Re-launch of the governmental road safety campaign about Highway Code changes
The government is re-launching its road safety campaign tool to help improve road safety.
It’s central theme reminds people to ‘Travel Like You Know Them’, and focuses on recent changes to the Highway Code.
The relaunch of the THINK! campaign offers a snapshot into the lives of others. It aims to help people see beyond modes and forms of transport and instead improve understanding of how others see and use the road.
Its is about awareness of other road users rather than road users focussing solely on their direct capsule of movement.
The campaign is aimed at everyone who uses the road, with an emphasis on those who have a greater responsibility to reduce the risk they may pose to others.
The Highway Code was changed in 2022,. This followed extensive consultation in 2020 with walking, cycling and disability groups on the proposed changes.
A hierarchy of road users was created and used as the basis of vulnerabilities and responsibilities.
It has led to concerns over confusing instructions, particularly to drivers, after changing priorities. For example, when drivers are turning left into another street, they are now expected to stop and allow pedestrians and cyclists crossing that street to have priority, even if they are waiting to cross.
Many believed this could cause crashes as vehicles unexpectedly stopped, or drivers not realising the changes in priority and potential hitting vulnerable road users crossing the side street.
Antony Kildare, Chief Executive at IAM RoadSmart, believes this is a well needed reminder.
“Since the new Highway Code changes were rolled out, there has been further need of an educational campaign to ensure the amendments are disseminated and fully adopted by the millions of existing drivers, motorcyclists and other road users.
Kildare says the relaunch will help make motorists more aware “of others, and that aims to influence behavioural change may prevent people from taking unnecessary and uniformed risks”.
The new campaign is designed to encourage people to engage with the new rules set out in the Highway Code:
- give priority at junctions to people cycling straight ahead and people waiting to cross or already crossing the road
- pass horse riders at under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing people walking on the road
- leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
- remember that people cycling may ride 2 abreast or in the centre of the lane if it is safer to do so, pulling in when safe to allow vehicles to overtake
Safety is key
Roads Minister, Richard Holden believes we still have “some of the safest roads in the world”. However, recent data implies we are slipping in our position with a rise in road deaths, casualties and even drink drivers.
“It is fantastic that the ‘Travel Like You Know Them’ campaign is back to continue to raise awareness of these important changes and to change behaviour on our roads to help keep those more at risk safe.”
The campaign relaunch comes following the government injecting another £47.5 million of safer roads funding in April. This is to help local authorities tackle issues with some of the most dangerous local roads across England .
With sophisticated mapping now available, the government believes the work funded by the Safer Road Fund will save around 1,450 people from being killed or seriously injured on our roads over the next 20 years.
People, pedals and power
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive is encouraged by the renewed focus on vulnerable road users. She hopes it “challenges the false binaries that people are either motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, when the reality is most of us are a combination of all 3”.
“It breaks down tribal mentality that can stoke tension on our roads, making them more dangerous for us all,” continues Mitchell. “It should be applauded and Cycling UK is pleased to see government continue to highlight the important Highway Code changes designed to make cycling and walking safer.”
RAC head of policy Simon Williams agrees, saying “at the end of the day we’re all humans getting from A to B”.
“This campaign reminds us all, in a very personal way, of the responsibilities we have for looking after each other. Every casualty on our roads is one too many and we hope all road users take the time to remind themselves of what they should be doing differently following last year’s major changes to the Highway Code.”