The Highway Code has now changed
New Highway Code Rules
There are now 33 new rules to the Highway Code, with a new version that includes a “hierarchy of road users”. It has been put in place to ensure that those who can cause the most harm in a road traffic collision, such as those in vehicles, bear the “greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others”.
Subsequently, under the new rules, the hierarchy will be in order of priority: Pedestrians are given the highest priority, then cyclists; horse riders; motorcyclists; cars/taxis; vans/minibuses, with large passenger and heavy goods vehicles placed at the bottom. Under these new updates, it means that a lorry driver will have a greater responsibility over someone driving a car, a driver of a car greater responsibility over a cyclist, and a cyclist would have greater responsibility over a pedestrian.
Whilst it is welcome news that new priorities have been given to the most vulnerable road users, it is hoped that these rules are publicised widely enough so that all road users are aware of their obligations. For example, under the new highway code rules, drivers are expected to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or out of which they are turning. All road users have an obligation to keep up to date with new legalisation and highway code rules, but without sufficient publication of these road safety updates, pedestrians could find themselves in danger if all drivers are unaware of a pedestrian’s new right of way.
Road Safety Week – Road Safety Heroes Across Britain
Every year, Brake, the road safety charity run the Road Safety Week Campaign, to raise awareness for safe and healthy road use for all. This year campaigners celebrated road safety heroes across the work of road safety heroes across the country who are working to tackle deaths and serious injuries. It was also highlighted that there has been a drop of a fifth in deaths and serious injuries on roads in 2020 due to lockdowns reducing traffic, this was the first decline in years, and heralds renewed efforts to make roads safe for us all.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “While the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, we’re always working to make them even safer – and we very much welcome the drop in casualties during the pandemic.
“We will continue to work tirelessly to help see further reductions, including through our THINK! campaign, which tackles behaviours that can lead to serious road incidents and our ongoing review of roads policing.”
It is hoped the one-year drop will not be a one-off and will continue to decline. The indications are that this could be possible, with the new focus on the obligations of the most dangerous road users, Government plans for a new road safety strategy, and other safety drives such as local authorities building cycle paths and communities working for reduced speed limits where they live.
Unfortunately, one type of road user that has not seen a decrease in accidents, are those involving e-scooters. In a previous blog, we highlighted concerns over the increased use of e-scooters, and recent stats show that in 2020, police forces across Britain recorded 484 casualties resulting from 460 e-scooter incidents, and the majority – 384 – were e-scooter riders. As their popularity grows, the worry is electric scooters will be involved in thousands of more accidents. With this troubling prediction in mind, we hope there will be further legislation and highway code updates to protect this growing number of vulnerable road users.
Expert Personal Injury Solicitors
Our personal injury team are committed to supporting vulnerable road users, motorists and cyclists who have been injured in road traffic accidents. If you are seeking legal advice about a personal injury you have suffered or would like to know more information about the process of making a compensation claim, our specialist personal injury lawyers have the expertise and knowledge to deal with all types of road traffic accidents. You can call us today 0800 731 7555, make an online enquiry or drop into one of our personal injury clinics:
- Wednesdays from 10pm - 12pm at our Farnworth office: 86 Market St Farnworth Bolton BL4 7NY
- Wednesdays from 3pm – 5pm at our Newport office: 39 Newport Street, Bolton, BL1 1NE
- Thursday from 10am – 12pm at our Middleton office: Colmar House, Middleton Gardens, Middleton M24 4DB
- Fridays from 10am -12pm at our Atherton office: 43 Market Street, Atherton, Manchester, M46 0GQ