Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Junction rule change could prevent left-hook danger, say campaigners as petition launched

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.

Ministerial car filmed left-hooking cyclist as it enters Parliament ahead of Autumn Statement

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.”

Safer cycle infrastructure possible after signage rule changes

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.

Rule changes would mean:

- Drivers turning at a junction giving way to people cycling and walking who may be on your nearside, or crossing the road you wish to turn into;

- Cyclists turning at a junction giving way to people walking who are crossing the road you wish to turn into;

- Pedestrians getting increased protection when crossing a side road or other junction.

At the moment rule 170 of the Highway Code states drivers must give way to pedestrians who are already crossing a side road, but this rule is rarely observed and is not directly enforceable by law, says report authors, Phil Jones Associates.

The report, titled Turning the Corner, suggests current laws do not adequately protect cyclists from turning traffic, whether people are riding on cycle lanes or on the road. This encourages cyclists to ‘take the lane’ to avoid left hooks, reducing the value of investment in cycle infrastructure, it says.

It adds lack of clarified rules and the fact rules aren’t enforceable means local authorities are reluctant to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists over turning traffic.

British Cycling launched a petition today to build support for the new proposal. Among those to have already signed are Chris Boardman, Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell Shand, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Steven Burke and Paralympic legend Dame Sarah Storey.

Video: Driver left hooks cyclist on upgraded Cycle Superhighway

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “As pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists we all need to recognise that the road is a shared space which works best when we all respect each other. The clearer we can make the rules of the road the easier it is for us all to see what’s expected of us and to comply. The rules also need to be complemented with the right streetscape engineering, with markings, surfaces and road geometry all telling us the same story.”

A fear of sharing road space with motor traffic represents a major barrier to more people cycling. British Cycling argues changing the rules would allow more and better infrastructure to be built, improving both actual and perceived safety for those on foot and on bikes.

Suggestions made by the report include a single rule regarding left turns in the Highway Code, and strengthening the wording of that rule; changes to rules for road markings (the Transport Signs Regulations and General Directions, or TSRGD) including use of ‘elephant’s footprints’ indicating side road priorities. Alternatively it suggests a change to primary legislation under an act of Parliament to support the various rules of the Highway  Code, introducing a ‘Universal duty to give way’, as applied in Nordic countries.

 

Add new comment

48 comments

Avatar
RMurphy195 | 7 years ago
1 like

So - the rues are going to change to reflect what I - and most other drivers - do anyway? I hadn't realised that there were no rules to cover the 3 bullet points above. Will it make a difference?- perhaps only insofa as drivers and insurers arguing the toss have more clarification on what the legal situation is (its clear what's right and whats wrong already, for most people)

Avatar
krautsky | 7 years ago
0 likes

I don't know where everybody is checking the wording of rule 170 - but this is what it says on the government website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/using-the-road-159-to-203

"watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way"

That is pretty clear, right? Technically that means you have to stop for any pedestrian hovering at the kerb. If they take even one step onto the road and you hit them it's your fault, as they have priority.

And why can this not be enforced? I take great pleasure in shouting at motorists and cyclists alike who think they can just bulldoze over me as I start to cross at junctions.  And I always give way to people about to cross. Problem is nobody knows about rule 170. I've quizzed several policemen and they always say the car has the right of way. As far as I remember the Germans have a neat rule for this: As soon as you turn off the road you are travelling on - or cross another road - you lose your right of way.  Simples.

Avatar
Bmblbzzz | 7 years ago
0 likes
handlebarcam wrote:

As a fully paid-up member of the liberal elite, I hate to rag on the BBC like some frothing-at-the-mouth 'kipper, but their article on this story is woeful. Its headline is currently a simplistic and clickbaity "Give way to cyclists when turning, says British Cycling", it doesn't mention the AA or RAC, it doesn't mention pedestrians, and it is illustrated with a picture of a burk in a bobble hat riding a fixie with chopped bars. Plus it quotes some bloke from the Road Haulage Association speaking on the Today Programme, who is clearly confused and bewildered by the whole thing (which I thought was John Humphrys' role.) He makes it out to be purely about cyclists undertaking drivers when it is really about everyone having respect for others (which is where I have a problem with it, as too many people simply don't.) It seems the BBC will, in search of balance, get in someone who is wilfully ignorant of the topic if that is the only way to have two opposing sides.

