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Highway Code

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 5 June 2007

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Stephen Ladyman) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

In February 2006, we issued a draft of proposed revisions to the Highway Code for public consultation, which closed on 15 May 2006. More than 4,000 people offered a total of almost 27,000 comments.

Taking account of these comments, a new draft version of the Highway Code was laid before Parliament on 28 March 2007. A large number of responses to the consultation concerned the rules on cycling and more than 40 amendments were made to these and other rules to take account of comments from cyclists. However, since the code was laid before Parliament, further representations have been made by cyclists who remain concerned that the revised text of rules 61 and 63 on cycle facilities and cycle lanes is insufficiently clear.

Following informal discussions with the CTC, an organisation representing cyclists, we are proposing changes to draft rules 61 and 63 to make clearer the position regarding the advice in the code on the use of cycle facilities and cycle lanes. On 31 May, the Department for Transport wrote to key road safety interests, including members of the Road Safety Advisory Panel, as well as cycling and walking representative bodies, concerning further changes to the Highway Code. A copy of the department’s letter has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

We have asked stakeholders to let us have their views by the end of Tuesday 12 June. The reason for this short timescale is so as not unduly to delay the publication of the new edition of the Highway Code. Any proposed changes have to be laid in Parliament for 40 days before they can come into effect, so will need to be laid by 15 June if the 40-day period is to be completed before the Summer Recess. Views are requested by 12 June to allow time for them to be considered before laying the changes in Parliament. We would then expect to publish the revised edition of the Highway Code in September.