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Campaigners hail move that will protect vulnerable road users

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.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.