Highway Code changes reflect Essex County Council’s Safer, Greener, Healthier active travel campaign

Fri, 04/02/2022 - 18:21

People walking and cycling in Essex now have priority travel on roads and junctions after important changes to the Highway Code came into force on Saturday 29th January.

The changes are outlined in full by the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, a countywide partnership which includes Essex County Council, Essex Police and Borough, City and District councils in Essex, here: https://saferessexroads.org/the-highway-code-eight-changes-you-need-to-know/.

Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “Safety of all road-users is our number one priority. Essex County Council fully endorses these changes to the Highway Code as they fit in with our Safer, Greener, Healthier campaign to make it easier and safer for people to walk or cycle in Essex.

“These changes are not anti-car, cars are an important method of transport in Essex. We must however, support residents to make active travel choices, which will lead to a healthier population, reducing pressure on the NHS and, at the same time, reducing emissions and helping clean up the environment.”

As a short guide, the changes to the Highway Code for pedestrians include:

  • When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way.
  • If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way.
  • People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing.

For cyclists, the changes to the Highway Code include:

  • When turning into or out of a side road, people cycling should give way to people walking who are crossing or waiting to cross.
  • Not passing people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed, particularly from behind.
  • Cyclists can now ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings.
  • Riders can now keep at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them.

A further important point contained in the changes to the code is the advice to people getting out of parked cars to use the ‘Dutch reach’ method of opening car doors.

This means drivers or passengers in a vehicle should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening - such as using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side.

This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them. They are then less likely to cause injury to people on the pavement or people cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road.