Thousands signed British Cycling’s Turning the Corner petition calling for changes to the Highway Code, which was handed into the Department for Transport by policy advisor Chris Boardman.
The campaign will now enter its second phase and will require supporters to email their MP to ask for them to back the petition in Parliament.
The average regular cyclist has 25 near misses at junctions every year, British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman revealed as he handed in a petition to the government to try to persuade ministers to update the Highway Code to make junctions safer.
More than 27,000 people have signed a British Cycling petition asking the Department for Transport to create a universal rule for road users to give way when turning in order create simpler, safer junctions.
Whether you are driving or cycling, you would be clearly obliged to give way when turning to people who are going straight ahead.
Research led by Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster revealed that people who cycle regularly will encounter 25 near misses per year involving vehicles turning left and right across their path at junctions. Of the 25 average near misses, six of them will likely be deemed “very scary”.
British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said:
“We know that the place where walkers - particularly the elderly and parents with children - and those on bikes often feel most vulnerable is when they are crossing junctions. Instead of the 14 conflicting rules in an outdated Highway Code, let’s borrow the common sense approach used in other European countries to create one simple rule that will make junctions much safer for everyone.
“This wouldn’t cost the government money and could be implemented very easily with political will. The cost of doing nothing is far greater. As Westminster’s Near Miss project has shown, incidents at junctions are putting people off cycling for good. At a time when obesity and air pollution are at epidemic levels, surely this is the last thing that we want to see happen.”
The Highway Code, which has not been fully refreshed for nine years, currently contains at least 14 rules about junctions, often with a different emphasis. This simple rule change would bring the UK in line with countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden where walking and cycling is much safer.
British Cycling has today also launched an interactive tool to make it easy for people to contact their MP on this issue. Members of the public will be asking their MP to contact transport minister Andrew Jones about updating the Highway Code.