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Campaigners Hit Out At New Cycling Highway Code Rules Set To Be Introduced This Week

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Campaigners Hit Out At New Cycling Highway Code Rules Set To Be Introduced This Week

Campaigners have hit out at the new cycling rules that are set to come into force this week.

Criticism has come from different groups that fear the changes will be the catalyst for resentment and road rage aimed at cyclists.

As well as worrying about an increase in anger, campaigners also worry not enough is being done to notify people about the changes made.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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If you weren't aware, the Department of Transport will publish new rules on 29 January which include a 'hierarchy of road users' and this will mean that drivers could face £200 ($270) fines and six points on their licence if they don't follow the rules.

Drivers will be told they need to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians, with the idea being that the law will require those who can do the greatest harm to others to have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger.

This means for example that someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

Other key amendments to the Highway Code include clearer guidance for drivers to leave a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and instructing drivers to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross roads at junctions.

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Cyclists will be encouraged to keep to the middle of the lane on quiet streets, in slow moving traffic and where approaching junctions or road narrowings would make it unsafe for motorists to overtake them.

They'll also be encouraged to ride two abreast in some circumstances to make themselves more visible to drivers.

Speaking about the changes, Neil Greig, the director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, a road safety charity, told The Times: "A lot of drivers are going to think that somebody cycling in the middle of the lane in front of them is doing it to deliberately slow them down. 

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"That leads to conflict and road rage and inappropriate overtaking. Everybody needs to know all of these changes at the same time for it to work."

A spokesperson for the Alliance of British Drivers also added: "The proposed hierarchy of road users is likely to create or exacerbate resentment and ill feeling between different classes of road user, and may lead to irresponsible attitudes by cyclists and pedestrians.

"All road users have a responsibility towards all other users and should treat one another with respect and tolerance."

Speaking about the communication of the new rules, the AA accused the government of being 'far too silent' but the Department for Transport (DfT) insisted it will ensure 'all road users are aware'.

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “With a week to go, too many drivers are unaware of the new rules of the road.

“While the Government formally announced these changes last summer, they have been far too silent in promoting them.

“Shockingly, one in 25 drivers say they have no intention of looking at the new rules.

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“These changes affect everyone, so we encourage people to read the updated code now so we can make our roads safer.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, UK News

Rebecca Shepherd
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