Edinburgh cyclists celebrate changes to Highway Code making roads safer for vulnerable users

A group of Edinburgh cyclists are planning a ride at the end of the month to celebrate and raise awareness of the Highway Code changing and becoming more cyclist-friendly.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 1:59 pm

The changes, coming into force on January 29, represent a fundamental shift in favour of pedestrians and cyclists by placing the burden of responsibility on the person in the larger vehicle.

The new hierarchy will place pedestrians at the top, then cyclists, horse-riders and motorcyclists, all the way down to the drivers of larger vehicles such as HGVs, which have the greatest capacity to do harm.

The celebratory ride is organised by Edinburgh Critical Mass, a group whose monthly rides have grown to include hundreds of riders over the past two years.

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The regular cycles have become a well-known sight in the city with riders travelling in convoy on the roads to enjoy a feeling a safety in numbers.

It will start at Middle Meadow Walk at 2pm on January 29 and arrive at Bristo Square at 3pm.

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One cyclist, Aaron McFaull, said: “This change to the highway code is long overdue and brings a degree of confidence to vulnerable road-users. Finally common sense is reflected in the law, especially with respect to the burden of responsibility being on cars.

Edinburgh cyclists celebrate changes to Highway Code making roads safer for vulnerable users. (Picture credit: David Greer)

“The new highway code will not however bring about safe cycling by itself and Edinburgh Council needs to implement safe, segregated cycle lanes”

Another rider, George Williamson, said that the update feels like a “long awaited move in the right direction” adding that every change makes cycling a more viable option for more people.

The code will now state rules such as drivers at a junction should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road they are turning into, and cyclists should give way to pedestrians who are using shared-used tracks.

Edinburgh cyclists celebrate changes to Highway Code making roads safer for vulnerable users. (Picture credit: David Greer)

It also says that drivers should not cut across cyclists going ahead when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, and that drivers of large passenger vehicles and HGVs now have ‘the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger posed to other road users’.

It is hoped that the changes to the Highway Code will encourage more cyclists to use the roads, helping Scotland hit its target of becoming net zero by 2045.

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