The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a new version of The Highway Code will be published in the autumn of 2021 as part of a £338 million package to fuel active travel, announced on July 30.
Changes will include:
• A hierarchy of road users – so users who do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.
• A strengthened pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road.
• Guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.
The changes to The Highway Code, infrastructure upgrades, and new requirements to ensure that active travel schemes’ effects are properly assessed are among the range of measures included in a new Summer of Cycling and Walking document.
As the UK prepares to host COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, later this year, DfT says these initiatives will be key to the Government’s drive to build back greener from the pandemic and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
In addition, independent opinion polling and new research published by the DfT shows that active travel schemes are supported, on average, by a ratio of two-to-one.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps explained: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment.
“As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.
“This £338m package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener”.
This announcement aims to build on the Prime Minister’s £2 billion Gear Change Cycling and Walking Programme, which was announced in 2020.
The Government aims to make cycling safer, easier, and more accessible through a new scheme aiming to increase awareness of e-cycles and tackle barriers to their use.
An e-cycle support programme comes later this year in addition to existing funding to help nine local authorities deliver e-cycle initiatives.
The Government has also announced today that the new Active Travel England (ATE) commissioning body, which will hold the national cycling and walking budget, will begin work later this year.