Not so sure about the photo. Yes, it shows a hipster with ridiculous cut-down bars, but at least all three of the cyclists it shows look like normal people doing normal travel-type things. (No, I didn't read the article, because as you say "BBC balance". I've got other things to waste my time on!)

Avatar
ktache | 7 years ago
1 like

Why is it that the multiple pedestrians have to be reasonable?  To one man in a large van.  How many of them might have been neurosurgeons, heart surgeons intensive care nurses, we're talking London hospital here, a lot of public transport use for everyone.  Why was he reversing into a service road, was it for his convienience so as not to have to turn around in the road later?  Or is it an infrastructure defect?  Would it be reasonable to have a banksman perhaps?  The blindspot on a reversing 7.5 ton truck is quite large.

Avatar
gmac101 | 7 years ago
1 like

When I was getting ready for my driving test (circa 1986)  one of my school mates failed his test for failing to give way to a pedestrian crossing the side street he was turning into.  So I've always been aware that you as a driver or a cyclist should give way to pedestrians when turning but recently I've been thinking I was the only one. 

Avatar
karl_d | 7 years ago
0 likes

Hell's teeth, on my (car) commute home along a wide road with a solid-line bike lane I see drivers encroaching into it - daily! Good luck educating road users with any kind of Highway Code amendment.

Avatar
Bluebug replied to karl_d | 7 years ago
0 likes
karl_d wrote:

Hell's teeth, on my (car) commute home along a wide road with a solid-line bike lane I see drivers encroaching into it - daily! Good luck educating road users with any kind of Highway Code amendment.

And where there is a dotted line where I live because there is not enough room for 2 lanes, an ambulance behind them wanted to use the outside lane to turn right and no cyclists they don't.

 

Avatar
ktache | 7 years ago
7 likes

How's this?

Motorist crossings.

Like Toucan crossings, but with priorities reversed.  The pedestrian and cyclist always have the green light, the motorist the red.  The large and dangerous vehicle would trundle up to the crossing and the driver would have to ask permission to cross.  Press a button or drive over detectors in the road, of course the detector might not register the vehicle because it's made of not quite standard material.  Then they have to wait, maybe three, maybe four minutes.  Then they get a green light, (unless the black lines didn't register their vehicle, who knows what happens then) but not for long, fifteen to twenty seconds maybe.  Then back to red.

Why does this seem quite so ridiculous?

Why do the killers, the breakers of laws, always get priority?

The ones in the safety bubble, the ones set apart from the environment, the ones in their comfortable chairs in the dry, warm or cool are always considered more important.

Avatar
burtthebike replied to ktache | 7 years ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Why does this seem quite so ridiculous?

Why do the killers, the breakers of laws, always get priority?

The ones in the safety bubble, the ones set apart from the environment, the ones in their comfortable chairs in the dry, warm or cool are always considered more important.

It isn't ridiculous if you're a pedestrian or cyclist, and that is the problem; the laws are made by drivers for drivers.  So they get priority.

The situation will not change until there is political change, and currently the only hope for this seems to be the Greens.

Avatar
ktache | 7 years ago
2 likes

There is an Esso petrol station right near me, in fact I can see some of it from my front window.  Right in the middle of a busy little high street.  To get into and out of it the motorist has to drive across a wide pavement.  The block paving continues and the double yellow lines keep running past.  You take your life into your hands walking along that pavement.   This is Britain.  Car is king and might is right.  And this is an obvious bit of pavement, not just a bit of paint and no need to check their mirrors.

Avatar
stenmeister | 7 years ago
2 likes

Given the lack of awareness of Highway Code rules already shown to cyclists, I have little faith in this.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to stenmeister | 7 years ago
1 like
stenmeister wrote:

Given the lack of awareness of Highway Code rules already shown to cyclists, I have little faith in this.

The proposed changed benefits pedestrians just as much. It seems a no-brainer to me. Many countries already do it this way, and I remember being surprised to discover its not actually legally the case here. As far as I see it, the existing lack of such a rule is just another signifier that the motorist is King.

Avatar
Griff500 replied to stenmeister | 7 years ago
2 likes
stenmeister wrote:

Given the lack of awareness of Highway Code rules already shown to cyclists, I have little faith in this.

Agreed, but it's not just about cyclists. I would go further and say that the majority of motorists see the Highway Code as a necessary device to get through their driving test, after which it can be ignored. How many drivers do you see failing to signal correctly at roundabouts, straightlining 2 lane roundabouts, failing to observe yellow box junction rules (which in fact apply to all junctions) failing to indicate (anywhere), and so on. One more rule for people to ignore will hardly help.

