Is anyone at County Hall at the wheel? I ask as I wonder whether our council is aware of the changes in the Highway Code, which came into effect on January 29.
One of the biggest changes is the Hierarchy of Road Users. It requires ‘those who can do the greatest harm to others to have a higher level of responsibility’. So vehicle drivers have a higher level of responsibility toward pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
Also vehicles no longer necessarily have right of way at junctions. In essence all traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting to cross. So if a vehicle, or for that matter a cyclist, is turning into a side road, or joining from a side road, but a pedestrian is waiting to cross, the vehicle or cyclist must stop and give way to allow the pedestrian to cross.
It’s also known as the Straight Ahead Rule – any road user who is going straight on, be they pedestrians, cyclists or horses, have right of way.
In Niton, as in many Island villages, pavements are a scarce commodity, roads are narrow and we have no pedestrian crossing. Yet we have one of the busiest junctions on the Island due to the (temporary) closure of Undercliff Drive, creating a daily challenge for school children, and the elderly who wish to shop at our local grocers.
These changes create an opportunity to recalibrate how we share road space and think about how we negotiate junctions. But without an effective plan to communicate and implement these changes, these busy local junctions will remain hazardous to our most vulnerable residents.
I know that my parish council and county councillor fully support these ideas. Yet it seems that officers at County Hall are not listening.
Is anyone there prepared to take the driving seat on this?
Andy Osborn, Niton