Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of cyclists and pedestrians on our roads as people turned to these forms of exercise during the lockdown periods. Last year the number of miles cycled on British roads rose by nearly 46% to five billion, a larger increase than in all of the previous 20 years put together, according to the Department of Transport.
The increased trend looks to continue now restrictions are lifting and the Government are set to build on this growth by making changes to the Highway Code. These changes will readdress the balance of responsibility for road users for their own safety and others’ safety.
Historically, it has often been the more vulnerable road users who have paid a higher price for other people’s actions. The measures recently outlined by the Government, which will be published in the revised Highway Code in the Autumn, aim to afford those users greater protection.
A new hierarchy of road users will be introduced to ensure those road users who can do the greatest harm (e.g. those in cars, lorries and vans) will have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others. The current Highway Code currently does not distinguish between pedestrians and lorry drivers and they are treated equally responsible for their own or other people’s safety. Among the measures to be covered in the new Code are:-
- Guidance for safer distances and safer speeds when passing cyclists
- Greater awareness of, and priority for, pedestrians at crossings and junctions
- Priority for cyclists at junctions when travelling straight ahead.
One of the most common causes of cyclists and pedestrians being injured is being hit by a vehicle on a public highway. The proposed amendments to the Highway Code bring a positive change for these vulnerable road users and offer encouragement for those who may be feeling daunted now traffic volumes are increasing again as normality resumes. At Lyons Davidson, we have a specialist team dedicated to dealing with claims on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians injured in road traffic accidents. Our team has extensive experience of all types of accidents and can help with claims to recover compensation for injuries and financial loss.