GB News: Panel debate Highway Code changes
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Peter Lorence, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, has warned drivers “may not be aware” of the driving law changes, leading to massive risks for some. New Highway Code changes will see a whole range of new rules come into effect from January 29.
One of these is a new rule giving extra priority to pedestrians at junctions.
However, there are fears pedestrians may “assert their rights” and simply step into the road even if it is unsafe.
Mr Lorence has urged for “all road users to be aware of the new rules” to ensure accidents can be avoided.
He said: “One change that should be highlighted in particular is pedestrian priorities at junctions.
“Currently, road users should only give way to pedestrians who have started to cross the road into which they are turning.
“The new Rule H2 of the revised code provides for priority to be given to pedestrians who are waiting to cross the road as well.
“Therefore, if you are looking to turn into a road and a pedestrian is waiting to cross, you are expected to give way.
“We’re concerned that this significant change poses risks to pedestrians who may assert their rights under the new rules, yet drivers may not be aware of this change.
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“It is therefore important for all road users to be aware of the new rules, to ensure everyone’s safety and understanding.”
The plans to issue further pedestrian priorities were massively supported in a Government consultation.
A total of 74.80 percent of respondents agreed the proposals were a good idea.
Meanwhile, just 20 percent of road users disagreed with the new updates.
Respondents were concerned the new rule would “put the onus on drivers to predict pedestrian behaviour”.
They warned in some cases the pedestrian may have “no intention” of even crossing, leading to confusion.
Further disagreements suggested the new rule could create a “false sense of security” that may put pedestrians at risk.
Others have warned the wording of the new rule needs to emphasise pedestrians should be aware of their own personal responsibility and not put this solely on the drivers.
Michael Gambin, approved driving instructor, has also issued a warning around the new rules changes,
He said the updates mean pedestrians were “top of the pyramid” with the highest priority under the updates.
He said: “So the way I am going to be calling it to my clients is ‘light is right’.
“The smaller the vehicle or the person, the more priority they have.
“What that basically means is you have pedestrians at the top of the pyramid, followed by cyclists, then horses, then motorcyclists, cars, vans, trucks, coaches, things like that.”
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