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Highway Code Changes


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I'd read of these changes a week ago, Barry, - and of course - you're correct in that there's a greater awareness of vehicle drivers responsibilities.... It could be interpreted (although how unlikely I'll have to leave to individuals responsibilty) - that pedestrians and cyclists could now behave with a greater sense of impunity (if that was possible?) when using roads and footpaths.

(There is no detailed addendum for e-scooters)

It may be wrong of me to suggest that the motorists are again being impuned as the 'social villains', - so I will not, although I accept that casualties involved in accidents at 70mph are more likely to suffer severe injuries than those at 10mph on rollerscates .

 

I could also be accused of being 'unwoke' in matters of vehicular law requirements.

Though I should express my opinion that the 'level of liability' is becoming worryingly skewed in favour of road users that have little legally imposed responsibility (and infrequently respected obligation).

 

Edited by Illogan
Clarity
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Interesting discussion. I am an ex ‘petrolhead’ now a relaxing motorist. I occasionally ride a bicycle and have been known to ’take a stroll’. I lived in Pakistan for more than three years, have travelled and worked in South Asia and Africa for much of my working life find it amazing when people complain about the road laws in the uk. Give way to the largest vehicle on the road is the norm in many places and on a personal survival point makes sense! However, is it entirely fair? Everyone has the right ( in the uk at least)  to travel from a to b and should be allowed to do that as safely as possible. Most motorists are doing the same. The minority that want to ‘test the limits of their car’ should be allowed the opportunity to do this, but not on a public highway. I have, for a long time, advocated that before being allowed to take a driving test everyone should either be forced to ride a bike or ride a horse on a public highway before being allowed in a motorised vehicle before being allowed behind a wheel. They may then understand the the fears and trepidations of those that choose a different form of transport. 

However, those that decide to cross a highway with mobile phone in hand, or headphones in, well that’s a different matter!

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I’m unsure if it is still the same but I received a copy of the Highway Code Book with my provisional driving licence and haven’t seen once since ( the original having been long lost).

No doubt the present offering will be a digital version so I would assume this comes with free updates to reflect changes such as those currently being proposed.

I also thought that giving pedestrians right of way at junctions was already a requirement and generally accepted these days as they tend not to look anyway before crossing leaving the vehicle driver with the responsibility of both thinking for them and looking for them to avoid that bonnet slide situation and possible loss of their apple ear plugs during the impact.

I’m now waiting for further regulations on the Highway Covid Rules the main one being if you are involved in an altercation with another driver you must fit your face mask and show your vaccination QR code before winding the window down and shouting your normal choice of expletives at them. 😀

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Having had a quick read, most of it seems like common sense to me. As someone who cycles too, I find most car drivers to be careful and courteous.

As a pedestrian, I generally try to put my safety first over any legislated priority, as I'd rather wait to cross than argue about my right of way from a hospital bed.

Equally, as a car driver, I prefer to be patiently cautious rather than trying to second guess other road users. I tend to consider cyclists and pedestrians in the way I do dogs, deer or other animals, ie unpredictable and uninsured, and so prefer to take charge of any collision avoidance, both for mutual safety and prevention of any damage/costs.

Lots of accidents (not just traffic) are caused by dumb people doing dumb things just because there's no law against it, rather than thinking about whether it's the safest or wisest course of action. So, whilst appearing unnecessary to the sensible, it's no surprise when laws are introduced to try and prevent the dumb from being a danger to themselves and others.

Sure, it's a shame when common sense and common courtesy have to be legislated, but they're not something taught in schools, and sadly seem to be diminishing traits.

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I have had a few near accidents where pedestrians still keying their phones have stepped out into the road without looking and I have anticipated this and either braked or sounded the horn,  the latter sometimes drawing a verbal or rude gesture.  But unless you drive like a snail, inevitably there will be time when this happens so late that a person stepping out in this way does so unexpectedly and is hit.  The chances of this happening are increased by pedestrians not hearing cars in the electric mode, particularly if they are wearing headphones.  Is it fair to always put the blame on the motorist in these circumstances? 

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17 hours ago, Ala Larj said:

…  I have, for a long time, advocated that before being allowed to take a driving test everyone should either be forced to ride a bike or ride a horse on a public highway before being allowed in a motorised vehicle before being allowed behind a wheel. …

I completely understand your point and might even see some merit in it, but I would like to put on record that although I don’t know how to ride a bike and my only equestrian memory is of a ride on a beach donkey as a kid, I nevertheless objectively consider myself a competent driver insofar as I have done no harm to man or beast in almost six decades of motoring.   Also, while admitting that the experiences were more than a little stressful and that I generally preferred to be driven rather than to drive in places like Karachi and Delhi, Lagos and Cairo, to mention only the least car-friendly of them, I am proud to say that I always managed to return hire cars to Avis and Hertz free of dents, invariably to the surprise of their staff.

