This week the UK Department for Transport launched a limited review of the Highway Code and the biggest news is the proposal to include a hierarchy of road users with pedestrians at the top. This change is designed to improve the safety of people who are walking.
There are 3 main changes that are being proposed through this consultation:
- introducing a hierarchy of road users which ensures that those road users 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 that they have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead
The proposals are aimed at protecting walkers and walkers need protection also in NSW. NSW road statistics classify five road user types: drivers, passengers, motor cyclists, pedal cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian and pedal cyclists fatalities are increasing while for the others, the statistic is decreasing.
Australia’s road rules should follow the UK’s current initiative and support safe walking where pedestrians need and must cross a road. For more information about this review: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-highway-code-to-improve-road-safety-for-cyclists-pedestrians-and-horse-riders