Waste specialist MD slams British Cycling's call for change to Highway Code

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Jacqueline O'Donovan, MD of O'Donovan Waste Disposal, has said that British Cycling's call for a change in the Highway Code to make drivers turning left give way to cyclists going straight ahead on the passenger side are "simply unrealistic".

The MD added: “While it sounds like a simple rule, it will actually cause huge confusion between drivers and cyclists when sharing the road, especially in the busiest cities where there are already pre-written and universally acknowledged rules in the Highway Code.

O'Donovan said it is "like a backward step to me. Our industry, manufacturers and TfL have worked tirelessly over the last six years, investing in training and innovation to keep cyclists and pedestrians safer, which is evident from the reduction in collisions we are now seeing."

She stated that placing responsibility solely on the driver completely "contradicts the message of collaboration and mutual education we have worked so hard to promote. Road safety will only improve when both parties learn to work together".

The MD said: “The cyclist has full visibility of the driver’s movements when approaching from behind on the passenger side, meaning they are equally responsible.

“When it comes to the safety of vulnerable road users, this is a step in the wrong direction."

O'Donovan urged cyclist and policy adviser Chris Boardman to spend a day at Exchanging Places with the Met & City Police, to see for himself the work being done by HGV operators to protect cyclists.

Duncan Dollimore, senior road safety and legal campaigner at Cycling UK, responded: “Suggestions that replacing 14 existing rules dealing with priority at junctions with one rule will cause ‘huge confusion between cyclists and drivers’, flies in the face of the facts. It’s a proven success overseas, and this is just one reason why Cycling UK fully supports British Cycling’s proposed change to the Highway Code, as does the AA.

“We can appreciate the concern of HGV operators, as left turning lorries are disproportionately involved in cyclists’ deaths, especially in London. However, this change would simplify the priority rules at junctions.

“The lorry driver would know that it was his or her responsibility to check, and be sure, that they were not turning across another road user’s path. In turn operators will have the responsibility to ensure their drivers are able to see clearly what is on their vehicle’s left hand side.

“There will of course need to be an educational campaign to ensure that people understand the simplified rule, but we anticipate it would have multiple benefits, but most of all improving safety for everyone,” added Dollimore.

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