Junction rule change could prevent left-hook danger, say campaigners as petition launched
Laura Laker December 8 2016
Highway Code changes proposed by British Cycling and the AA to give way when turning could improve safety and pave the way for better cycle infrastructure in the UK
British Cycling, the AA and pedestrian groups are calling for a universal rule to give way when turning, to reduce left hook risks for those cycling and walking, and have launched a petition to drum up support.
At the moment, they say, the Highway Code features 14 rules relating to walking and cycling at junctions, which are unclear, often with a different emphasis, while failing to cover all scenarios.
The proposal, based on research commissioned by British Cycling, is to make one rule, requiring those driving or cycling to give way when turning to people going straight on. At the moment a lack of clarity and legal protection for cyclists and pedestrians against turning traffic mean councils are reluctant to provide innovative infrastructure, instead building “stop-start” bike lanes which, research suggests, undermines safety, rather than protecting cyclists.
Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser, said the proposals would eliminate confusion and encourage more people to walk and cycle.
“Whether driving, cycling or walking, negotiating a junction is the most hazardous manoeuvre you can make on the road – this is evidenced by the fact that nearly two thirds of motor vehicle collisions take place at junctions,” he said.
“There are at least 14 different rules in the Highway Code which relate to people walking and cycling at junctions, and it can be difficult for anyone to interpret what is the correct behaviour. A change needs to be made – the rules need to be simple and unambiguous.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “It would be beneficial for all road users if the Highway Code simplified the rules at junctions where a disproportionate amount of injury crashes occur.”
The new proposal follows research conducted on behalf of British Cycling, and is based on Danish, Dutch and Swedish models where vehicles travelling straight give way to pedestrians as well as cyclists crossing side roads, riding on cycle lanes on the inside of traffic.