‘I tested out new Highway Code rules – and most drivers failed to stop for pedestrians’

New Highway Code rules were introduced in January that have given priority to pedestrians and cyclists in certain situations – but one test has shown little has changed

LeicestershireLive reporter Corey Bedford tests drivers on the rule changes
Leicestershire Live reporter Corey Bedford tested drivers on the rule changes

Drivers appear to have given little heed to new Highway Code rules laid out in January that have shaken-up who has priority on the roads, after it was tried out by a pedestrian in Leicester.

One of the highlighted alterations has been for drivers to give priority in certain situations to pedestrians or cyclists, reported Leicestershire Live.

Traffic now has to cede the right of way to pedestrians who are, or who are about to begin, crossing at a junction.

The changes have been controversial with claims it will encourage pedestrians to walk into the road recklessly and lead to an increase in collisions.

The reporter found it to be a dangerous exercise with many vehicles paying no attention to the new rules


Leicester Mercury / Chris Gordon)

But others say the new rules will encourage motorists to be more aware of pedestrians crossing the road.

Clearly on one busy road in Leicester there was little change when a Leicester Live reporter went to see on Narborough Road whether drivers would give way to him at two junctions.

Choosing Harrow Road and Gaul Street he would look to cross the road as a car was indicating to turn into it and see if they stopped to let me proceed.

The rules state that in certain situations, vehicles should give pedestrians the right of way


Leicester Mercury / Chris Gordon)

But during a period of 40 minutes at the two junctions, only one driver spotted him and let him cross before they turned in.

The rest (10 cars and vans in total) all drove into the junction without stopping.

It turned into a dangerous exercise with vehicles not giving way and forcing the reporter to run to avoid being hit.

The exercise suggests that there has been little change despite the introduction of the new Highway Code with people either unaware of the alterations or choosing to ignore them.

The rules at this stage are still advisory



It would seem to be dangerous at this stage for pedestrians to simply walk out in front of traffic even if they do have the right of way.

In total, nine sections of the Highway Code have been updated, with 50 rules added or amended. The changes are advisory at this time, so non-compliance will not result in a fine.

When it comes to crossing the road at junctions, there have been three amendments made to the Highway Code.

As reported on the government website the new rules state:

  • When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way.
  • If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way.
  • People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing.

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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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