Highway Code

Swango1980

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Anybody had any opinions / issues with the Highway Code changes? I didn't really have any. It all seemed fairly logical, and just established how a responsible driver would have driven previously anyway. However, a work colleague was talking about it today, and did point out one change that potentially seems a little worrying? Specifically the update that says: "when people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way"

If you are a driver at a junction, and turning into a junction, a pedestrian wanting to cross has priority. Now, I understand that if the pedestrian is already on the road, otherwise the driver would just knock them down, clearly far from ideal. However, if a pedestrian is waiting to cross, the driver is meant to give-way and let them cross. Almost like they are at a zebra crossing. As a driver, I'd be a little, or very nervous about this. Especially if I was turning left off a high speed road. Would the driver behind me, going 60mph and ready to accelerate as I get out of the way, expect me to stop in front of them? If they smash into the back of me, they may be liable but I don't think that would offer me much comfort. Does the same apply if a driver is turning right off the main road, and then has to stop for a ped, thus leaving them sitting across the main carriageway for oncoming traffic to smash into? Also, if peds have priority, how far from the junction does this priority cease to exist, 5m, 10m, 20m, 50m, etc?

As a driver, if I see a ped waiting to cross as a junction I'm about to turn into, my instinct is certainly not to stop unless there is something physically on the road. And, as a pedestrian, my instinct is not to cross, but to wait until clear (I think I'd be a bit uncomfortable if a car stopped, and I'd signal them to go on to be honest). As a pedestrian, is anyone likely to just walk into the middle of the junction as they expect priority, or at least wait to see if the car stops, but expect it to do so?
 

SocketRocket

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Anybody had any opinions / issues with the Highway Code changes? I didn't really have any. It all seemed fairly logical, and just established how a responsible driver would have driven previously anyway. However, a work colleague was talking about it today, and did point out one change that potentially seems a little worrying? Specifically the update that says: "when people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way"

If you are a driver at a junction, and turning into a junction, a pedestrian wanting to cross has priority. Now, I understand that if the pedestrian is already on the road, otherwise the driver would just knock them down, clearly far from ideal. However, if a pedestrian is waiting to cross, the driver is meant to give-way and let them cross. Almost like they are at a zebra crossing. As a driver, I'd be a little, or very nervous about this. Especially if I was turning left off a high speed road. Would the driver behind me, going 60mph and ready to accelerate as I get out of the way, expect me to stop in front of them? If they smash into the back of me, they may be liable but I don't think that would offer me much comfort. Does the same apply if a driver is turning right off the main road, and then has to stop for a ped, thus leaving them sitting across the main carriageway for oncoming traffic to smash into? Also, if peds have priority, how far from the junction does this priority cease to exist, 5m, 10m, 20m, 50m, etc?

As a driver, if I see a ped waiting to cross as a junction I'm about to turn into, my instinct is certainly not to stop unless there is something physically on the road. And, as a pedestrian, my instinct is not to cross, but to wait until clear (I think I'd be a bit uncomfortable if a car stopped, and I'd signal them to go on to be honest). As a pedestrian, is anyone likely to just walk into the middle of the junction as they expect priority, or at least wait to see if the car stops, but expect it to do so?
I agree.
 

Imurg

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The key word in the HC rule is "should" not "must" allow the pedestrian to cross....
If it's not appropriate..for example there may be cars directly behind you...then you would be right to not stop.
But if it is appropriate then you give way.
My personal, professional opinion...?
It's bollocks.... it's going to be carnage.
It's too grey, too vague.
Something like this needs to be black and white..like it was before.
Pedestrian on the kerb - carry on.
Pedestrian on the road - give way.
Why change something that isn't broken?
There are going to be crashes, injuries and possibly deaths...
I think it should be repealed now.
 

RichA

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If somebody smashes into the back of you while you're legally stationary, letting a pedestrian legally cross the road, they've broken the law and they will be liable for funeral / medical costs. Simple.
 

Foxholer

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If somebody smashes into the back of you while you're legally stationary, letting a pedestrian legally cross the road, they've broken the law and they will be liable for funeral / medical costs. Simple.
Hardly comforting to know! There'll also be quite a few rear-end shunts on folk preparing to stop to allow a pedestrian cross too imo.
Better to have more designated pedestrian crossings imo.
 

Swango1980

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If somebody smashes into the back of you while you're legally stationary, letting a pedestrian legally cross the road, they've broken the law and they will be liable for funeral / medical costs. Simple.
:) I'm sure the family will have big grins on their faces as they sit at an all expenses paid funeral
 

Swango1980

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The key word in the HC rule is "should" not "must" allow the pedestrian to cross....
If it's not appropriate..for example there may be cars directly behind you...then you would be right to not stop.
But if it is appropriate then you give way.
My personal, professional opinion...?
It's bollocks.... it's going to be carnage.
It's too grey, too vague.
Something like this needs to be black and white..like it was before.
Pedestrian on the kerb - carry on.
Pedestrian on the road - give way.
Why change something that isn't broken?
There are going to be crashes, injuries and possibly deaths...
I think it should be repealed now.
I liked your "professional opinion"

The reason it came up was that my colleague said "i was crossing the road by the junction this morning during my run, and a car didn't stop for me, so I gave him the finger (bit politer than that, but that sort of gesture to the driver). I then went and talked to another girl, and she says cars never stop for her when she wants to cross the main road". Now, as a driver he said he wouldn't stop, but his point was that he expected traffic to stop due to the Highway Code changes, if drivers stuck to them rigidly. That's when we went on to discuss stopping just as we pull off a 60mph road, good luck. Like you said, if a car was fast approaching behind me, I definitely wouldn't stop, I just hope the pedestrian knows that.

