Motorists oppose Highway Code safety proposals

Almost two-thirds of drivers surveyed disagreed with idea of giving cyclists and pedestrians priority over cars.

Highway Code Hierarchy Survey

New research has found that car drivers are substantially against proposed changes to the Highway Code.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is currently running a consultation on a number of potential alterations to the Highway Code, aimed at improving safety

At the heart of the changes is the idea of a new road hierarchy. This would give vulnerable users like pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders priority over motorists.

Highway Code Hierarchy Survey

Research carried out by insurance company Admiral found that less than one-third (30 percent) of drivers agreed with the hierachy suggestion. Instead, those asked believed that all road users should remain equally ranked in the eyes of the Highway Code. 

Somewhat unsuprisingly, close to two-thirds (60 percent) of cyclists believed that they, along with pedestrians and horse riders, should always be given an automatic right of way over motorists. 

The survey also revealed that 60 percent of car drivers did not believe cyclists should be given priority at junctions. In addition, 1 in 4 motorists believe they deserve priority at junctions if they get there first.

Highway Code Hierarchy Survey

Although not included in the DfT consultation, Admiral also asked questions about whether cyclists should be insured. 

Three-quarters (75 percent) of all road users answered that third party insurance should be mandatory for cyclists. Car drivers (79 percent) favoured this idea marginally more than cyclists (60 percent) in the survey. 

The study also unearthed worrying gaps in knowledge of the Highway Code. One in five cyclists believed riding on the pavement was legal, whilst 16 percent were unaware of the need to have lights fitted to a bike to ride at night. 

Members of the public have until midnight on 27th October 2020 to share their own views on the DfT consultation.

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John Redfern
U.S. Editor with a love of all things Americana. Woodgrain-clad station wagons and ridiculous muscle cars a speciality.

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