Following a lengthy consultation process it looks like the Government are finally putting the finishing touches to amendments to the Highway Code which will affect not just individuals but companies throughout the United Kingdom. They have released a consultation document which summarises the feedback received by them to the initial proposals.
This document sets out not just the feedback but also analysis and outcome of the Review of The Highway Code consultation.
The consultation posed a series of questions which covered the following 3 changes:
- Introducing a hierarchy of road users to ensure those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
- Clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements and that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road.
- Establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders, and ensuring they have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.
The consultation ran for 12 weeks before closing on 27 October 2020. It generated a huge response with nearly 21,000 responses received from a range of respondents including government, public and business.
Analysis of the consultation responses, which will be used to determine the final changes to The Highway Code.
The majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of all the changes proposed, says the document, believing that they would improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. They welcomed the timing of the changes as more people embrace alternative modes of transport, with cycling and walking on the increase. Feedback also emphasised the importance of offering greater protection to those road users.
Overall, percentages of those respondents agreeing with the changes ranged from 68% to 96% agree. Statistical analysis suggests that all the changes proposed should therefore be implemented. However, the government says it has carefully considered the disagree comments and has noted that there are some valid points raised that need to be considered. As a result, it will be seeking to introduce all the amendments as outlined in the consultation, but with changes to the text where a significant concern has been identified.
The next steps are:
- Using the consultation responses, government will work with relevant stakeholders to finalise the alterations to The Highway Code and produce a revised version to lay before Parliament.
- It will lay the revised version of The Highway Code before Parliament for a period of 40 days.
- Subject to Parliamentary approval, it will work with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to update The Highway Code.
- Online and hard copy versions of the revised code will be produced.
O J Health and Safety Solutions would advise all clients to await the revised code, then review their own processes, procedures and risk assessments in light of the changes made. It may have more of an impact on Companies who are involved in road haulage and transport but that remains to be seen. Most companies who operate in the UK have some road presence, whether it be deliveries, company representatives prospective clients or staff attending meetings. We will keep you abreast of any specific changes as we become aware of them.