otorists and cyclists have become embroiled in a war of words over new changes to the Highway Code.
The updated guidance advises cyclists to ride in the centre of lanes on quieter roads, in slow-moving traffic, and when approaching junctions to make themselves as visible as possible.
However, motorists have taken to Twitter to criticise the shake-up, saying it would lead to cyclists causing congestion in the centre of the road.
Twitter user Andrew wrote: “The problem is drivers have enough to worry about without extra stress put on them to worry about cyclists in the middle of the road and pedestrians trying to cross next to a junction.
“These changes are fundamentally wrong, each party should be responsible for their own safety.”
However a cyclist told him he was “wrong”, adding: “It’s much safer for cyclists to ride in the middle of their lane. Your only complaint is that you aren’t very good at overtaking and you want to squeeze past dangerously closely in the same lane. Unacceptable, Andrew”.
Steve Bulley, of Dorchester Chamber of Business in Dorset, complained that a group of cyclists caused huge queues by staying in the centre of the road for miles.
Posting a photo on social media, he added: “‘The day cyclists took over the roads. This lot refused to let cars past for eight miles looking back and laughing.”
Others motorists condemned cyclists for “holding drivers to ransom with these new Highway Code changes”.
A hierarchy of road users is being introduced, meaning drivers will have more responsibility to watch out for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The shake-up means cyclists will also have to be more aware of pedestrians.
However, several London residents complained that cyclists have a bad track record when it comes to keeping pedestrians safe.
Paul Foster wrote: “When was the last time anyone saw a cyclists in London abiding by the Highway Code? For example, using a pelican crossing is highly dangerous for pedestrians because most cyclists seem to ignore red lights!”
Gareth Sutton replied: “8 month pregnant daughter hit and knocked over in London, with significant bruising, by delivery rider jumping a crossing. They’re becoming a significant menace in the shared areas in Bath too. Fast, silent and ridden aggressively.
The rules also state that traffic should give way when pedestrians are crossing or waiting to cross at junctions.
But one Londoner fumed: “don’t understand these new highway code rules, how can we give way to pedestrians waiting to cross in central London if there is a constant stream of pedestrians waiting to cross?”
Drivers who break the rules can expect anything from fixed penalty notices, points on their licence, fines and suspended jail terms.