Cyclists slam Highway Code changes for not making roads safer

Jeremy Kyle says cyclists 'should be fined' for breaking codes

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One of the largest-ever updates of the Highway Code was launched in January 2022, with the aim of improving road conditions for all users. Despite the new rules, only 18 percent of UK cyclists believe they have made a positive difference to road safety.

A new survey of 1,000 UK cyclists found that 52 percent of respondents were aware that the changes had even been introduced.

This is a similar figure to a previous survey from Cycleplan, who carried out a similar poll in early 2022.

When asked whether they had noticed a difference in road safety at junctions over the last 12 months, only 18 percent of cyclists said that they felt safer. 

Concerningly, however, around one in 10 said that junctions have felt more dangerous, while a further 70 percent said they hadn’t noticed a difference at all.

Cyclists received fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible. 

They were also reminded they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children.

However, they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.

In addition to these rules, a new “hierarchy of road users” was created to make transport safer for everyone.

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This ensures quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

However, it seems that both awareness of the rules – and willingness to follow them – is lacking on a large scale. 

Just one-fifth of the cyclists polled said they feel safe cycling on UK roads, while 32 percent have had, or nearly had, an accident in the last 12 months.

Cycleplan also gathered anonymous first-hand accounts of the aggression faced by cyclists every day while out riding.

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One cyclist said: “A motorist drove up close behind me when I was approaching a junction. I had the right of way as I signalled to turn. 

“As I pulled out of the junction, he followed me out and intentionally close passed me. 

“I remonstrated at the motorist for driving dangerously and he then stopped and threatened me.” 

When asked whether they feel that cycling safety is taken seriously enough by legislative bodies, just one in 10 agreed that the UK Government makes this a priority.

A further 12 percent agreed that their local council takes cycling safety seriously.

This is likely to have an impact on the Government’s 2025 cycling targets as, perhaps unsurprisingly, just 14 percent of UK cyclists said they would be happy for a family member to commute to work or school by bike and would prefer to use a car instead.

Another anonymous cyclist said: “Just the other day I was sworn at for indicating and turning right.

“The motorist was about 30m behind me when I made the move to the centre of the right, he was over the 20-mile-an-hour speed limit and swore at me as he passed on the inside. 

“The abuse was appalling. There is a lack of consideration in both car and cycle users and being cut up is not unusual. 

“Having said that, it’s not all motorists’ fault. I belong to a cycle club and some of the riders are a real liability.” 

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