As the 2022 Brake Road Safety Week launches, focussing on SAFE ROADS FOR ALL, Venson Automotive Solutions raises concerns about the number of road users who have revealed they don’t have everyone’s safety in mind. A survey by Venson* has shown that the changes to the Highway Code, which put a greater focus on road users most at risk including pedestrians and cyclists**, are unpopular with many motorists.
The changes, which came into force earlier this year, are aimed at supporting the introduction of a road user hierarchy. This means that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the risk they pose to more vulnerable users.
According to the Venson survey, 79% of motorists disagree with the change that allows cyclists to pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on the right or left, including at the approach to junctions. Cyclists are advised they should proceed with caution, especially when deciding whether it is ‘safe’ to pass lorries or other large vehicles. The question being asked by motorists is “what is deemed safe?”
Pedestrian safety was also reviewed. Changes included requesting drivers to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which the driver is turning. A majority of motorists surveyed by Venson (66%) did not support this change. In addition, drivers now have to give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.
Whilst the Highway Code itself is not a legal document and the rules outlined in it are not official road laws, a number of the points outlined in the code are backed up by official traffic laws, meaning drivers can be fined, prosecuted or disqualified if they ignore them. So even if motorists disagree with the changes, it is important to be aware of and adhere to them.
Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions comments, “The Highway Code changes have been in place a while now but there was a lot of information for drivers to take onboard. As we enter Road Safety Week it’s a timely reminder to all motorists to brush up on these changes, as well as existing rules.
“It is important to remember that we are all vulnerable on the roads. When out of the car, all drivers are pedestrians themselves, and might ride a bike or horse too. Whether you agree with the Highway Code or not, we should all remember that it is aimed at protecting all road users and it is our shared responsibility as road users to understand road rules with the aim of reducing serious and fatal injuries.”
*An independent survey of 200 consumers conducted by insights service Maru/Hub