Change Highway Code to save lives urges Boardman as petition handed to Government

British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman has handed a petition to the Government to attempt to sway ministers to make a simple but effective cycling safety alteration to the Highway Code.

Over 27,000 have signed the British Cycling petition which urges the Department for Transport to create a universal rule for road users to give way when turning in order create simpler, safer junctions.

Whether you are driving or cycling, you would be clearly obliged to give way when turning to people who are going straight ahead.

Research led by Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster revealed that people who cycle regularly will encounter 25 near misses per year involving vehicles turning left and right across their path at junctions. Of the 25 average near misses, six of them will likely be deemed “very scary”.

British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “We know that the place where walkers – particularly the elderly and parents with children – and those on bikes often feel most vulnerable is when they are crossing junctions. Instead of the 14 conflicting rules in an outdated Highway Code, let’s borrow the common sense approach used in other European countries to create one simple rule that will make junctions much safer for everyone.

“This wouldn’t cost the government safemoney and could be implemented very easily with political will. The cost of doing nothing is far greater. As Westminster’s Near Miss project has shown, incidents at junctions are putting people off cycling for good. At a time when obesity and air pollution are at epidemic levels, surely this is the last thing that we want to see happen.”

A full refresh of the Highway Code has not taken place in the past nine years, yet the current publication has at least 14 different rules for junctions, often offering differing emphasis. The simple rule change proposed would bring the UK in line with countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden where walking and cycling is deemed much safer.

British Cycling has today also launched an interactive tool to make it easy for people to contact their MP on this issue. Members of the public will be asking their MP to contact transport minister Andrew Jones about updating the Highway Code.

aldred research