Avatar
brooksby | 7 years ago
2 likes

I thought that if someone's crossing a junction, then you have to give way to them anyway?

This proposed change wouldn't stop left hooks happening, but might be extra ammo for the CPS and/or police when the driver has to explain why they ran someone over...

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

I thought that if someone's crossing a junction, then you have to give way to them anyway?

This proposed change wouldn't stop left hooks happening, but might be extra ammo for the CPS and/or police when the driver has to explain why they ran someone over...

The article says

Quote:

At the moment rule 170 of the Highway Code states drivers must give way to pedestrians who are already crossing a side road, but this rule is rarely observed and is not directly enforceable by law, says report authors, Phil Jones Associates.

But this is wrong - the rule says drivers _should_ give way, not must. It is rarely observed, but that's partly because its only advisory (and, to be honest, nobody takes any notice of the advisory bits, e.g. high viz and helmets)

Avatar
STiG911 replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

I thought that if someone's crossing a junction, then you have to give way to them anyway?

This proposed change wouldn't stop left hooks happening, but might be extra ammo for the CPS and/or police when the driver has to explain why they ran someone over...

Yes, you're right - in the same way that on a roundabout you give way to those already on it, you'd give way to those already crossing the road.

Problem is in London Pedestrians are lemmings, so if a driver or cyclist stopped to give way in a turning they'd be there for weeks as it never occurs to Pedestrians to stop. Just yesterday I stopped because a lorry was backing into a service lane at London Bridge Hospital, and Pedestrians were actually continuing to walk round the back of it until almost all of it was in the turning.

Because - lose precious seconds. Bunch of salads.

 

And on the left-hook issue itself, it'd be nice if (the minority of moron) cyclists actually slowed down when drivers were already turning instead of trying to dive down the inside ahead of them. The times I see this everyday makes me cringe.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
0 likes
STiG911 wrote:
brooksby wrote:

I thought that if someone's crossing a junction, then you have to give way to them anyway?

This proposed change wouldn't stop left hooks happening, but might be extra ammo for the CPS and/or police when the driver has to explain why they ran someone over...

Yes, you're right - in the same way that on a roundabout you give way to those already on it, you'd give way to those already crossing the road.

Problem is in London Pedestrians are lemmings, so if a driver or cyclist stopped to give way in a turning they'd be there for weeks as it never occurs to Pedestrians to stop. Just yesterday I stopped because a lorry was backing into a service lane at London Bridge Hospital, and Pedestrians were actually continuing to walk round the back of it until almost all of it was in the turning.

Because - lose precious seconds. Bunch of salads.

 

And on the left-hook issue itself, it'd be nice if (the minority of moron) cyclists actually slowed down when drivers were already turning instead of trying to dive down the inside ahead of them. The times I see this everyday makes me cringe.

Again though, I think the use of 'should' rather than 'must' in the code means its not legally obligatory. Which has to have some bearing on the fact so few drivers pay attention to it.

Avatar
STiG911 replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 7 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Again though, I think the use of 'should' rather than 'must' in the code means its not legally obligatory. Which has to have some bearing on the fact so few drivers pay attention to it.

Hmm - lots of things drivers 'should' do but don't....

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
1 like
STiG911 wrote:

Hmm - lots of things drivers 'should' do but don't....

Well, yes, which is why it _might_ improve things were it to instead become a 'must'.

If it were compulsory rather than advisory, then it would, I presume, be possible to issue fines or points on licence for those who ignore it. Whether that is actually enforced is another matter of course, but even occasional, sporadic enforcement could help change the norm. It presumably would also change the legal situation if breaking the rule led to a collision.

Avatar
davel replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
1 like
STiG911 wrote:
brooksby wrote:

I thought that if someone's crossing a junction, then you have to give way to them anyway?

This proposed change wouldn't stop left hooks happening, but might be extra ammo for the CPS and/or police when the driver has to explain why they ran someone over...

Yes, you're right - in the same way that on a roundabout you give way to those already on it, you'd give way to those already crossing the road.

Problem is in London Pedestrians are lemmings, so if a driver or cyclist stopped to give way in a turning they'd be there for weeks as it never occurs to Pedestrians to stop. Just yesterday I stopped because a lorry was backing into a service lane at London Bridge Hospital, and Pedestrians were actually continuing to walk round the back of it until almost all of it was in the turning.

