Walking and cycling prioritised in new Highway Code

·2-min read
Changes to the Highway Code will see pedestrians and cyclists given priority (Neil Hall/EPA)
Changes to the Highway Code will see pedestrians and cyclists given priority (Neil Hall/EPA)

Highway Code changes will see pedestrians given priority over cars at zebra crossings and junctions, the transport secretary has announced.

Proposed changes, which are due to receive parliamentary approval in the autumn, will also see cyclists given priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the new version of the Highway Code will include a “hierarchy of road users” that ensures those who can do the greatest harm, such as those in vehicles, have the “greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others”.

It comes as part of a £338 million package to boost cycling and walking across the country.

The increased funding aims to encourage the public to make “sustainable travel choices” to make “air cleaner and cities greener”.

The DfT said the investment would also be used to cover infrastructure upgrades such as the construction of hundreds of miles of new cycle lanes.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment.

“As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

“This £338 million package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener.”

The announcement has been welcomed by everyday walking charity Living Streets, which says the proposed changes will “redress the balance” of road user responsibility.

Stephen Edwards, interim chief executive at Living Streets, said: “The Highway Code currently treats children walking to school and lorry drivers as if they are equally responsible for their own or other people’s safety.

“These changes will redress that balance.

“People walking cause the least road danger but are often left paying the price.

“Road users who have potential to cause the greatest harm should take the greatest share of responsibility to reduce the danger they pose.

“Whether we choose to also drive or cycle, we are all pedestrians. These proposed revisions will benefit us all.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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