Highway Code consultation

BWA submitted a response to the government’s consultation on the Highway Code, which closed in October 2020.

The government’s proposed changes introduce a hierarchy of road users which:

  • ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others,
  • introduces a responsibility for drivers and riders to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a side road or junction, or waiting to cross at a zebra crossing.

Both are very welcome and we supported them in our response.

However, the Code remains focused on the driver viewpoint. BWA’s response said that the Code should promote the safety of the street to support people getting around, by whatever means they choose and should be just as supportive of people moving on foot as it is of people in public and private motor vehicles.

BWA suggested putting the Code into the national curriculum for primary (with a pedestrian emphasis) and secondary schools.

BWA also suggested a number of detailed improvements to the Code:

  • the only MUST to drivers protecting pedestrians is the obligation for drivers to stop for pedestrians on a zebra crossing. This needs to be extended to other circumstances.
  • rules for pedestrians should be extended to ‘give way to pedestrians approaching a side road, junction or zebra crossing’, not just when they are waiting to cross.
  • guidance should be added that when passing a pedestrian, a cyclist should not pass too close, but should pass at a distance that is safe and perceived by the pedestrian to be safe. This would be similar to the rule in respect of motorists passing other road users.

The consultation on Highway Code changes is here, and a summary of the proposed changes is here.

The BWA response is here.