Because - lose precious seconds. Bunch of salads.

 

And on the left-hook issue itself, it'd be nice if (the minority of moron) cyclists actually slowed down when drivers were already turning instead of trying to dive down the inside ahead of them. The times I see this everyday makes me cringe.

Why should loads of pedestrians give way to one lorry in central London?

Avatar
STiG911 replied to davel | 7 years ago
2 likes
davel wrote:

Why should loads of pedestrians give way to one lorry in central London?

...Not sure if serious...but in case you are: Said lorry is reversing into a narrow service road and contrary to popular belief, Pedestrians don't have the right of way all the time. Longer lorry has to wait because people are too stupid / ignorant to wait so can get manoeuvre, longer the road is blocked. And as he's having to watch for morons walking round the back of his lorry, people are also walking round the cab IN THE CYCLE LANE, so cyclists have nowhere to go.

In short, no bastards prepared to wait for anyone anymore. Courtesy is dead.

Avatar
psling replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
3 likes
STiG911 wrote:
davel wrote:

Why should loads of pedestrians give way to one lorry in central London?

...Not sure if serious...but in case you are: Said lorry is reversing into a narrow service road and contrary to popular belief, Pedestrians don't have the right of way all the time. Longer lorry has to wait because people are too stupid / ignorant to wait so can get manoeuvre, longer the road is blocked. And as he's having to watch for morons walking round the back of his lorry, people are also walking round the cab IN THE CYCLE LANE, so cyclists have nowhere to go.

In short, no bastards prepared to wait for anyone anymore. Courtesy is dead.

 

Sounds like poor infrastructure again.

Poorly designed service road, lack of planning for optimal windows for deliveries taking into account pedestrian movements, vehicles too large for urban delivery logistics.

pda

Avatar
STiG911 replied to psling | 7 years ago
0 likes
psling wrote:

Sounds like poor infrastructure again.

Poorly designed service road, lack of planning for optimal windows for deliveries taking into account pedestrian movements, vehicles too large for urban delivery logistics.

pda

Short of a monumental investment in the infrastructure and shutting London for twenty years while they sorted it all out, the city is what it is and everyone has to deal with it. Yes, a lot of deliveries could, I'm sure, wait until later in the day or get done at night, but allowing a 7.5t rigid to deliver into a purpose-built (wide entry / exit, clear sight lines) service road isn't to much of a stretch, imo.

Avatar
davel replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
2 likes
STiG911 wrote:
davel wrote:

Why should loads of pedestrians give way to one lorry in central London?

...Not sure if serious...but in case you are: Said lorry is reversing into a narrow service road and contrary to popular belief, Pedestrians don't have the right of way all the time. Longer lorry has to wait because people are too stupid / ignorant to wait so can get manoeuvre, longer the road is blocked. And as he's having to watch for morons walking round the back of his lorry, people are also walking round the cab IN THE CYCLE LANE, so cyclists have nowhere to go.

In short, no bastards prepared to wait for anyone anymore. Courtesy is dead.

That didn't answer my question, really, but spare me the 'hell in a handcart'. I was thinking less in terms of 'well, because it just is' and more 'well, why is it like that?'.

In short, current city 'design' and use is dysfunctional and has got us to the situation where you unthinkingly accept that one truck, quite possibly delivering one thing (during rush hour?), should take priority across a pavement over a streetload of pedestrians because 'service road = road' and 'truck'. In central London.

Can you not see how absurd that is?

Avatar
STiG911 replied to davel | 7 years ago
1 like
davel wrote:

That didn't answer my question, really, but spare me the 'hell in a handcart'. I was thinking less in terms of 'well, because it just is' and more 'well, why is it like that?'.

In short, current city 'design' and use is dysfunctional and has got us to the situation where you unthinkingly accept that one truck, quite possibly delivering one thing (during rush hour?), should take priority across a pavement over a streetload of pedestrians because 'service road = road' and 'truck'. In central London.

Can you not see how absurd that is?

London wasn't designed, it was thrown together over centuries and in built-up areas the layout may never change. It's only dysfunctional insofar as those using it refuse to accept that everyone is trying to get somewhere, and they need to understand the concept of waiting.

It's because of thought that I accept that the lorry needs to get into the service road, and it's using a turning, not driving over the pavement so I fail to see why it's unreasonable to stop and let the guy in. It's about courtesy, not priority.

So, no, I don't see how absured that is.

