DfT considers new rule on turning vehicles to protect cyclistsFri, 02/11/2018
New rules which could help safeguard cyclists may be written into the Highway Code as the Government considers an update.
The RAC reports:
Cyclists and pedestrians could be given further protection from turning vehicles under a proposed update for the Highway Code.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering introducing a rule that requires motorists turning at junctions to always give priority to vulnerable road users going straight on.
Rule 170 currently states that drivers are only required to give way if pedestrians have already started to cross the street, which road safety campaigners Cycling UK have labelled unclear.
Changing how motorists turn at junctions is just one of a number of possible new proposals aimed at making the Highway Code give more protection to cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
More than 100 cyclists were killed in collisions on the UK’s roads in 2017, with many more placed in danger by motorists inconsiderately opening car doors or overtaking too closely.
One possible Highway Code update could encourage motorists to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ approach when opening car doors, which involves passengers using the hand further from the handle to encourage them to check over their shoulder for approaching cyclists.
The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said that with an increasing number of both cyclists and motorists on the roads he welcomed proposals on the adoption of the ‘Dutch Reach’ approach.
He said: “We support the introduction of the ‘Dutch Reach’ principle to the Highway Code, a small change every motorist can make when exiting their vehicle, that can make a huge difference to the safety of passing cyclists.”
“There should be an expectation that all road users follow the laws of the road, but from a motorist’s point of view, giving extra space when overtaking, not blocking bike boxes at junctions and always checking mirrors for cyclists will go a long way in improving safety on our roads.
He added: “It is important that efforts are made to try and end the ‘us versus them’ narrative, when the reality is that motorists and cyclists are simply road users trying to complete a journey safely.”
Jesse Norman, minister for walking and cycling, said plans to encourage more people to walk and cycle would only be successful if measures are in place to keep them safe on the roads.
He said: "Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality and town and city planning.”
The introduction of new rules come as a welcome relief to cyclists and is a step towards creating a safer environment for those who choose to cycle on the road.