NMC expresses concern over Highway Code changes

In the wake of changes to The Highway Code, a leading industry voice says motorcyclists are already “acutely aware” of the need to take personal responsibility for their safety.

The changes, which came into effect in January, are designed to increase the safety of vulnerable road users.

At the centre of the changes is a new hierarchy of road users, which means drivers and riders of quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) has reacted negatively to the move, bemoaning the lack of input or advice from motorcyclists.

It says while any advice for road users to watch out for the safety of others is always welcomed, had motorcycling organisations been properly consulted, they would have opposed the hierarchy concept. 

This is due to concerns that awarding hierarchical status risks giving a sense of entitlement to some road user groups over others – and fears that could lead to greater confusion and conflict.

Craig Carey-Clinch, NMC executive director, said: “The motorcycling community has expressed concern about the proposed changes to The Highway Code since the public consultation into changing the code was first published. 

“A key concern is that changes designed to increase the safety of vulnerable road users have not benefited from input or advice from motorcyclists in their initial drafting.  

“This is particularly concerning given that motorcyclists are statistically the most vulnerable road user group and by far the most likely to face traffic incidents, the majority caused by other road users.

“Our roads already suffer from much tribalism and lack of care for fellow road users. The NMC fears that the hierarchy could lead to these tensions being exacerbated, leading to greater confusion and conflict which could result in more, not less, risk on our roads.  

“Motorcyclists are already acutely aware of the need to take personal responsibility for their safety. This is why the concept of defensive riding is widely accepted and promoted by the motorcycling community.”


22 February 2022