LEGAL EAGLE: New rules aim to better protect cyclists and pedestrians

Later this year, the Highway Code will be updated to give more priority to cyclists and pedestrians. Tilly Bailey & Irvine explain how it affects future road accident claims.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:00 am
People using bicycles and walking as a means of transport increased during the Covid-19 pandemic

It cannot be denied that these road users are the most vulnerable, and the code aims to recognise that and to afford them more protection, whilst putting a greater responsibility on road users who can do the greatest harm, namely drivers of cars, vans and larger vehicles.

People using bicycles and walking as a means of transport increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government aims to sustain this increase in the hope of keeping the environment cleaner and encouraging people to be healthier. The number of miles cycled on British roads in 2020 increased by almost 46%, a larger increase than all of the previous 20 years put together.

Under the current Highway Code, motorists are advised to give way to pedestrians if they have already stepped onto a crossing. It also advises motorists turning into a junction to give way to pedestrians if they have started to cross. The new code aims to give pedestrians increased priority by stating “at a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning”, and “You MUST give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross on a parallel crossing”.

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It also gives right of way to cyclists travelling straight ahead at junctions and will also include guidance on safe distances and speeds for passing cyclists.

Cyclists in turn have to give way to pedestrians, thus creating a ‘hierarchy’ of road users where the most vulnerable have the most protection, and those capable of causing the most damage have the greater responsibility.

The amendments are likely to be approved by Parliament and come into effect in the Autumn.

Unfortunately vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians are far more likely to sustain significant injuries if they are involved in a road traffic accident. Whilst the new changes to the Highway Code seek to afford them more protection, inevitably accidents will occur. The Personal Injury team at Tilly Bailey and Irvine have dealt with numerous cases involving cyclists and pedestrians, ensuring that they are properly compensated for the injuries they suffer and any resulting losses.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in such an incident and are ready to make an injury claim, please contact Kay Ditcham from Tilly Bailey & Irvine's team of Personal Injury Solicitors on 01429 405174 or make a free online enquiry.