10 June 2007

Highway code changes, part II

Unprompted (never did follow up initial rejection with him) my MP (D Chaytor, Bury North) has recently written with this:

Dear Mr Solis,

I am writing with reference to our previous correspondence regarding your concerns over changes to the Highway Code with regard to cycle lanes.

I have received a letter from Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister of State in the Department for Transport regarding this matter, a copy of which is attached for your information. I hope this information will help to relieve your concerns on the issue.

Thank you for contacting me on this matter. If you would like to discuss the matter in more detail I would be happy to meet you at one of my regular advice surgeries in either Bury or Ramsbottom. If you would find this helpful please contact my assistant in Bury on 0161 764 2023 to arrange an appointment.

Yours sincerely,

David Chaytor MP"

The files Mr Chaytor attached show that someone, somewhere, has seen sense - perhaps the online petition and other types of soft pressure have had an effect:

Department for
Andrew Colski
Vulnerable Road Users Branch
Road User Safety Division
Department for Transport
Zone 2/13
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SWIP 4DR

Tel: 020 7944 2057
Fax: 020 7944 9618
E-Mail: andrew.colski@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Web site: www.dft.gov.uk

Our Ref: RSS26/1/2

31 MAY2007



In February 2006 we issued a draft of proposed revisions to the Highway Code for public consultation, which closed on 15 May 2006. Over 4,000 people offered a total of almost 27,000 comments.

Taking account of these comments, a new draft version of the Highway Code was laid before Parliament on 28 March 2007. A large number of responses to the consultation concerned the rules on cycling and more than 40 amendments were made to these and other rules to take account of comments from cyclists. However, since the Code was laid before Parliament, further representations have been made by cyclists who remain concerned that the revised text of rules 61 and 63 on cycle facilities and cycle lanes is insufficiently clear.

Proposed change

Having considered these further representations carefully, we believe that there is merit in amending and expanding rules 61 and 63, so as to remove any possible doubt about their meaning. We are therefore now proposing to include revised versions of rules 61 and 63. We have discussed these changes informally with CTC, the cyclists’ organisation. The proposed revised versions are as follows:­
61 Cycle Facilities. Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.

63 Cycle Lanes. These are marked by a white line (which may be broken) along the carriageway (see Rule 140). When using a cycle lane, keep within the lane when practicable. When leaving a cycle lane check before pulling out that it is safe to do so and signal your intention clearly to other road users. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.

These changes make clearer the position regarding the advice in the Code on the use of cycle facilities and cycle lanes. The purpose of the Code is to help cyclists and all other road users to use the roads as safely as possible. It does so in two ways. It explains the law and it provides advice and guidance on safe behaviour in areas not covered by legislation.

Rules 61 and 63 are part of the advice and guidance and do not set out legal requirements, which, as explained in the Introduction to the Code, are indicated by the words MUST or MUST NOT. The revised wording for rules 61 and 63 makes it clearer that use of cycle facilities and cycle lanes is not compulsory and that these rules do not introduce any legal requirements.

Cycle facilities and cycle lanes are provided to help cyclists. Cyclists are entitled to use their experience and judgment in deciding when to use cycle facilities and cycle lanes. The proposed changes also make this clearer.