‘Look carefully’: Drivers warned when approaching junctions under new Highway Code rules

Highway Code changes slammed by Steve McNamara

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The Highway Code was updated at the end of January to enhance safety for all road users, particularly those who are most at risk, as the Government continues to build back safer. Under the changes, a new “hierarchy of road users” was created to ensure quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

Drivers are advised to give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.

As a guide, drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking motorcyclists at speeds of up to 30mph.

The Highway Code also warns motorists to “take care and give more space” when overtaking motorcyclists in bad weather and at night.

A spokesperson for GEM Motoring Assist encouraged drivers to take extra care at junctions, in an attempt to reduce collisions with motorcyclists.

They said: “Around six motorcyclists are killed and another 115 seriously injured every day in collisions every week.

“One of the most common contributory factors remains the observation error which some years ago picked up the nickname ‘SMIDSY’ (sorry mate, I didn’t see you).

“Experts point out that as drivers we’re not very good at identifying motorcyclists because they occupy such a small part of our field of vision.

“What’s more, if we’re not expecting to see one, then the chance of spotting one coming towards us is further reduced, and the risk of a collision is greatly increased.

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“As Spring arrives and the weather improves, many roads will become busier with weekend riders, so let’s make a point of looking out for them. 

“In doing so, we will be greatly reducing risk, and contributing to safer journeys for everyone.

“So before pulling out of junctions, look carefully all around.

“Make a specific check for motorcyclists coming towards you. 

“They’re not always easy to spot – but if you’re expecting them to be there, then you’re far more likely to see them in good time… and prevent a potentially serious collision.”

Drivers should also wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances. 

Motorcyclists are addressed in the Highway Code, with riders being advised to make themselves as visible as possible.

This could be in the form of wearing a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips.

The Government initially announced the details of the incoming updates to The Highway Code last summer.

This followed a public consultation where nearly 21,000 people submitted their views, with the majority supporting every single one of the changes.

The THINK! road safety campaign will soon launch a communications drive, backed by over £500,000 in funding, raising awareness of the changes and ensuring road-users across the country understand their responsibilities.

The campaign is expected to run across radio and social media channels, with further campaign activity to follow later in the summer.

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