If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Happy Birthday Highway Code

The Highway Code is 80 today!

Boring, boring, boring - after all, it's only what you must do to pass your test, right? A bit like all those skool textbooks: used to get what you wanted, and immediately forgotten thereafter.

I'm a big fan of the Highway Code, as it happens. Everything you need to know is in there, and if everyone drove according to its (quite reasonable) guidance, accidents would be few and far between. Sometimes what it says is a bit obvious, but then it has to cater for a readership from the barely literate up to winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. In its structure and detail, it's a model of clarity. And so it should be, after 80 years of development.

The IAM is conducting a survey on attitudes to the Highway Code. You don't have to be a member to take part. Poll is here.

UPDATE: the IAM site seems to have fallen over for the time being. It was fine earlier today. If you want to take the survey, perhaps try later. (Perhaps posting a link to them here gave them more traffic than they could cope with? Nice thought.)

UPDATE TO UPDATE: The links to the site and polls seem to be working fine now (Thursday 18:00)


  1. Interesting poll! I wonder why the last question was about whether it should be in 'targeted' editions for different kinds of road user?

    Don'y like the sound of that. Surely it's better NOT to differentiate. We're all in the same boat then!

  2. Divide and rule. This is what you do if you're a car driver, and this is what you do if you're a cyclist, and this is what you do if you're on a motorcycle ... No need for you to know what the others are reading, none of your business.

    The great thing about the HC is that it is universal. These are everyone's roads, these are the rules for using them, now play nicely. It fosters a sense of community ownership, and the separate needs of particular groups are already catered for in special sections. Any attempt to break the HC into sections for different categories of road user would be expensive and bureaucratic nonsense. Which is why it will happen.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

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