Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Updated Highway Code

  1. #1

    Default Updated Highway Code

    Dear All,
    as you may or may not be aware, the Driving Standards Agency have opened consultation on an updated version of Highway Code - their proposed amendments are going to be legally detrimental to our right to ride on public highways; see the CTC campaign here . If you feel strongly about the issue, and want to lobby our local MP, there's a link at the bottom of the page. Cheers,

    Dear Mr Howarth,
    As a keen cyclist, I am very concerned about the new draft of the revised Highway Code, now out for consultation. The new rule telling cyclists that they “should” use cycle facilities where provided, and the existing rule saying that we “should” wear helmets, may at first look like perfectly sensible advice. However, cyclists often have good reasons for not using cycle facilities – many are very poorly designed and some are positively dangerous. The same goes for the pros and cons of helmet-wearing – there is strong evidence and opinions on both sides of the debate (see for more information). The advice will therefore have little benefit for cyclists safety, but could be very damaging in other ways. One only has to think of the 9 year old boy who was permanently brain-damaged by a negligent driver. The driver’s insurers promptly claimed that the boy’s parents bore liability for their son’s severe injuries, as they hadn’t made him wear a helmet. Nobody should have to suffer the anguish which they and several other cyclists or their families have gone though, simply because of that one word \"should\". If anything, the legal consequences of the rule about cycle facilities are even more insidious, as it will be far harder to argue against similar “contributory negligence” claims. Please will you therefore press ministers to make the following changes to the Code: * Remove all words which could give rise to unwarranted “contributory negligence” claims against cyclists; * Include clearer advice to drivers on safe interactions with cyclists (e.g. on how much space to leave when overtaking a cyclist); * Ensure that its advice to cyclists (particularly that on negotiating roundabouts) is in line with the Government-backed National Standard for cycle training and; * A recommendation that anyone wishing to improve their confidence and safety should undertake cycle training to the National Standard I look forward to your response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Digby Symons
    Digby Symons
    01223 760502

  2. #2
    2nd Cat
    Join Date
    Jul 2005


    FWIW I have written to Cambridge MP, David Howarth (& got a standard reply template) after seeing this on another cycling forum.

  3. #3
    3rd Cat JT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    I had a "nice" reply from my MP about 2 hours after sending my letter from the CTC site.

  4. #4


    Received my 'paternal pat on the head' from my Con svervative MP today.
    Nothing hurts me as much as my bike. (No I am wrong, having to give up competitive cycling under Dr's. orders hurts more).

  5. #5


    Whilst I am a member of the CTC, I can't help but feel that the future of cycling on the open road is somewhat bleak. It's a question of numbers. Most people are lazy and fat! The number of people riding bikes regularly on the road is pathetically small compared to the number of people driving cars. However much work the CTC does it's never going to be able to compete. Car drivers don't like cyclists since, inevitably, we get in their way. I think it's only a matter of time before we're shoehorned off the road. That is unless the looming energy crisis renders all modern technology useless and we have to revert to the old horse and cart.

  6. #6
    2nd Cat
    Join Date
    Jul 2005


    revert to the old horse and cart
    Horses and bikes?... :wink: - even if that happened we would still be shouted off the road

  7. #7

    Default Please email the DSA

    Just received this from the CTC. Please send your own comments to the DSA as suggested. Apparently the deadline is next Wednesday.

    Dear supporter,
    Thank you again for taking part in our campaign to influence the latest revisions to the Highway Code. Over 11,000 cyclists have now contacted their MPs about the proposed changes – a fantastic response!
    We are now asking for your support with the second stage of the campaign – indeed, your MP may already have suggested that you do this. Please could you take a few moments to send off a formal response to the Driving Standards Agency’s consultation process? To help you, we have drawn up a suggested “template” response picking out some of the key points we will be making in our own full-length response. This is attached to this email, or alternatively it can be downloaded from our Highway Code campaign webpage. All you need to do is to cut-and-paste the contents into an email, add your name and contact details and send it to If you would like to personalise your submission, our full-length response will be downloadable from this same webpage a little later this evening – by all means add points from it if they strike you as important.
    Please note that the deadline for submissions is Wednesday the 10th of May – next Wednesday – so please get your submissions in as quickly as possible.
    Please could you copy our Transport Campaigner Adam Coffman into any submissions that you send. His email is He is also the person to contact with any questions that you may have about our campaign.
    All these campaigns are funded by CTC members’ subscriptions. If you don’t join we can’t fight campaigns like this on your behalf. Join today are receive an additional 3 months membership free, simply call 0870 873 0061 and quote ectc or click here.
    Thank you once again for your involvement.

    Richard George

    CTC Off-Road Policy Campaigner

    Comments on Highway Code consultation document.