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I don’t know when the “Cycling Proficiency Test” ended but I before I was allowed to cycle to school you had to train, take and pass this test.

From 11 years old I had already grasped basic road safety and the rules of the road which then gave me an advantage when it came to the motor cycle and car test.

At the time the now defunct News of the World gave their “Knight of the Road” award if you passed the cycle test over a certain percentage, I got 99% after a disputed one point deduction for a slight play in a wheel bearing.

It’s still Steve, no need to call me Sir. 😀

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In my brief reading of the changes I didn't get the impression that motorists would always get the blame Barry, as that would be unfair, only that they should be mindful of those more vulnerable, and give way/priority under certain specific circumstances. In fact the document did say that "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."

The kind of situation you descibe does happen, and sometimes the perceived victim is the cause of it. One would hope that in such cases the motorist wouldn't automatically be blamed.

That said, driving like a snail seems to be mandatory in many places now, with the introduction of more and more 20mph limits.

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Being a LGV driver for over 40 years I am still amazed what cyclists and pedestrians do on a daily basis putting their lives at risk

i have no issues with cyclists however I feel that they should have some form of registration scheme and mandatory third party insurance to drive on the road.

In the new Highway code it seems that they will have the right of way granted to them by the government without any train of thought process in this issue.

I still don't think that this will stop them jumping red lights and riding 2 or 3 a breast without a thought for other motorists. If there is a cycle lane then it should be mandatory for cyclists to use it without exception.

We can only wait and see the outcome of these new regulations and the possible fines and penalties imposed with the amount of CCTV about.

It would be interesting to see the statistics regarding accidents on the reduction to 20mph in some areas.

 

 

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I don't know how or to what extent the new U.K. Highway Code might favour cyclists, as mentioned in several posts above, but I would not be surprised if, as in many countries in recent years, they will benefit from more and more privileges without any increase of responsibility towards fellow road users.

There was a time when I tolerated cyclists as minor nuisances and perhaps even grudgingly envied the ability of many of them to escape harm by exploiting the good sense of others.  My attitude changed when, as a regular visitor to Copenhagen (more so in pre-Covid days), I saw what can happen when officialdom penalises the use of cars while actively encouraging bikes as an even greener alternative to public transport.   An entirely re-mapped inner-city street network, bike lanes that further constrict narrow streets, re-paved roads with added raised kerbs, single-line motor lanes, stop-go lights timed to favour bike speeds, enlarged no-entry zones, etc., etc. have bred a collective arrogance and sense of privilege in cyclists - and unprecedented levels of incivility in all road users - that must be seen to be believed and is particularly disturbing in a city that was not only already bike-friendly but generally considered traffic heaven by visiting motorists.  Today, swarms of cyclists race from one set of lights to the next, seemingly with the perverse intention of preventing cars from turning, with the result that the cars, to avoid getting stranded in mid-junction, are then tempted to race the bikes.  Slow-moving vehicles that swerve even slightly to avoid bikes scraping past on the inside invite abuse from ones jockeying for space on the outside, with the result that damaged side-mirrors are not unusual.  But perhaps the biggest sources of irritation, not only to motorists but to the majority of cyclists themselves, are suburban commuters with athletic ambitions who change from and into streamlined cycling garb at their places of work and use the dedicated lanes as race tracks to and from home, bullying slower fellow cyclists and often invading motor lanes in order to maintain speed.  Another more quaint but not especially charming development has been the proliferation of custom-built bikes incorporating boxes or platforms for the largely unprotected transportation of children and/or pets and/or shopping, and which, to the irritation of everyone except their owners, are not only too bulky but also too slow in moving off at lights and crossings.   I am told that there is occasional public debate about introducing permits and third-party insurance for cyclists, but this would require the expensive creation of a whole new bureaucracy for registration and identification, the latter being the only way for the police to impose any kind of control.  As of today, the vast majority of infringements of codes and rules, as well as the damages caused by individual cyclists, unlike those of motorists, are formally undetected and therefore go unpunished, and will remain so in the foreseeable future. 

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7 hours ago, Rabbers said:

I don't know how or to <<>><<>> and therefore go unpunished, and will remain so in the foreseeable future. 

Thank you for a well-written and educational post Renato - - - It has been a few decades since I've driven in Copenhagen, and it's interesting to read that the road infrastructure has continued to change like this.

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