It can be very unnerving for a first time motorcycle rider to hit the open road for the first time. With everything on the road, including the road itself, posing a potential danger to riders, the fact that car and truck drivers can be so easily distracted doesn’t make things any easier. While a lot of mishaps involve negligence, rather than blatant criminal intent, taking steps to ensure road users look out for one another is a good start.
That being said, the latest news from our neighbors in the U.K. indicates that it has recently spruced up the Highway Code, and is set to publish and begin implementation of the revisions this coming autumn, so that’s probably sometime in September. The revisions to the Highway Code incorporate a hierarchy of vehicles, with each vehicle class endowed the responsibility of looking out for more vulnerable road users. This is a major development from the current Highway Code, in which all road users are given equal responsibility for their own safety, as well as that of surrounding vehicles.
So what does all this mean? Well, this means that larger, more potentially hazardous vehicles such as trucks and haulers—generally classified as Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV)—will be responsible for looking out for smaller cars such as sedans, station wagons, and sports cars. Meanwhile, these smaller four-wheelers will be responsible for keeping an eye out for motorcyclists (bingo!) which can all too easily slip under the radar of the average driver. Likewise, motorcyclists will have to look out for bicyclists, and bicyclists will look out for pedestrians.
Now, while the responsibilities may seem clear cut, this isn’t to say that the most vulnerable road users can start driving or riding with reckless abandon. Of course, common sense dictates that everyone should continue using the roads with safety in mind, and drive, ride, cycle, or walk in a responsible manner. It is, however, a very comforting notion that road users will be looking out for each other’s safety. Now, it’s just a matter of whether or not the revisions to the Highway Code will be followed and upheld by all road users.