    Email address

    Rule / page no Suggested change Reason
    56 / 17 Change the helmet clause to “Consider wearing a cycle helmet. Remember that cycle helmets are not designed to give protection in collisions with motor vehicles, and can be dangerous if fitted incorrectly.” Also move it further down the cycling section. It is misleading to make the first cycling recommendation something that has never been shown to reduce overall cycle casualties. It must be made clear to insurers that they cannot claim contributory negligence on the grounds of not wearing a cycle helmet.
    58 / 18 Insert this new Rule before Rule 58: “Position yourself on the road so as to maximise your visibility to drivers and to give yourself room to avoid obstacles e.g. potholes. Ride at least 1 metre (just over one arm’s length) from the kerb and more where this would help prevent drivers from overtaking you dangerously. When overtaking parked cars, make sure you are more than a door’s width away” It is recognised good practice (e.g. in the Stationary Office publication ‘Cyclecraft’) for cyclists to use road positioning to maximise their safety. This rule is in line with that advice.
    58 / 18 Renumber as Rule 59 and rewrite as: “Using cycle facilities such as cycle lanes, cycle tracks, advanced stop lines and toucan crossings may help your journey. However you are not obliged to use them and you will sometimes need to adopt other road positions eg to maximise your visibility (see Rule 58).”
    Alternatively remove this Rule. There is little evidence that cycle facilities generally make cycling safer and much evidence that in many cases cycle facilities are less safe than use of the general highway. The proposed wording also conflicts with the advice taught as part of the National Standard for Cycle Training and leaves cyclists vulnerable open to claims for contributory negligence. To maximise their safety, cyclists should ride where they are most easily seen by other road users, keeping close to the moving traffic lane and not necessarily the kerb.
    59 / 18 Add “Take particular care near road junctions, looking to all sides and behind, as other road users may cross your path without noticing you and your visibility of approaching vehicles may be difficult” Cyclists using cycle tracks need to be particularly vigilant at these junctions.
    60 / 18 Delete this rule. The benefits of using cycle lanes and covered in our re-drafted Rule 58. However best practice advice does not always recommend their use, not least because many cycle lanes in the UK are of sub- standard width. Advice to keep within cycle lanes may lead cyclists open to contributory negligence claims.
    63 / 19 Third bullet point, add the following words about riding in single file: “…unless it would be unsafe for other drivers to overtake you” There are circumstances when this is good advice but at other times riding two abreast on narrow roads and round bends can help to deter drivers from overtaking dangerously where there is insufficient space or visibility to pass. The police have advised horse riders to ride two abreast where it is in their interests to restrict the actions of others. The advice is appropriate for cyclists too.

    63 / 19 Final bullet point, change clause about other road users to: “be considerate of other roads users. Pedestrians, especially those blind or partially sighted, can be frightened by the silent approach of a bicycle. Let them know you are there, when necessary, by ringing a bell or calling out. If you regularly use paths shared with pedestrians, it is recommended that a bell be fitted.”
    Most bells are inaudible except in quiet surroundings and motor vehicle occupants can rarely hear a cyclist's bell. As currently drafted, the rule implies that it is an appropriate general warning device. Calling to a pedestrian can sometimes be better received than ringing a bell, and may be safer where a cyclist needs to brake quickly. There is no reason for a cyclist to fit a bell if s/he rarely uses facilities shared with pedestrians.

    63 / 19 Add a new bullet point “have the skills needed to ride safely on the road. If in doubt, take some cycle training to the National Standard.” If possible please add “For more information see” National Standard cycle training is very effective in improving cyclists’ confidence and safety. CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation has government funding for a helpline to put potential trainees in touch with National Standard accredited trainers.
    64 / 19 Add the following words: “…where surfaces may be uneven or slippery. If you need to change course into traffic, make sure that it is safe to do so and manoeuvre in good time.” These extra words will give encourage new cyclists to avoid items such as manhole covers.
    69 / 20 Add the following words to make this message stronger. “To ensure that you are clearly visible and that you have enough room to avoid obstacles eg potholes. Never ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left.” A disproportionate number of collisions involving cyclists happen at junctions - where the cyclist is going straight on and a driver is turning left. The problem is particularly an issue with HGVs whose drivers often swing to the right before turning left.
    74 / 20 Change statement to:
    “If you feel unsafe following the correct procedure at a roundabout, you should dismount and walk your cycle via the route for pedestrians. Never cycle around the left hand edge of a roundabout unless you intend to leave at the next exit, as this will expose you to the greatest danger” It is bad advice to suggest that cyclists keep to the left on a roundabout. This places them into the very places when risk of being hit is greatest and where other drivers are the least likely to see them. If cyclists are unable to follow the normal rules, they should simply be advised to find an alternative (pedestrian) route.

    157 / 45 Add the following new bullet points:

    * “Do not overtake a cyclist if you may have to stop soon afterwards for traffic queuing, traffic control or to park”.
    * “Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking a cyclist and more on higher speed roads, in high winds or in adverse weather conditions”
    * “Do not overtake a cyclist shortly before a road narrowing or pedestrian island. If in doubt, wait and follow the rider through the feature.”
    Move these clauses to their own separate rule, to increase emphasis. The biggest deterrent to cycling is overtaking too close. Drivers need clear guidance on what is and is not acceptable. Road narrowings seldom have enough space for a cyclist and average sized vehicle to both go through at the same time. This guidance would send a clear message to drivers.
    157 /45 Change the illustration, so the cyclist is further out from the kerb. This image does not illustrate best practice as laid out in the National Standard for cycle training
    179 / 52 Add these words to the clause on reaching a roundabout: “Watch out in particular for cyclists. They may be difficult to see if they are riding near the edge of the roundabout. Cyclists on the roundabout have the same priority as other traffic and you should give-way” Drivers must be particularly aware of cyclists at roundabouts. The current advice id not strong enough considering the risks that cyclists can face at these places.
    To add extra lines, press tab in bottom right-hand box
    Digby Symons
    01223 760502

  8. #8


    Good idea.
    Probably a good idea to correct the spelling and grammar first too. I doubt it's really the Stationary Office. Unless there's a whole government department concerning my cycling speed.
    Rich. Putting the lard into bollard

  9. #9


    The latest threat to us comes following this case:

    I suggest anyone who wants to be riding on the road in a few years time joins me in contributing to the CDF, who hopefully will fund this guy's appeal.
    Rich. Putting the lard into bollard

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts