Reaching for cyclist safety

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Transport Minister Jesse Norman has announced changes to the Highway Code, aimed at keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads.


The government is set to review guidance on how road users should behave in relation to cyclists and pedestrians, as part of its goal to drive down unnecessary deaths.


The new Highway Code will highlight how to avoid the dangers of close passing, and encourage people to adopt the ‘Dutch reach’, a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the handle, to force drivers to look over their shoulder for passing traffic.


The review follows the recent publication of road casualty figures showing that 101 cyclists died in 2017 in road traffic collisions.


Cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman said: 


“Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer still for all — and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.” 


The government launched a new UK-wide initiative in June, to help the police crack down on close passing, which leads to accidents and puts people off cycling.


West Midlands Police are offering drivers a roadside educational input on safe overtaking but repeat offenders — or anyone deemed to have driven dangerously close to a cyclist — can expect to be prosecuted and taken to court.


Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said:


“Close overtakes and people opening car doors in front of cyclists are not only dangerous, they also put people off riding a bike. That’s why Cycling UK has been campaigning for changes to the Highway Code rules for many years.”


In August the department launched a consultation to look into whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for dangerous cyclists. The consultation will close on 5 November 2018.


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