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Give way to cyclists when turning, says British Cycling

People cycling on a road Image copyright PA

Motorists should always have to give way to cyclists when turning at a junction, says British Cycling.

The governing body for the sport is calling for a change in the Highway Code to make drivers turning left give way to cyclists going straight ahead on the passenger side of their vehicle.

Former cycling champion and policy adviser Chris Boardman said the change "reinforces good behaviour".

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned it would lead to more accidents.

Mr Boardman has been leading the campaign after his mother Carol was killed in a collision with a pick-up vehicle while cycling in Connah's Quay, north Wales, in July.

The Olympic gold medallist said Britain should follow the European standard where anyone turning at junctions gives way.

"It just creates a duty of care for everybody and it makes it really simple. No-one's quite sure what the rules are," he told the BBC's Breakfast programme.

"It compels people to treat others as human beings and not obstacles."

The proposed amendment would need to be agreed by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of an expected update of the Highway Code before being presented to Parliament.

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London Cycling Campaign says the vast majority of collisions between all road users including pedestrians happen at junctions.

A spokesman for the group, Simon Munk, told BBC News some of the reasons why motorists' giving way could help:

  • Drivers underestimate the speed of cyclists when they approach junctions
  • Motorists think there is plenty of time and space so they think they do not have to wait
  • Drivers should make sure they are not turning left into someone, slow right down and be careful
  • There is the assumption of having the right of way by motorists
  • Cyclists need to behave cautiously on the road too and not travel at high speeds at a left turn

He said while the Highway Code is currently unclear for drivers and cyclists, this change would make sure the "most vulnerable road users were protected".

Duncan Buchanan, RHA's deputy policy director, said the rule change would introduce confusion and sets an "incredibly dangerous precedent".

"It is doing exactly the opposite of what we hope which is to ensure the safety of road users," he told BBC Radio 4's Today.

He added: "This rule while superficially appearing simple in fact makes it much more complicated - it means that you become responsible as the motorist for someone overtaking you on the inside when they have full visibility of what you're doing."

Mr Buchanan said there was a conflict in what was being proposed and what was already written in the Highway Code.

The DfT said it had launched a THINK! campaign warning drivers and cyclists of the dangers when turning left and is "determined to keep all road users safe".

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