GMB: Mike Graham slams new Highway Code cyclist rules
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January saw extreme weather with most of the UK seeing temperatures drop far below freezing, with many areas of the country dealing with snow and ice. The Met Office issued a number of yellow weather warnings, pointing out how many drivers may experience trouble on the roads and to take necessary precautions to ensure they are safe.
Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driver Training, warned drivers to remain safe when out on the roads, especially around more vulnerable road users.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “With the arctic weather comes dangerous driving conditions.
“The icy conditions have caused concern for divers over the last month, highlighting the importance of safe driving during winter months.
“Allow plenty of time for your journey; it is harder to see in the dark, so people naturally drive slower and take more time to get from A to B.
“If it’s a cold night, allow time before setting off to de-ice your vehicle thoroughly and ensure your car engine is warmed up for optimal driving.
“During the drive, reducing speed and increasing the gap between other vehicles means there will be more time to react to unpredictable situations.”
Major Highway Code changes were introduced in January 2022, which outlined new rules for all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
It laid out a new “hierarchy of road users” which ensures that quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.
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Cyclists were given fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.
They were also reminded they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children.
However, they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.
Mr Goldin added: “As research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents shows, 40 percent of accidents occur in the dark, so during the dark winter months, it’s crucial you remain hypervigilant and slow down.
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“This will also give more space to motorcyclists and cyclists who are more vulnerable in winter weather conditions such as rain.”
At the start of the year, the Government announced it would be investing £32.9million to encourage people to take up healthy habits in the new year and use their cars less.
This will local authorities to develop thousands of well-thought-through local walking and cycling schemes, co-created by the communities who will use them.
The investment will help local authorities in England design, develop and consult on high-quality active travel schemes that work for residents and consider the local road network.
These can include new school safety zones to encourage active travel, improved walking and cycling infrastructure on local high streets as well as new cycle and wheelchair paths.
Jesse Norman, Active Travel Minister, praised the investment, saying it will help walking and cycling become an “attractive choice” for many people.
The MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said: “Leaving the car and walking and cycling instead is an easy way to get fit, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.”
The measures aim to get more people of all groups walking and cycling and help to address the barriers that exist.
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