Who remembers the Highway Code?

If you have taken your driving test you may have fond memories of cramming in the Highway Code prior to taking your test but how many of us can say we have since passing our driving test picked up a copy of the Highway Code to refresh our skills? Who remembers the Highway Code?

The Highway Code is a guide of good practice for all road users whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, horse rider or driver. 

We recently attended the Central Criminal Court (“The Old Bailey”) in London to take a note on a case of R -v- Elizabeth Avorga where the Defendant who was a car driver had been charged with causing the death of a pedestrian by careless driving. The circumstances were straight forward enough in that the pedestrian was walking down an access road, with no footpath, outside of her home. The pedestrian was using crutches therefore going at a slower pace. Notwithstanding the pedestrian had almost completed her crossing of the access road the Defendant attempted to drive past the pedestrian who lost their footing, fell and was driven over by the car causing her death. The Defendant had entered a not guilty plea to causing death by careless driving. 

Highway Code Rule 170 states that all drivers should watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians including powered wheelchair/mobility scooter users as they are not always easy to see. 

Highway Code Rule 170 prescribes that drivers should always give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road. Most importantly, if the pedestrian has started to cross, they have priority. 

In this case, the pedestrian was already crossing the road. Therefore, they had priority and any oncoming motor vehicle should have come to a complete stop until they had fully completed their crossing. 

Had the Defendant observed Rule 170 then she would not have collided with the pedestrian and would not have found herself in a criminal court.

We share the road network with users of different vulnerability and skill level. The Highway Code affords a valuable guide to help us all use the roads safely together. By taking a few minutes to keep up to date with the Code can reduce the risk of you being involved in a road traffic collision and subject to criminal prosecution. Our Personal Injury Department see too many cases where a client has suffered serious injury as a result of a Defendant’s standard of driving falling far below what is expected of the Code.

Matthew Claxson, a Partner in the Personal injury team.

The Highway Code was revised in 2022 to introduce a Hierarchy of road users which is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy emphasises the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The Rule H1 states “It is important that ALL road users are aware of the Highway Code, are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others”.  

The Highway Code can be accessed free of charge of which we would encourage everyone to refresh their memory with the Code.

How Moore Barlow can help

The Moore Barlow Personal injury department acts for clients who have suffered serious injury or bereavement.  They help clients through a civil claim to access rehabilitation, receive interim payments and compensation to help them rebuild their lives.  

The Moore Barlow Personal injury team can be contacted on freephone 0800 157 7611 or emailed on claim@moorebarlow.com.