Transport minister Jesse Norman has confirmed today that the government plans to revise the Highway Code to highlight the danger of motorists overtaking cyclists too closely, and to encourage the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique to prevent cyclists being ‘doored’.
The move is among measures aimed at reducing casualties of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Cycling and walking minister Norman said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer still for all – and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
“Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality and town and city planning.
“But this will only happen if people feel safe on the roads.
“These measures are part of a steady process of improvement and reform designed to achieve just that.”
Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of Living Streets, said: “This is a major victory. When we walk our streets, we should not have to feel endangered by traffic.
“People walking and cycling do not cause road danger, congestion or toxic air levels, and yet they’re the ones who too often pay the price on our roads. Last year, there was a 5 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities - this cannot continue.
“A revision to update the Highway Code is needed to make people walking and cycling feel safer, and to encourage more people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel.”
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK commented: “Close overtakes and people opening car doors in front of cyclists are not only dangerous, they also put people off riding a bike.
“That’s why Cycling UK has been campaigning for changes to the Highway Code rules for many years, to make the requirements to give enough space when overtaking a cyclist, wait if you can’t, and look before you open your car door crystal clear.
“We’re delighted the government has listened and we hope to contribute to the discussions regarding the amendments required to prioritise the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users,” he added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.