Put Walkers First In The Highway Code

Seafront walk no traffic

We know from our recent research that people intend to walk more in the future – particularly for leisure and to improve health and well-being. Yet the reality is that many of us do not feel safe due to traffic on the roads.

As a result, we were pleased that earlier this year the UK Government announced its intention to consult on changes to the Highway Code. The aim of these changes is to make the roads safer for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Almost 2,000 of you have already submitted a response to the consultation. If you haven’t yet responded, it’s really easy with our template response and you’ve got until Tuesday 27th October. Make your views heard here.

What changes are being proposed?

The biggest change being proposed is that there will be the introduction of a hierarchy of road users which puts walkers at the top. This new rule will ensure that road users who can do the most harm – drivers of motor vehicles – have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger that they pose to other road users. Other positive changes being proposed include a clarification of where pedestrians have priority, encouraging safer speeds and updated guidance for cyclists on shared use routes. We support these changes to the code.

We also believe that the Highway Code could be further improved by:

  • Clarifying the rule changes around people walking in large groups.
  • Highlighting the dangers of new technology for pedestrians.
  • Referring to national laws on pavement parking.
  • Including a glossary of terms in the code.

Further details of why we believe these changes are so important can be found in our submission.   

Communication and education about the revised code will be essential. In addition to supporting the proposed changes we’ve asked the Department for Transport to set out a plan for promoting the new Highway Code – which of course we’d be happy to help publicise.

The Ramblers have now made a formal submission to the Department for Transport in favour of these changes – and we’ve also asked our supporters to make their voices heard too. So far over 2,000 people have backed our calls to put walkers first and it’s not too late to join them. The consultation closes on Tuesday, 27th October and you can let the UK Government know you support the proposed changes here.