Highway Code Consultation

The government is consulting on changes to the Highway Code with the express aim of making roads safer for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The consultation document can be viewed here.

The Ramblers will be submitting a formal response to the consultation and would welcome views on the proposed changes.

The main changes being proposed, which the Ramblers intend to support, are:

  • Introduction of a hierarchy of road users

A new rule would be added to ensure that road users who can do the most harm – drivers of motor vehicles - have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to other road users. The proposed new hierarchy would be:

1.Pedestrians, in particular children, older adults, and disabled people 
2. Cyclists 
3. Horse riders 
4. Motorcyclists 
5. Cars/taxis 
6. Vans/minibuses 
7. Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles 

  • Clarification of where pedestrians have a right of way

New rules would make it clear that drivers and riders should give way when pedestrians have stepped onto the road at a zebra crossing or junction, but also when they are waiting to cross the road.  

  • Encouraging safer speeds

The new code recognises that slower speeds are less intimidating for people walking and says that speeds should be reduced when road use is shared and drivers must give walkers a 2 metre clearance when overtaking. Drivers will also be advised to allow walkers to cross in front of them in slow moving traffic. 

  • Updating guidance for cyclists on shared use routes 

The new code will encourage cyclists to take care when passing walkers, for example to use a bell or call out politely when necessary (recognising that some pedestrians will be deaf, blind or partially sighted) and to avoid passing walkers closely or at high speed, particularly from behind. If you have any comments on the Ramblers’ proposed response, please send them to Kate Conto (kate.conto@ramblers.org.uk) by 1st October 2020. Individuals are also invited to submit responses to Department for Transport directly and further information can be viewed by clicking on the link above. Please note that the consultation closes on 27th October 2020.