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8 changes to The Highway Code you need to know

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From today, road users need to be aware of the new rules that have been introduced to The Highway Code.

The change is intended to improve road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

It follows a public consultation of the review of The Highway Code which ran from July to October 2020.

Of the 20,000 responses, the majority were in favour of the changes.

 

1. The hierarchy of road users is now based on who is the most vulnerable, therefore those who can cause the most harm are considered to have the most responsibility. It is hoped this will reduce the risk of danger on the roads.

 

2. Pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross have priority over drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists turning into or exiting a road.

 

3. Updated information has been provided for spaces shared by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. It is asked that cyclists and horse riders are respectful of people walking, although pedestrians still need to be observant and take care.

Cyclists are also advised to slow down when overtaking the other users, letting people know they are approaching but also remembering that people may have deaf, blind or partially sighted. In addition to this, they should not overtake on the left-hand side of the horse.

 

4. The Highway Code now confirms the advice that cyclists should move into the centre of their lane when travelling on quiet roads, slow traffic and when nearing junctions to allow other users to see them, moving to the left if a vehicle needs to pass.

In fast-moving traffic, cyclists should also keep at least 0.5 metres away from the kerb.

 

5. If they are passing a cyclist, drivers and motorcyclists must leave a minimum of 1.5 metres when travelling at speeds of up to 30mph, with more space being left at higher speeds.

For speeds under 10mph road users must leave at least 2 metres of space when overtaking horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles.

At least 2 metres of space and a low speed must be kept when passing a pedestrian.

 

5. It has been clarified that pedestrians crossing or about to cross have priority over cyclists entering or exiting a side road.

 

6. The update confirms cyclists have priority on roundabouts. Drivers and motorcyclists are warned not to overtake cyclists within their lane and allow them to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout.

Further guidance is offered in The Highway Code for drivers and motorcyclists entering a roundabout that they don’t cut across cyclists, horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles, as they must travel across a roundabout in the left-hand lane.

 

7. What is known as the ‘Dutch Reach’ has been introduced to The Highway Code. To encourage drivers and passengers to check behind their shoulder, it is advised that both drivers and passengers should open the door using their hand opposite to the door.

 

A campaign will be launched mid-February to raise awareness of the changes.

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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022

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Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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Family’s bid to bring home body of Gateshead lad who drowned while rescuing his dog in Spain

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Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, who has been living in Spain, was pulled from a river near Benidorm by ambulance crews on Monday.

A Gateshead family is appealing for help to bring an ‘amazing, selfless’ 25-year-old home, after he drowned in Spain while rescuing his dog from a river.

Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, died on Monday after getting into trouble in the Bolulla River, near Benidorm, after successfully freeing the dog from the current. Now his family has launched a fundraising appeal to help bring Paul’s body back home and give him the memorial he deserves.

Paul’s cousin, Kallym Bell, launched a GoFundMe page in support of Paul’s parents, Deborah and Paul Snr. In less than 24 hours the page had already raised over £7,000, with hundreds of people leaving comments paying tribute to ‘one of nicest men you could ever meet’.

Keen amateur boxer Paul was well known by many people across the Leam Lane Estate, and beloved by colleagues from the several years he spent working in the navy. Kallym, 19, called Paul: “An amazing, selfless man with a heart of gold, always the biggest laugh and the very best to be around.”

Donations can be made to help bring Paul home at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-remembrance-of-paul-lebihan

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Disabled Teen Denied Wetherspoon’s Entry With Assistance Dog

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A disabled teenager said he felt ‘absolutely humiliated’ after he was refused entry to a Wetherspoons with his assistance dog. 19 year old River Cartledge, who has autism, fibromyalgia and arthritis – takes his assistance dog Chico most places with him.

Video footage below from Instagram shows him pleading with security guards and the manager of The Five Swans in Newcastle to let him inside the pub with his harnessed up Shih Tzu on Saturday night.

River said: “Their issue was the fact he was an assistance dog, and not a guide dog.

“I quoted the Equality Act 2010, and the guide for all businesses, both of which any business that’s open to the public like any Wetherspoons is, have to abide by legally, regardless of any “policy” they may have in place,” he added.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits service providers, including taxis and restaurants, from discriminating against those who need an assistance dog with them. It also requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.

River claimed he had a ‘severe meltdown and panic attack’ after the interaction. ‘I have never had an experience like this and it caused me to have a medical episode.’

Chico has belonged to River for eight years and was trained as an assistance dog two years ago. River said: “Assistance dog handlers such as myself get denied in public places more often than it’s talked about, and it always makes us feel like this, and like we’re the ones causing problems for ourselves by needing a dog, when in reality it’s the ableism and ignorance of other people, not the disabled person.”

He also added “‘I was straight up told that they only allowed seeing eye dogs and they didn’t allow assistance dogs, because of their “policy”.

According to Guide Dogs UK ‘75% of all assistance dog owners surveyed [in 2015] said they had been refused access to a service at some point because they had an assistance dog with them’. 

Five Swans: sign saying they allow assistance dogs *face palm*

Wetherspoons’ policy states: “We do allow registered assistance dogs.

“In these circumstances, and to avoid any confusion or unnecessary upset, ensure that your dog is wearing its recognisable leash/collar or harness. 

“It would also be helpful if you could bring along suitable documentation to explain your dog’s purpose.”

River said he had ID from Assistance Dogs UK, a certification body, with him but was unable to show it at the time. Chico was however wearing a harness.

Following the complaint to the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “It was an error not to let them in with the assistance dog.

“It was a genuine error and we apologise wholeheartedly.

“We can understand the fact they would have been upset and frustrated by the situation.

“Assistance dogs are allowed into Wetherspoon pubs and we will reiterate this to staff at the pub and the company’s pubs in general.

“They are more than welcome to visit the pub with the dog.”

Good dog Chico. Check out River and Chico’s adventures here!

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