Avatar
davel replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
2 likes
STiG911 wrote:
davel wrote:

That didn't answer my question, really, but spare me the 'hell in a handcart'. I was thinking less in terms of 'well, because it just is' and more 'well, why is it like that?'.

In short, current city 'design' and use is dysfunctional and has got us to the situation where you unthinkingly accept that one truck, quite possibly delivering one thing (during rush hour?), should take priority across a pavement over a streetload of pedestrians because 'service road = road' and 'truck'. In central London.

Can you not see how absurd that is?

London wasn't designed, it was thrown together over centuries and in built-up areas the layout may never change. It's only dysfunctional insofar as those using it refuse to accept that everyone is trying to get somewhere, and they need to understand the concept of waiting.

It's because of thought that I accept that the lorry needs to get into the service road, and it's using a turning, not driving over the pavement so I fail to see why it's unreasonable to stop and let the guy in. It's about courtesy, not priority.

So, no, I don't see how absured that is.

1 Truck. Delivering 1 thing*. During rush hour. Across a pavement. Thirty* pedestrians just wait, because 'road'. Not even a proper road. A service road that cuts across a pavement. That isn't absurd?  And it's not about priority, it's about courtesy? What does that even mean? Some people just need to learn to wait? What?!

What would be scarier to me, is if everyone just waited like automotons, accepting how ridiculous that situation is, and that whatever was in the back of that truck was more important than delivering thirty individuals across London by foot. If you waited for every vehicle doing A Daft Thing while walking across London, you wouldn't get anywhere. 

I'm well aware that London has just evolved and isn't designed. It is entirely dysfunctional because the way it has evolved is along roads that weren't designed for trucks cutting into hospitals across pavements.

Given your response to psling, I think you just don't like change. 'It's the way it is' is often a shit answer to a reasonable question.

 

* Assumption, but a reasonable one.

 

Avatar
STiG911 replied to davel | 7 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

1 Truck. Delivering 1 thing*. During rush hour. Across a pavement. Thirty* pedestrians just wait, because 'road'. Not even a proper road. A service road that cuts across a pavement. That isn't absurd?  And it's not about priority, it's about courtesy? What does that even mean? Some people just need to learn to wait? What?!

What would be scarier to me, is if everyone just waited like automotons, accepting how ridiculous that situation is, and that whatever was in the back of that truck was more important than delivering thirty individuals across London by foot. If you waited for every vehicle doing A Daft Thing while walking across London, you wouldn't get anywhere. 

I'm well aware that London has just evolved and isn't designed. It is entirely dysfunctional because the way it has evolved is along roads that weren't designed for trucks cutting into hospitals across pavements.

Given your response to psling, I think you just don't like change. 'It's the way it is' is often a shit answer to a reasonable question.

 

* Assumption, but a reasonable one.

 

Sorry - I was working under the hope that being reasonable to your fellow man in everyday life wasn't a hard ask. Clearly I was wrong.

Avatar
beezus fufoon replied to STiG911 | 7 years ago
0 likes
STiG911 wrote:
davel wrote:

1 Truck. Delivering 1 thing*. During rush hour. Across a pavement. Thirty* pedestrians just wait, because 'road'. Not even a proper road. A service road that cuts across a pavement. That isn't absurd?  And it's not about priority, it's about courtesy? What does that even mean? Some people just need to learn to wait? What?!

What would be scarier to me, is if everyone just waited like automotons, accepting how ridiculous that situation is, and that whatever was in the back of that truck was more important than delivering thirty individuals across London by foot. If you waited for every vehicle doing A Daft Thing while walking across London, you wouldn't get anywhere. 

I'm well aware that London has just evolved and isn't designed. It is entirely dysfunctional because the way it has evolved is along roads that weren't designed for trucks cutting into hospitals across pavements.

Given your response to psling, I think you just don't like change. 'It's the way it is' is often a shit answer to a reasonable question.

 

* Assumption, but a reasonable one.

 

Sorry - I was working under the hope that being reasonable to your fellow man in everyday life wasn't a hard ask. Clearly I was wrong.

My choice would be to walk around the front, away from the direction of movement and where the driver can see you.

Avatar
brooksby replied to beezus fufoon | 7 years ago
0 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:

My choice would be to walk around the front, away from the direction of movement and where the driver can see you.

TBH that's what I would too.  How far in front do you have to walk to make sure that the driver of an HGV has seen you...?

Pages

Latest Comments