Last time I wrote about the changes to the highway code as it affects cyclists and, of course, other road users.
The opening section is about the Hierarchy of users and this is nicely illustrated by this cartoon from CyclingUK.
Whilst the biggest and strongest owe a duty of care towards those nearer the top of this pyramid of road users, we all owe a duty to ourselves and others not to put ourselves into danger. For example, the pedestrian who steps into the road without looking, or the cyclist who shoots out from a side road. The Code specifically states that ‘people on foot, bike, or horse still have to have regard for their own and other road users safety’
Rule H2 (you don’t have to remember these numbers) simplifies 14 previous rules which sometimes conflicted each other and sets out who should have priority at junctions without traffic signals. It makes clear that riders and drivers at junctions should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are crossing. Of course, two people standing at the roadside chatting may not mean they are waiting to cross, but we should be ready to give way if they suddenly finish their conversation and decide to move.
Rule H3 explains that drivers and motorcyclists should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when the driver is turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.
This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road.
This means that as motorists or cyclists we have to be aware of users of such tracks, even when they are separated from the highway.
Its just as true for cyclists turning left, they have to give way to pedestrians waiting or already crossing a side road, or for other cyclists coming up a cycle track beside them.
Dangerous overtaking and close passes
Rule 163 gives clearer guidance on how much room drivers should give when overtaking.
Leave at least 1.5metres (about 5 feet) when passing at speeds up to 30 mph, and more at higher speeds.
Take extra care and leave more space when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians in bad weather including high winds.
Motorists should wait behind the vulnerable road user if it is unsafe to overtake or not possible to achieve these clearances.
Cycling UK have a nice illustration above, of how we feel comfortable at certain distances in different situations.
Person to person with a stranger, waiting for a train on the platform, at an ATM, and of course on the road.