Highway Code to put pedestrians at the top of 'road user hierarchy'

30 July 2021, 07:20 | Updated: 30 July 2021, 13:01

Pedestrians will take priority in the revised Highway Code.
Pedestrians will take priority in the revised Highway Code. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Highway Code is set to put pedestrians at the top of a "road user hierarchy" in proposed changes to the system, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

The proposals - expected to receive parliamentary approval in the autumn - include giving pedestrians priority at zebra crossings and junctions as well as raising further awareness about the dangers of speeding.

Increased funding will be invested in infrastructure upgrades too, such as the addition of hundreds of miles of cycle lanes, the Department for Transport (DfT) revealed.

The £338 million package is an attempt by the government to boost cycling and walking across the country.

The "hierarchy of road users" will put the responsibility on people using forms of transport that can do the greatest harm, such as those in vehicles, to "reduce the danger they may pose to others".

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The DfT is encouraging more sustainable travel for people across the country.
The DfT is encouraging more sustainable travel for people across the country. Picture: Alamy

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps encouraged people to choose sustainable travel in a bid to "build back greener".

"Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment," he said.

"As we build back greener from the pandemic, we're determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

"This £338 million package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener."

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Walking charity Living Streets welcomed the government's proposals.

"The Highway Code currently treats children walking to school and lorry drivers as if they are equally responsible for their own or other people's safety," Stephen Edwards, interim chief executive at Living Streets, said.

"These changes will redress that balance.

"People walking cause the least road danger but are often left paying the price.

"Road users who have potential to cause the greatest harm should take the greatest share of responsibility to reduce the danger they pose.

"Whether we choose to also drive or cycle, we are all pedestrians. These proposed revisions will benefit us all."