So yes, it seems carnage to me, and I'm trying to think what was the big safety implication previously? I don't work in road safety, so I can only assume this specific issue was changed because there was more danger previously.
 

Cake

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So yes, it seems carnage to me, and I'm trying to think what was the big safety implication previously? I don't work in road safety, so I can only assume this specific issue was changed because there was more danger previously.

My assumption for the changes where the hierarchy of deferring to road users/pedestrians who are more at risk than yourself, are really just building a rule set for autonomous vehicles to adhere to in the future… I reckon once a lot of people realise that autonomous vehicles will have to stop, that a lot of people will cross roads wherever/whenever is convenient for them, so the Highway Code has been updated to reflect that now. Maybe that will mean that the transition period where we have human drivers still in the mix will go smoother?

The change I can’t get my head around, and I say this as a cyclist, is when turning left having to give priority to a cyclist that has undertaken and is going straight on… I get that if this situation happens then it will help protect the cyclist, but in my opinion the rule shouldn’t allow passing traffic on the left, as that just puts the cyclist in a dangerous place full stop.

My emboldening below:
“Rule 76
Going straight ahead. If you are going straight ahead at a junction, you have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of the side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise (see Rule H3). Check that you can proceed safely, particularly when approaching junctions on the left alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic. Watch out for drivers intending to turn across your path. Remember the driver ahead may not be able to see you, so bear in mind your speed and position in the road.”
 

Swango1980

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My assumption for the changes where the hierarchy of deferring to road users/pedestrians who are more at risk than yourself, are really just building a rule set for autonomous vehicles to adhere to in the future… I reckon once a lot of people realise that autonomous vehicles will have to stop, that a lot of people will cross roads wherever/whenever is convenient for them, so the Highway Code has been updated to reflect that now. Maybe that will mean that the transition period where we have human drivers still in the mix will go smoother?

The change I can’t get my head around, and I say this as a cyclist, is when turning left having to give priority to a cyclist that has undertaken and is going straight on… I get that if this situation happens then it will help protect the cyclist, but in my opinion the rule shouldn’t allow passing traffic on the left, as that just puts the cyclist in a dangerous place full stop.

My emboldening below:
“Rule 76
Going straight ahead. If you are going straight ahead at a junction, you have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of the side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise (see Rule H3). Check that you can proceed safely, particularly when approaching junctions on the left alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic. Watch out for drivers intending to turn across your path. Remember the driver ahead may not be able to see you, so bear in mind your speed and position in the road.”
I understand the rule in a sense, as you almost want to enforce that the turning driver must yield to the undertaking driver (who would inevitably be a cyclist), as there have been many horrific accidents of cyclists getting killed after an HGV turned into them. Although, if something goes wrong and the driver does turn into them, does that make them liable (more so than before), or can they defend themselves if they simply did not see the cyclist, who may well have come flying up the inside?

Practically, you just want to tell all cyclists NOT to undertake vehicles as they approach a junction turning left. Which the second part of that Rule 76 appears to be edging towards.
 

RichA

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I'm not pretending to be super-virtuous, because I'm not, but do people not let pedestrians cross already in these kind of situations?
Maybe it's a non-city dwelling thing.
 

Swango1980

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I'm not pretending to be super-virtuous, because I'm not, but do people not let pedestrians cross already in these kind of situations?
Maybe it's a non-city dwelling thing.
I certainly do if they are already on the road, but not if they are on the footway. As a pedestrian, I always wait for traffic to clear the junction, I'd never expect them to stop for me.

Note, from time to time, if it is very busy, slow moving traffic and a ped is trying to cross, I would consider stopping to let them cross, simply out of courtesy and knowing someone will have to allow it otherwise they'd never get across. But that is different than demanding it of the driver for all circumstances.
 

Backache

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As someone who spent the best part of 20 years investigating fatalities on the roads I, too, am very uncomfortable with this element of the changes. Vulnerable road users can’t be relieved of all their responsibilities entirely.
I'm not sure that it's removing responsibilities from vulnerable road users to look after themselves, more putting an additional onus on less vulnerable road users to look after others.
Personally I never step onto zebra crossings unless it's clear to me that a driver has seen me and is significantly slowing.
 

jim8flog

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I took my driving test back in the 70s when it was a requirement to read and know the highway code and you were tested on it.
My memory says back then pedestrians had the right of way at junctions and I did not know it had been removed at some time.
 

Swango1980

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I took my driving test back in the 70s when it was a requirement to read and know the highway code and you were tested on it.
My memory says back then pedestrians had the right of way at junctions and I did not know it had been removed at some time.
I did mine in the 90's. Certainly less vulnerable road users had priority whilst on the live carriageway, to stop you mowing them over. But, I never remember being taught they have priority when on the footway, just had to be aware of it in case they jumped out on you. Only time I was told I should stop for them was at a zebra crossing.
 

Billysboots

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I'm not sure that it's removing responsibilities from vulnerable road users to look after themselves, more putting an additional onus on less vulnerable road users to look after others.
Personally I never step onto zebra crossings unless it's clear to me that a driver has seen me and is significantly slowing.

The problem is that not everyone will think like that.
 

Jamesbrown

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I'm not sure that it's removing responsibilities from vulnerable road users to look after themselves, more putting an additional onus on less vulnerable road users to look after others.
Personally I never step onto zebra crossings unless it's clear to me that a driver has seen me and is significantly slowing.

I avoid traffic lights or not press the button never mind zebra crossings. I tend to just use a normal bit of road and look and cross safely of my own volition. Motor vehicles should always have right of way being the majority, fastest and slowest to stop.
 
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