Highway Code 'entirely fails' to share burden of responsibility with cyclists, drivers fume

The debate was heightened by an incident involving a Land Rover and cyclist in Northamptonshire last month

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The recent changes to the Highway Code have been slammed by a British drivers’ alliance.

Highway Code regulations were tweaked earlier this year “to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses".

But the changes have "entirely failed in creating a sense of shared responsibility for the safety of all road users," according to the Alliance of British Drivers.

In a report published on the Government's website, drivers are told to “leave at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds".

The fresh regulations also urge drivers to “wait behind them (cyclists) and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances".

But the Alliance of British Drivers, a non-profit organisation that lobbies "for motorists' interests" says the fresh rules have “introduced an unhelpful atmosphere of divisiveness that has created a false sense of ‘winners and losers”.

The Highway Code was tweaked earlier this year
The Highway Code was tweaked earlier this year

Speaking exclusively for GB News, Duncan White, a Director for the alliance said: “The Alliance of British Drivers has always maintained that the safety of all road users is the paramount consideration; we are however concerned that the latest edition of the Highway Code has not created a balanced appreciation of the realities of road use.

“Our recent dialogue with Baroness Vere at the Department of Transport has reinforced our view that the latest version of the Highway Code is open to a broad range of interpretations and assumptions which has not contributed to a clarity of understanding of the revised ‘rules of the road’.

“The Alliance of British Drivers campaigns tirelessly for the safety of our roads. It is a matter of much regret that instead of bringing all road users together in the cause of safety, the revised Highway Code has introduced an unhelpful atmosphere of divisiveness that has created a false sense of ‘winners and losers’ rather than promoting mutual responsibility in how we all use our roads. This is not in anyone’s interest.”

He continued: “The very prescriptive ‘hierarchy’ of road users graphically illustrated in the new Highway Code has created a tangible change in attitudes that has provoked strong reactions in some quarters.

“Sensible road users have always appreciated that the larger the vehicle, the potential for greater damage and the vast majority act in a responsible way in appreciating this very obvious situation.

The Highway Code debate has been heightened by an incident involving a Land Rover and cyclist
The Highway Code debate has been heightened by an incident involving a Land Rover and cyclist

“Since the publication of the revised Highway Code we have seen a change in attitudes and this has led to some very provocative behaviour on our roads which have, on occasions, been interpreted by some as a deliberate act of obstruction.

“This has not improved etiquette nor does it reflect the absolute requirement for individual responsibility to keep our roads as safe as possible for all users.

“If one sector of road users are given the impression that provocative, obstructive and challenging behaviour has merit then the revised Highway Code has entirely failed in creating a sense of shared responsibility for the safety of all road users.

“For Ministers of the Crown to deny such shifts in attitude despite written and visual evidence then we have an institutional failure to appreciate the negative impact of unwarranted changes in the Highway Code.

“When certain sectors of road users publicly state that they had a disproportionate impact on re-drafting our collective ‘rules of the road’ to their specific advantage and yet this is denied by Ministers despite the evidence, then we clearly have developed a very lop-sided understanding of equitable policies for the safety of all.”

The Highway Code debate has been heightened by a viral incident between a cyclist and Land Rover in Northamptonshire last month.

The video, which was shared online, showed a woman falling off her bike into a ditch after the Land Rover drove past on a country lane.

The Land Rover driver, Paul Nigel Miley, 52 was slapped with a fine of £1,008 for driving without due care and attention.

The video caused widespread controversy across social media as many defended Miley saying he did nothing wrong and that the cyclist was in fact at fault, sparking angry responses from cycling groups.