Highway Code changes cause confusion as cyclists rule the roads

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The updated Highway Code came into force giving pedestrians and ridersgreater protection from traffic on Britain’s roads. However, road safety experts fear millions of drivers are unaware of the changes and say they could cause more accidents than they solve unless they are better communicated.

The new code introduces a hierarchy of road users, meaning someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse. Cyclists, in turn, will have greater responsibility for pedestrian safety.

And traffic will now have to give way when pedestrians are crossing or waiting to cross at junctions.

AA president Edmund King fears this will result in drivers being “likely to get hit by another vehicle from behind” if they stop on dual carriageways or fast-flowing

A roads to let someone cross. He warned pedestrians could be put in danger if one vehicle gives way but another travelling in the opposite direction fails to stop.

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Mr King said: “Drivers will have to make their own judgments on what they should do in the scenarios they find themselves in.

“If the judgments of the driver and the pedestrian are at odds on a very busy road, this could lead to problems.”

Cyclists, meanwhile, are advised to ride in the centre of lanes on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and when approaching junctions – to make them- selves as visible as possible. The changes are advisory, so non-compliance will not result in a fine.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Nobody wants to be on the right side of the Highway Code changes but in the back of an ambulance because of confusion on the part of a driver or any other road user.”

But roads minister Baroness Vere said the new rules will encourage people to “respect and consider the needs of those around them”.

An AA survey of 13,700 drivers earlier this month found 33 per cent were unaware of the changes and four per cent had “no intention” of looking at the details.

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