Fear that new road safety rules could put cyclists in danger

Cyclist Derek Williams.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Cyclist Derek Williams says the new highway code rules need to be publicised to increase awareness. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Unexpected changes to road safety laws has caused alarm among cyclists who fear a lack of awareness of the rules could put them in danger. 

The Highway Code announced last year that cyclists will now be asked to cycle in the middle of lanes instead of towards the kerb in some situations. 

The rules came into effect on January 29 - but few are aware of the adaptations according to experts.

Cyclist Derek Williams.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Cyclist Derek Williams. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Derek Williams, spokesman for the Norwich cycling campaign, said: "The most important thing is awareness to the changes.

"I have noticed the news has taken a lot of drivers by surprise.

"Things need to be made clear and it has to be publicised, otherwise the behaviours these new rules hope to establish from drivers won't come as quickly as they would if more attention was brought to them."

One of the main points of contention is that cyclists will be asked to stay in a central position on the road if obstructions come into view. 

Most Read

Mr Williams added: "It's always been advised for cyclists to maintain their position in the road.

"The trouble comes when there is a constriction in the road or you approach a blind bend.

"You're likely to still be passed by more impatient drivers, even if there's not enough room to do it and that can be very dangerous."

He believes the new rule "should help this issue and cause drivers to take more time over-taking cyclists" but a lack of awareness could see things get worse before they get better.

But on the whole he hopes the changes will allow those on two wheels to have safer travels around the city,

Mr Williams added: "Overall the changes are good and I hope that they will establish a new normal.

"At the end of the day, drivers have a greater responsibility than anybody else on the road and while the vast majority of drivers are sensitive, considerate and know what they're doing.

"There are still a small number of people who put everyone else in danger."

What else is new with the highway code?

Here are some more changes which were introduced on January 29, which pedestrians and drivers alike need to know.

People crossing the road at junctions: Where pedestrians looking to cross the road would have to give way to vehicles turning, it is now drivers who have to give way, before making their turn.

Overtaking when driving or cycling: There is updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking.

People cycling at junctions: The code has been updated so that when turning into or out of a side road, people cycling should give way to people walking who are crossing or waiting to cross.

Parking and leaving vehicles: Motorists have been encouraged to use the 'Dutch Reach' whereby they open their doors with the opposite hands, meaning they automatically look over their shoulder more.

To view the full list of updates to the highway code, they can be found on the government website.