Ignorance of rules could land motorists with fine as Government launches road safety campaign

In 2022, the Highway Code changed to prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users but there is concern that many drivers are still unaware.
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The changes applied to drivers and their behaviour towards vulnerable road users. But charities like the British Horse Society, Living Streets and Cycling UK have expressed concerns that drivers are not aware of the new changes. In response to this, the government has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the 2022 Highway Code changes.

It comes as government data reveals a total of 35,551 pedestrians and cyclists were either killed or injured on the road in 2022.

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The ‘travel like you know them’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the changes. It gives an insight to the lives of other road users, like pedestrians and cyclists.

Many motorists are unaware of new road rulesMany motorists are unaware of new road rules
Many motorists are unaware of new road rules

The 2022 changes state that drivers should give priority at junctions to people cycling straight ahead and people who are waiting, or already crossing the road. They should pass horses and riders at under 20 mph and give at least 2 metres of space Motorists should leave 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph. You should give more space when you’re overtaking at higher speeds. Cyclists can ride two abreast or in the centre of the lane if it’s safe to do this. They can move into single file to allow vehicles to overtake.

The campaign asks drivers to respect other vulnerable road users and treat them as if they were a friend or family member. It was welcomed by Antony Kildare, Chief Executive at IAM RoadSmart, who said: “Since the new Highway Code changes were rolled out, there has been further need of an educational campaign to ensure the amendments are disseminated and fully adopted.”

The campaign was also welcomed by Cycling UK chief executive Sarah Mitchell, who said: “

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“The Travel Like You Know Them campaign challenges the false binaries that people are either motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, when the reality is most of us are a combination of all three.

“It breaks down tribal mentality that can stoke tension on our roads, making them more dangerous for us all. It should be applauded and Cycling UK is pleased to see the government continue to highlight the important Highway Code changes designed to make cycling and walking safer.”

Horse riders are also considered to be vulnerable road users. The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign showed 3,552 road accidents involving horses were reported last year, in which 68 horses died and 125 were injured due to motorists.

Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the British Horse Society, said: “Horses are still being killed and injured on our roads, riders continue to be seriously injured and too many drivers underestimate the importance of driving carefully around horses. Our fear is that guidelines aren’t being clearly explained and delivered, this needs to change. Urgent action is required to make every road user aware of the Highway Code changes and, critically, why it’s so important to pass horses with care. Only through working collaboratively to educate and drive awareness will we be able to stop these awful incidents from happening over and over again.”

Not knowing the Highway Code could be used against you if you have an accident and it's found to be your fault.

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