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Highway Code updated – Motorcyclists ‘ignored’ says NMC

The UK Government is to change Highway Code advice to favour walkers and cyclists as part of a £338 million package to boost the boom in active travel.

“The more vulnerable you are as a road user, the more priority you will have on the road system,” said Secretary of State Grant Shapps when interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. The changes see a ‘hierarchy of road users’ classed according to the damage they can to do others: pedestrians are at the top, followed by cyclists and horse riders.

However, little mention was made of motorcycle and scooter riders, despite this group being more vulnerable road users than car, van and HGV drivers.

“The BMF have pushed the inclusion of motorcycling, as a priority,” said BMF Chair Jim Freeman, “in both the Highway code revision and In the Welcome Roads initiative. That politicians wilfully ignore over a million road users is both ridiculous and deserves to be appropriately rewarded at the ballot box. As part of the NMC, and alone, we will continue to promote, protect and preserve, the rights & interests of British motorcyclists. Join us in our struggle. ”

Craig Carey-Clinch of the National Motorcyclist Council agreed: “The NMC is disappointed that once again the Government launches a major announcement on transport policy, which ignores motorcycling. The new Highway Code seems set to focus on cycling and walking doing little to address motorcyclists’ vulnerability.”

The £338 million of funding for active travel (walking and cycling) will be used to build new cycle lanes. There don’t appear to be any radical changes of priorities at junctions, though drivers will be advised to give way to cyclists on cycle lanes, treating them as though they were a motor vehicle.

There is a recognition in the updated Highway Code of motorcyclists’ vulnerability when being overtaken by a car, with minimum passing distances specified.

Drivers are also urged to take care overtaking powered two-wheelers in bad weather, high winds or at night, something that could be useful for moped riders.

National Motorcyclists Council members are: The Auto Cycle Union, the British Motorcyclists Federation, IAM RoadSmart, the Motorcycle Action Group and the Trail Riders Fellowship.

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top photograph courtesy of Wikipedia