New Highway Code (historic campaign)


New Highway Code

The Highway Code is a combination of legal requirements and advice. The latter can be used to determine liability in the event of a crash. The draft Highway Code replaced Rule 47 of the old code which said:

  • Use cycle routes when practicable. They can make your journey safer.


  • Use cycle routes when practicable and cycle facilities such as advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings where they are provided, as they can make your journeys safer.

CTC feared that this added wording would strengthen the argument that cyclists should use cycle facilities. In our response to the consultation CTC objected to the wording.

Around 11,000 cyclists also sent responses to the Driving Standards Agency opposing the proposed wording.

In 2007 a new draft was laid before the Houses of Parliament for confirmation. By that stage the wording had changed only slightly, instead of 'where they are provided' it now recommended 'where possible'. This was still deemed to be an inappropriately strong wording.

CTC members and supporters wrote to their MPs to demand further changes to the wording and finally, in June 2007, a new Code presented which was deemed satisfactory.

The new rule that appears in the revised 2007 Highway Code is:

  • Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.

The inclusion of the phrase 'use of these facilities is not compulsory' resolves many of the concerns of cyclists that they may be held liable if involved in a crash while using the road.

CTC's campaign also led to changes to another 40 rules in the Highway Code. However we remain concerned about the legally prejudicial effects of the rules on helmets and hi-viz, the lack of clarity on the rule about the distance drivers should leave when overtaking cyclists, and the need to strengthen cyclists' priority at various types of junction.

Recent Campaign Activity

How many TV adverts breach Highway Code rule 3?
Now send us your 'irresponsible' walking-down-the-street adverts! Blog
Although the ASA has provisionally withdrawn its ruling against Cycling Scotland's TV advert, the fight isn't over yet. Please send us videos showing how a ban on helmet-free cycling in TV ads would be like refusing to show people on the streets at night without reflective clothing.
CTC supports high quality facilities - not fiddly pavement conversions
CTC declares support for quality segregation while still opposing "farcilities" News
CTC has published its revised policy on infrastructure setting out an ambition to see “a massive step-change in cycle use, so that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can feel able to cycle safely and confidently for all types of journey.”
Cycling UK web chat - your questions answered News
Cycling UK’s Chief Exec, Gordon Seabright, and other staff responded to your questions during a live web chat on 21 June. Questions were sent in through Twitter, Facebook and emails. Answers can be found below.
New Highway Code (Revised 2007 Edition)
Highway Code cracked - more than 40 rules changed News
Following a sustained and high-profile campaign by CTC in 2007, over 40 rules of the revised Highway Code were changed to the benefit of cyclists. CTC had feared that the proposed wording would have undermined cyclists' right to use the road where cycle facilities were provided.
  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cycling UK is a trading name of Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no: 25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales charity no: 1147607 and in Scotland charity no: SC042541. Registered office: Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX.

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