A new draft revision of the highway code has been published. Most of the cycle related stuff is in Rules 56-79. There are some good amendments, for example:
- The advice ‘not to drink at all when driving, because any amount of alcohol can impair driving ability’
- Drivers MUST NOT … use a vehicle with excessively dark tinting on the windscreen or window either side of the driver
- There is also a new section for new drivers.
The worst part is the insertion of the words ‘cycle facilities’ in section 58. A wide range of cycling organisations have expressed deep concerns about this proposed change.
Rule 58 “Use cycle routes when practicable and cycle facilities such as advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings where they are provided, as they can make your journeys safer.”
If you don’t use a ‘facility’ then, in the event of a crash, a drivers insurance company could claim that your going against the highway code was “contributory negligence” and reduce your claim. The CTC makes a good case and asks people to fill in an online letter to their MP.
Now remember that shared use & segregated paths are facilities too� If this draft gets accepted you can expect increased intimidation of the ‘You cyclists shouldn’t be on the road’ type. Some routes may make a pleasant leisure ride but are completely impractical route for commuting.
Cyclists have a right to choose a direct route rather than a ‘facility’. Travel is complex and based on freedom of choice, freedom of choice whether to drive or cycle and which part of the network is best, considering speed, distance to be covered, skill level etc. Cycle Friendly Infrastructure acknowledges this.
If you object to the rewording of section 58 follow the links in the first and second paragraphs to send your comments to your MP and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).
Cambridge Cycling Campaign will be forming a new Subgroup to discuss these and other changes to the Highway Code.
If you are a member and would be interested in taking part, please contact us.