Consultation on the hierarchy of road users

More Consultation Fun!

There is currently a live government consultation about changes to the Highway Code. These changes are designed to help those deemed to be more vulnerable road users. In this case pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Hierarchy of Road Users

The consultation is detailed and has some important proposals with the most important change being the establishment of a hierarchy of road users. This hierarchy would state that some road users are more vulnerable than others and that road users need to consider the safety of those more vulnerable to them. In general the order of hierarchy would be; motor vehicles, cyclists then pedestrians. The hierarchy recognises that the vulnerable road user is more likely to be harmed if in a collision with a less  vulnerable road user. As an example a car driver would be presumed to be at fault for a collision with a cyclist. A cyclist would be presumed to be at fault with a collision with a pedestrian. Individual circumstances may mean this hierarchy may not be followed, but it’s important to establish the hierarchy as this allows us to recognise that more vulnerable road users are at greater risk of being hurt by less vulnerable road users.

There are other positive changes in this consultation. One being introducing the “Dutch Reach” method of opening a car door. The Dutch Reach states that you should use the opening hand than the door that you are opening. This makes it easier for the person to look behind them, allowing them to see any passing cyclists.

Cyclists would are also clearly given priority when going straight ahead when going straight on at a junction. Sometimes car drivers can cut across cyclists who are going straight on.

Supporting the consultation

On the whole I am in favour of the changes being proposed. A couple of things could be argued. Is 1.5 metres enough space for a car driver to be overtaking a cyclist on a quiet road? Also should a cyclist be allowed to stay in the left lane when turning right on a round about? These are small details, as what is important as it strengthens protections for vulnerable road users. Learner drivers will learn more about vulnerable road users then when I learned to drive a car and existing road users can be held to account when they act irresponsibly or dangerously.

The consultation closes on Tuesday the 27th of October, which is only a couple of days away. Cycling UK have helpfully written about the consultation.

Please respond to the consultation here




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