Equestrians and cyclists are considered equal in the new Highway Code hierarchy of road users, the Government has confirmed, despite widespread confusion.
H&H has reported extensively on the changes to the code, which came into force on Saturday (29 January).
As well as the specific requirement to pass horses at no more than 10mph and giving them two metres’ space, one of the main amendments to the code was the introduction of the hierarchy of road users, designed to protect those who are most vulnerable to harm.
Pedestrians are at the top and large vehicles at the bottom but despite confirmation from British Horse Society director of safety Alan Hiscox, who worked with the Government on the changes, there was still confusion, with some thinking riders were below cyclists in the hierarchy. One news graphic showing this has been flagged to the Department for Transport (DfT).
H&H asked the DfT for clarity and was told cyclists and equestrians will generally be considered equal.
A DfT spokesman said:“The changes to the Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, with those who present the most risk to other road users given the greatest responsibility in creating a safer travel environment for all.
“These rules will mean that horse riders and cyclists have responsibility for ensuring the safety of themselves and more vulnerable road users when travelling.”
The DfT added that in some situations, liability will adjust accordingly. Equestrians should give way to cyclists, as well as pedestrians, on parallel crossings, and cyclists should give way to equestrians on bridleways, as well as to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks.
Mr Hiscox told H&H he is delighted by the changes, adding: “It’s exactly as we explained; pedestrians, then cyclists, riders and carriage drivers; all equal, all in the same group.”
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