AQW 25883/11-15

Mr Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin
North Antrim

Tabled Date: 18/09/2013
Answered On Date: 01/10/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of the Environment whether he plans to review the Highway Code to account for the safety needs of cyclists.

My Department has a statutory responsibility under Article 51 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 to promote road safety and specifically to revise and make available the Highway Code. Revisions, other than alterations needed following legislative change, are subject to public consultation.
The Highway Code for Northern Ireland was last revised in 2008 in liaison with the Department for Transport and the Driving Standards Agency. The current edition of the Highway Code is very similar to that in Britain, containing a similar number of ‘Rules’ in the same order, supported by the same illustrations.
The Code is revised when necessary to provide up to date advice to road users. The situation is similar in Britain and colleagues from both jurisdictions work closely on any of the changes being adopted as well as the timing / publication of revisions. There are no plans either in Northern Ireland or Britain to conduct a review at this time.
The current edition of the Highway Code for Northern Ireland addresses the specific safety needs of cyclists in a number of ways. Recognising that certain road users require extra care, advice on how drivers should treat vulnerable road users, including cyclists, is covered in Rules 204 to 218 of the Code.
A section dedicated to ‘Rules for Cyclists’ includes information on issues such as appropriate clothing and lighting as well as advice when cycling on cycle routes, cycle tracks, cycle lanes and bus lanes. The correct procedures to be followed at road junctions, roundabouts and crossing the road are also covered alongside other important safety requirements (Rules 59 to 82).
A further section entitled ‘You and your bicycle’ considers some of the factors that will help make sure that you feel confident of your ability to ride safely on the road. This advice can be found in Annex 1 of the Code (page 118).
I am satisfied that the current edition of the Highway Code for Northern Ireland provides all road users, including cyclists, with detailed guidance that will prepare them for the demands of today’s roads. There is no doubt, if all road users know and follow the advice in the Code, many collisions would be avoided and the Road to Zero road deaths would be advanced.