‘Cycling should be the main mode of transport’: Mancunians have their say on controversial Highway Code changes

On Saturday, a series of new rules came into force on roads up and down the country.

The revamped Highway Code includes a new road user hierarchy with the aim of boosting protection for cyclists and pedestrians.

The eight main changes put forward by the Department for Transport will affect all road users and have been met with a mixed reception among Mancunians.

READ MORE: Drivers are calling for new Highway Code changes to be axed after two days

The rules include new road positioning for cyclists, where they can ride in the center of their lane on quieter roads and at least 0.5m from the pavement on busier roads, but further away if possible.

Cyclists will also be able to ride two abreast, rather than only in single-file, and this is encouraged, especially if accompanying less experienced riders, to improve visibility to motorists.

Motorists may not overtake cyclists on a roundabout in their line and must allow people cycling to move across their path, as they travel around the roundabout.

Drivers could also be penalized for communicating on their phone behind the wheel – even just touching their phones.

Some people have expressed fears about an increase in collisions

What are the new driving laws for 2022?

  • Highway Code update: pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists have priority
  • Stricter rules on mobile phone use in vehicles
  • Local councils could enforce minor traffic offenses instead of police
  • All motorists banned from parking on pavements
  • Speed ​​limiters from 6 July 2022
  • Five-year delay on new smart motorways
  • Driving licenses to be taken off drug users
  • Self-driving cars allowed on UK roads
  • New clean air zones: Manchester, Bradford and more in 2022
  • Electric car grant cut
  • Nurses to be able to determine if you’re fit to drive – rather than just doctors
  • New homes to have EV charging points fitted by law in 2022
  • Ban on red diesel and rebated biofuel

Mancunians react

While some Mancunians said they are fully behind the new changes, others have raised concerns about safety and whether drivers will even follow the guidance.

Terry and Doreen Rothwell, from Little Lever in Bolton, said they supported the changes but worried they could lead to more collisions on the roads.

“It’s a case of getting used to it, but people might get hit while we are getting used to them,” said Terry, 78.

The changes to the Highway Code are designed to give more protection to cyclists and pedestrians

“That’s the big worry.

“Sensitive drivers will be okay but it’s the extreme drivers who will not give way.

“Where we live, there’s a zebra crossing and people just ignore them.

“Pedestrians will still have to be the most vigilant. You’ve not got to assume a driver is going to stop.”

Tony Foxton, from Swinton, said he feared some drivers would not take the time to learn the new rules.

“It’s a completely different Highway Code to the one most of us started with,” the 66-year-old said.

“You’ve got to actually read it. You can’t just pick it up.

“People will just carry on as they did.

What do you think of the new rules? Have your say in our comments below

“It’s inconvenient for drivers, but they will just have to bear it in mind.

“I think giving pedestrians priority is a good thing in the long run in terms of safety.”

However, keen cyclist Alison Armstrong-Lee, from Burnage, says she has already noticed a difference in the behavior of drivers.

Keen cyclist Alison Armstrong-Lee

“I went out on Saturday and people seemed to be giving me a bit more space,” she said.

“I hope it will improve safety, but I think some people might just ignore them. It hasn’t made me any more cautious.

“My experience of cycling in Manchester has not been very good. It’s made me nervous.

“I’ve only just started training again it’s so it’s really good timing.”

Arlo, a cyclist and student at the University of Manchester, said that although he was not aware of the changes, he supported cyclists being prioritized.

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“I’m for it,” he said. “I cycle on the Curry Mile a lot and it’s horrendous.

“There’s a separate cycle lane but cars will wait in the lane as they are coming out of side roads to turn.

“Cycling in Manchester is okay. You just have to keep your wits about you.

“If the changes make it safer and encourage more people to cycle, it’s a good thing.

“Cycling should be the main mode of transport.”

Paula Evans

Paula Evans, from North Wales, said she worried that the new rules could end up making things more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

“I think people will carry on old habits,” she said.

“It might cause chaos in areas such as city centers.

“It’s all about trying to change the culture, which is going to be hard.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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