New rules are due to come into place in January to give cyclists, horse-riders and pedestrians more protection on the roads.
Changes are being made to the Highway Code which will make it law for motorists to treat these groups with more consideration than they currently do.
They include guidelines on what motorists should do when overtaking cyclists and horse riders, and also giving cyclists and pedestrians priority at some junctions.
The changes have come about after years of campaigning by cycling, pedestrian and horse-riding groups.
They are expected to be welcomed in areas, which has lots of country roads popular with horse-riders, cyclists and walkers.
Documents are now before Parliament which, all being well, they will become law and added to the Highway Code in January 2022.
The new rules will establish a “hierarchy of road users” with those most likely to be injured in the event of a collision at the top. These are: pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists; with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.
Under the new requirements of the Highway Code, drivers are banned from:
– Cutting across cyclists, horse-riders or horse-drawn vehicles at junctions.
– Turning at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist or horse-rider to stop or swerve.
– Doing anything that would risk a collision with a cyclist.
They must also:
– Give cyclists, horse-riders and pedestrians as much room as a car when overtaking, which is 1.5 metres for cyclists, 2 metres for horses .
– Drive under 10mph when passing horses and under 30mph when going past cyclists.
– When passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road (where there is no pavement) at least 2 metres berth should be given and speed should be dropped to “low”.
The new rules were drawn up during a long consultation earlier this year, which included the Department of Transport (DoT) liaising with campaign groups, asking for their views.
They are now before the House of Commons and House of Lords and will be scrutinised by MPs and peers and – provided they are passed – will be added to the Highway Code after 40 parliamentary days.
One of the groups which has helped shape the new legislation is Cycling UK.
Its head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, said: “These amendments bring not just much-needed clarity on key areas of reducing danger on our roads, such as safe overtaking distances of people walking, cycling or horse riding, but also through the new ‘hierarchy of road users’,
“It enshrines in law the need for those who present the most risk on our roads to look out for those who are the most vulnerable. This can only make the roads safer for everyone.