The June 2007 Highway Code revision has not been ‘prayed on’ by MPs, so will pass into law.
Our July 2007 Newsletter article summarises the last year’s activity and where things are now.
Thanks to all who took part in lobbying efforts against the worse parts of the initial draft.
Latest news – June 2007 iteration of new draft
The DfT consulted on some further changes (see below).
The wording before Parliament, which will pass into law if not stopped within 40 Parliamentary days from 15th June 2007, is now:
61 Cycle Routes and Other Facilities. Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
63 Cycle Lanes. These are marked by a white line (which may be broken) along the carriageway (see Rule 140). When using a cycle lane, keep within the lane when practicable. When leaving a cycle lane check before pulling out that it is safe to do so and signal your intention clearly to other road users. Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
After a sustained letter writing campaign when hundreds of you wrote to your MP, two petitions – one of which raised over a thousand signatures on paper in just two days – our MP David Howarth raising the issue in Parliament, and Lib Dem and Conservative threats to block the Highway Code in the House of Lords, the Department for Transport has negotiated with the CTC a change of wording for the rules in the new Highway Code that would have caused the problems for cyclists discussed below.
It is proposed that rule 61 now read:
Cycle Facilities. Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.
Rule 63 is also amended similarly. Theses changes will now have an extra round of consultation before the new Code is finalised.
Proposed new Highway Code biggest threat to cycling for decades
Cambridge Cycling Campaign has joined cyclists across the country in denouncing a new draft of the Highway Code. The updated Code – due to become law in 20 days if not stopped by MPs – represents the biggest threat to cycling and cyclists for decades.
The new Code will require cyclists to use cycle facilities ‘wherever possible’, irrespective of the consequences for their safety. Similarly, cyclists will continue to be recommended to ride around the outside of roundabouts, in the place where conflict is most likely. The rule that they ‘should’ wear a cycle helmet is also retained.
# Actions every cyclist must take to safeguard their right to use the road
Road safety minister Stephen Ladyman has laid the new Highway Code before Parliament. If not contested by MPs or Lords, it will be approved within 40 days.
Representatives of Cambridge Cycling Campaign met with David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, who pushed for a now-published EDM to stop the draft becoming law.
- Contact your MP to sign EDM 1433 (technically called a ‘prayer’ in this case) as a matter of urgency [David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, has already done so]. Points to raise.
- Also ask your MP to speak to their party colleagues in the Lords to ask them also to “pray against” the Highway Code Points to raise.
- Sign the petition (started by a member of the Campaign) on the Downing Street website, currently in the top 10 [Response now published]
- Sign and post the Parliamentary Petition to arrive by Thursday 17th May.
Members can join our discussion/action e-mail list.
# Key documents and facts
- The existing highway code, stated “Use cycle routes where practicable. They can make your journey safer.�
- Some background information on the meaning of ‘practicable‘
- The Driving Standards Agency issued a 2006 consultation draft of the Highway Code for comment from February-May 2006. It said that cyclists should use facilities “where practicable”
- We published information on our website about the 2006 draft and its problems.
- We sent our formal response in May 2006.
- The response to the consultation was published in March 2007, effectively ignoring the thousands of cyclists who responded, and in fact making things worse by changing the facilities clause to “where possible” (see page 7 onwards). See the extract relating to matters for cyclists.
- The DfT officials’ response to e-mails to Stephen Ladyman MP.
- The finalised draft Highway Code as laid before both Houses of Parliament on 28 March 2007 [See section 59, 13th page, onwards]
- EDM 1433 called a ‘prayer’ to force a debate in Committee/Parliament
- Points made by the CCN (Cycle Campaign Network)
- Points made by the CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club)
- Useful briefing document being assembled
- Responses from MPs
- Response from DfT (19th June 2007)
# Debates in the Houses of Parliament
- 17 May 2007 – House of Lords
- 18 May 2007 – House of Commons – presentation of parliamentary petition by David Howarth MP
- 23 May 2007 – Westminster Hall debate on cycling
- 26 June 2007 – Third Delegated Legislation Committee [or use alternative link]
# About the EDM ‘prayer’ procedure
The UK Parliament website states:
While the majority of EDMs are never considered for debate, the group of EDMs known as ‘prayers’ may be debated. Prayers are motions to overturn Statutory Instruments which are laws made by Ministers under powers deriving from Acts of Parliament. The name prayers comes from the form of words they use: ‘that an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the [title of Statutory instrument], a copy of which was laid before this House on [date], be annulled.’
The Statutory Instruments concerned is the Road Traffic,-Alterations in the provisions of the Highway Code proposed to be made by the Secretary of State for Transport, which the Parliament website states has 40 parliamentary days beginning 28 March 2007.
The UnlockDemocracy website contains a briefing which mentions (on page 4) The Negative Resolution Procedure:
The Order becomes law on the date stated on it but will be annulled if either House passes a motion calling for its annulment within a certain time. This time period is usually forty days including the day on which it was laid. This does not include any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. A motion calling for annulment is known as a prayer […]
In the House of Commons any Member may put down a motion to annul an Order subject to the Negative Procedure. In practice, such motions are now generally put down as Early Day Motions (EDMs), which are motions for which no time has been fixed and, in the vast majority of cases, for which no time is likely to be available. A motion put down by the Official Opposition will often be accommodated although there is no absolute certainty of this. An annulment motion put down by a backbencher is unlikely to be dealt with but a debate may be arranged if there are a large number of signatories to the EDM.
In the House of Lords prayers can be tabled by an individual Member and are usually debated, although rarely put to the vote.
A relatively recent example of a successful motion to annul occurred on 22 February 2000, when the House of Lords rejected the Greater London Authority Elections Rules (SI 2000/208).
The House of Commons last annulled a Statutory Instrument on 24th October 1979 […]
Media coverage of interest
- Danger lane: are new rules making cycling riskier? – The Times, 6th May 2007
- Two wheels – The Guardian, 10th May 2007
The situation as of 2006, including our previous lobbying.