotland and Wales. The changes will see the introduction of a “hierarchy of road users” and will give pedestrians and cyclists greater priority over cars at junctions and crossings.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the code’s new hierarchy of road users would ensure “road users who can do the greatest harm”, such as those in cars, vans and lorries, “have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others”.
Under the current code, motorists only have to give way when pedestrians step onto a crossing, however the new code will give them greater priority over cars at junctions and crossings, and also ensure cyclists have priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions. It will also offer guidance, and safe distances and speeds for passing cyclists.
The DfT said the changes, along with a £338 million funding package to boost cycling and walking, will help to sustain the increase in active travel during the pandemic. The additional funding will pay for hundreds of miles of high-quality cycle lanes, including improvements across the National Cycle Network, and help with new programmes to encourage walking.
Last year the number of miles cycled on British roads rose by nearly 46% to five billion, a larger increase than in all of the previous 20 years put together, the DfT said.