After reading newspaper article pointing out that two in three UK drivers were unaware of the imminent changes to the Highway Code, I did a mini poll at a New Year gathering. I only managing to ask four people – as opposed to the 13,000 in the AA poll quoted – but in mine it turned out that four out of the four I asked were unaware of the changes!

One of the main changes appears to be the establishment of a hierarchy of road users with those posing most risk taking the most responsibility. So drivers will have greater responsibility for cyclists and pedestrians (and horse riders) and cyclists will have greater responsibility for pedestrians. One example is advice that motorists should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

After a period of consultation announced in 2018 – that most people seem equally unaware of – the new ‘interim review’ will come into force at the end of January. But as Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK head of campaigns explains: “Many people won’t have read the Highway Code for years, so it’s essential that the key changes are clearly explained, with simple, accurate and memorable messages.” 

Three days after New Year’s Day, I was on my way to Alexandra Park to dispose of our Christmas tree; remembering the imminent changes to the Highway Code, I gave a wide birth to a cyclist on the way down Upper Park Road. Turning to my passenger, I asked if she remembered the new recommended distance for overtaking cyclists. “Two feet?” she suggested.

For a summary of the consultation proposals on a review of The Highway Code click here

The council Christmas tree recycling service is available at Harmers Lane, Alexandra Park until 17 January, 8.30am
until 4.00pm.

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